The Brandery, one of the top ten accelerator programs in the U.S., has accepted its latest clutch of startups, and they’re pretty interesting.
The class included companies developing products ranging from a location-based iPhone app that’s looking to make Yelp hyperlocal on mobile devices, a company making a wearable device programming toolkit, to a water use sensor and mobile app to reduce customers’ water bills.
The Cincinnati, Ohio-based accelerator operates a four-month program focused on consumer marketing and branding. Each company in the Brandery class receives $20,000 in seed funding. Of the 35 startups that Brandery launched since 2010, several have gone on to raise $44.3 million in aggregate.
So here are the latest startups that are currently working through The Brandery:
Location-based ShoutOut lets users define a geographic location to create chatrooms. Founded by 21-year-old chief executive Joel Green and 19-year-old chief technical officer Erwan Lent, the company is the latest example of the location-based messaging craze. Other startups have mined the sector with different iterations focusing on hyper-local anonymous messaging, or with a broader geographic scope. ShoutOut could be one of the first to let users define the scope of their location-based chats.
Los Angeles-based LuckyPennie is heading to Cincinnati to develop its social music app for concert discovery. Like other music discovery apps, LuckyPennie uses a mix of algorithms and curators to build a concert recommendation engine. Chief executive Jonathan Lane previously spent 10-years in the music biz as head of digital sales and marketing.
28-year-old entrepreneurs Steve Caldwell, a former software developer for the Army Corps of Engineers, and former airborne ranger, Patrick Henshaw, launched the Vicksburg, Miss.-based Strap to make a wearable development toolkit. The company’s first products include StrapKit, a cross platform SDK to create native applications for wearables, and Strap Metrics, which provides analytics tools for developers.
Dayton, Ohio-based MusicPlay Analytics wants to increase royalty distribution for musicians when their music is played in businesses. As money from traditional music sales declines, more artists are increasingly interested in wringing every bit of cash they can out of their catalog.
The company was co-founded by Eron Bucciarelli-Tieger, the drummer and co-manager of Hawthorne Heights and Todd Tieger, the company’s chief technology officer, and a software developer for the past 30 years with companies like Bell Labs, Deloitte, and Morgan Stanley.
Shelfie hails from Boston and is the latest app to tackle image processing and crowdsourcing to give marketers better data. Using Shelfie, customers can take pictures of empty supermarket shelves and let stores know what items are out of stock. The company was formed by its 25-year-old chief executive C.J. Acosta, who previously led research efforts for the New England Venture Capital Association after graduating from Babson College’s MBA program in 2013.
The Houston and Charleston, S.C.-based Pixifly was created by Adam Cooper, a 24-year-old chief executive from Houston, whose app has already won accolades from places like Wired. The company’s mobile app lets users search Instagram photos by time and place via its map interface. Before launching Pixifly, Cooper was a founding member of waffle.io, a project management tool for Github members to open-source their workflow.
New York City’s Keego is a marketplace that connects translators with clients. The vision from 32-year-old Rodrigo Galindez and 29-year-old Sergio Florez is to allow anyone who speaks at least two languages to register to be a translator. Galindez is no stranger to the tech community, with a previous stint at Lemon Inc. and the Interaction Design Association as a leader for its chapter in Cordoba.
Cincinnati’s home-grown Lagoon is designed to improve household water conservation by monitoring the flow of water through a household’s main water line. Its technology is based on a sensor and connected smartphone app, which provides information, action and notifications about water use. The company’s 28-year-old chief executive, Eric Elias, previously worked with Clifton Labs, General Electric Co., and Nielsen.
Another contender in the social media marketing and advertising, Chicago’s popAD is developing a user-generated ad platform so customers can create ads for brands. The company’s 30-year-old chief executive, John McClelland, led ecommerce and data projects at McKinsey and Groupo, while its 28-year-old chief technology officer, Luke Libraro, worked at a telematics startup, a hackerspace, and was an adjunct professor of creative technology.
Getting fashion tips from the crowd may be a gateway to snark or a multi-million dollar business opportunity for San Francisco’s LookIt. The company wants fashion brands to upload pictures of outfits and use the comments to A/B test products. By working online through Lookit, companies can save money and time, the company says. Lookit’s 24-year-old chief executive Connor Bowlan previously served as the technical co-founder for a cleaning marketplace service.
When your team includes a former Survivor contestant and luxury real estate agent, and the former chief technology officer Cash4Gold.com, of course you’re going to launch a referral tracking business for industries like real estate, healthcare, and financial services. That’s what Matt Lenahan, 34, and Steve Sperry, 36, are hoping to do with HireWheel; which allows any professional to make effortless referrals.
Finding a spot to meet with a contact, a date, a stranger, or your dealer can be a chore. So Cincinnati’s Peerio is looking to make it easier. The company uses automatic geo-location and proximity tools to select the best place to meet given the context of the person users are meeting.
The company’s 26-year-old chief executive has spent the last 6 years working in business development and sales, and previously sang in a heavy metal band. Now that’s a peer network.