AngelPad, the San Francisco-based accelerator founded by former Googler Thomas Korte, held its sixth demo day yesterday. I wasn’t there (I know, it’s super-embarrassing), but I did get to meet with Korte and partner Carine Magescas today to talk about the newest batch of companies.
Magescas said that in the three years since AngelPad was founded, “the premise of what we had in the beginning has been validated.” That premise breaks down to three main ideas, she said. First, she and Korte “push [the startups] really hard.” That’s particularly important in the company’s early stages, Korte said, because it can be hard for the founders to get honest feedback from their family and friends, and because making a relatively small change can have a big effect on a startup’s ultimate trajectory.
Another reason the partners might be particularly tough on the startups is because they’re investing their own money. There’s no separate fund — at least not yet. (When I asked, Korte said, “There hasn’t been a fund to date,” followed by what may or may not have been a significant pause.)
Second, Magescas said, “We are a really small family.” Twelve startups were chosen from thousands of applicants. The first AngelPad group had eight companies, and there was one with 15, but they’ve settled on a dozen for the last few classes. That allows the AngelPad team to spend a lot of time working one-on-one with each company.
“I feel like it’s better to spend more time with less companies,” Korte said, adding that he’s realized that having a long list of well-known mentors isn’t as useful. There are outside experts who come in and give talks on a specific subject, but it really falls to Korte and Magescas to work closely with the founders. When you have too many different people offering “cookie cutter advice,” Korte said, “It hurts more than it helps.”
Third, they said AngelPad has always had a strong focus on business-to-business companies. In fact, there’s not a single consumer-focused company in the current class, according to Korte — some of them might offer consumer products as part of their business, but none of them are focused on building large-scale, free services that make money from advertising. At the same time, Magescas said they’re open to consumer startups, they just have to be “really good.”
So that’e the vision. Here are the companies, in alphabetical order:
Audience.fm uses data from existing music services to help bands and marketers reach their desired audience. For example, if a band was making a tour stop in San Francisco, Audience.fm could identify the band’s biggest fans, and they could offer free or discounted tickets.
Boxbee is a storage startup that delivers boxes to its customers. You fill the boxes with whatever you want to store, then Boxee picks up them up. It won the best new startup prize at this year’s Launch conference.
Chasm.io is a content marketing network, where influencers and brands share content that they want to see promoted. Rather than getting paid for sharing sponsored content, it’s more of a quid pro quo system, where influencers are rewarded for successful sharing with points that they can redeem to share content of their own.
DroneDeploy has built software for commercial drone operators (just to reemphasize — commercial drone operators, not military ones). The founders are former Googlers with machine
learning PhDs from Cambridge and Edinburgh. We covered the company here.
Fieldwire is a mobile task management system designed for workers who are out in the field. For example, it could be used by a team of construction workers while they’re on a construction site.
HumanAPI aims to build an API for accessing all the data that’s being gathered on various health devices, sensors, and services. So instead of figuring out how to work with dozens of different devices, a medical provider could just pull data from HumanAPI.
Iterable is an email marketing startup founded former Google and Twitter engineers. Customers can test different emails and also personalize the messages to each user without any coding.
Pogoseat integrates with existing ticketing solutions and apps, allowing them to offer seat upgrades. Partners already include Ticketmaster, the Golden State Warriors, and other NBA teams.
Roobiq aims to build a layer of voice commands and natural language processing on top of existing CRM systems, so a salesperson who’s out taking meetings could update their CRM from their phone without slowing down to type.
SensorTower has built a marketing platform for mobile app developers, allowing those developers to track and improve their rankings on different search keywords.
TheShelf is a collaboration platform where fashion brands can interact with fashion bloggers. There are already 1,500 bloggers on the platform.
TrulyWireless has built an enterprise phone system that’s cheaper than traditional systems and runs entirely on smartphones.
Interested investors can find the AngelList profile of each startup here.