Here Are Some Companies [TechStars NY Demo Day]
It's TechStars New York's third ever demo day. Earlier I highlighted two of the companies I was pretty excited about (Bondsy and Smallknot), but thus far I've been pretty impressed by each of the presentations from the class's 13 companies (five of which have women founders). Here's the rundown, along with a spate of fundraising news:
Smallknot: See this. The company announced it is raising a $700,000 seed round. (Note: I first wrote they had raised it, but the round is apparently still in the works.)
Moveline: Moveline replaces the role of moving company sales people who take your inventory with mobile video. Moving is a massive, antiquated $25 billion industry that has yet to be transformed by the internet. Moving companies are no longer tied to their sales region -- they can bid on any move anywhere in the country. It helps them fill their trucks, and 80 percent of its customers have changed their moving choices based on the site. The company has deals with moving companies and makes an average of $400 per customer on each transaction. It will be operating profitably in NYC upon launching, founder Frederick Cook says.
The company is raising $1 million, Cook added.
Rewind.Me tracks your digital data, or "exhaust," and finds ways to make it useful to you. I covered the company in more depth with its seed round of funding earlier this week. The company shows you every restaurant that you or your friends have been in within a certain neighborhood, for example. One slightly scary detail was that Rewind.me intends to use its data for targeting and brands. "When personal data replaces the cookie, it's going to upend the entire ad industry," founder Craig Danuloff says. Virgin Mobile, Victoria's Secret, and Birchbox are now working with the company from a targeting standpoint.
Rewind.me raised $800,000 from First Round Capital, TechStars, New World Ventures, KBS+P Ventures, Silicon Alley Venture Partners and a number of notable angels.
Bondsy: See this.
Marquee: The company does drag and drop Web publishing. Ah, CMS. Founder Alex Cabrera says that Marquee was created, because the CMS market leader WordPress is more disliked than Congress, based on Twitter searches for the phrase "f*ck WordPress." The company also offers a seamless and, Cabrera says, "elegant" commerce system.
It is raising a seed round.
Classtivity is a one-stop shop for classes related to fitness and creative endeavors. In the way that search for takeout, restaurant reservations, and doctors has moved to Seamless, OpenTable, and ZocDoc, the idea is that searches for fitness and creative classes will move to Classtivity. But beyond that, it's a simple interface for small studio operators to easily list and book classes. It's particularly fitting now that small business owners are getting used to the idea of paying for lead generation through services like Groupon.
The company has raised $750,000 seed round.
Wander is yet another travel inspiration startup with a beautiful enough site that it might actually inspire me to book a trip. The company views itself as less of a blogging platform but more of a full-on content company. Yelp has created a good place for review and recommendation, but it's still just re-inventing the guidebook with little emotional connection to the places reviewed. Wander's "Wanderlogs" are a bit like very, very polished Tumblrs or Pinterest boards that allow you to surface the nearest posts based on its new "star mention" language that places asterisks around places. The idea is that Wander users will visit each day in the same way they visit any of their other social networks.
Wander has raised $1.2 million in seed funding.
ConditionOne creates embeddable videos that are immersive, meaning you can swipe the video as it's playing to view from another angle. The video format, which the company called C1, can be shot on 30 million existing cameras. The company's enterprise solution is already being used in pilot programs with sportscasters, news services, broadcasters, and advertisers. Props to this company for putting me in a state of morning terror by entering stage to "Staring at the Sun" by the band TV on the Radio, my alarm clock song.
ConditionOne announced a seed round of funding ahead of demo day, having raised capital from Mark Cuban. It's $1 million into gathering a $2.5 million Series A.
Poptip takes real time surveys on Twitter. If they do it right, the company will be valuable to consumer-facing companies in the same way Radian6 and the CRM platforms have been. But where Radian6 does passive listening, Poptip allows for active response gathering to specific questions. Amazingly, when companies like MLB take surveys on Twitter, they actually pay someone to manually tally thousands of responses. Poptip already has some impressive clients lined up: ESPN, Pepsi, NBA, CNN and ABC are using Poptip to pose questions and gather feedback.
The company raised a seed round from Lerer Ventures and Softbank Capital prior to joining TechStars.
10Sheet managed to get the crowd pretty excited, despite the mundanity of the industry it addresses. Bookkeeping should not be done by humans when 10Sheet has taught a perfectly good computer to do it for them, the company argues. Bookkeepers cost $250 a month on average for small businesses; 10Sheet costs $69 a month. The company has announced partnerships with Pricewaterhouse Cooper, Etsy and Shoeboxed for integration and recommendations; 50 businesses are in beta and 500 are waiting to be let in.
10Sheet has secured angel investors and is raising $2 million institutional round.
Pickie provides personalized shopping on what it called the "product graph" using big data and social cues. Extracting product mentions from social data and content, the iPad app and desktop site recommends buyable items in a nicely designed interface. Here's my attempt at drawing a terrible metaphor: If Pinterest is YouTube, Pickie is Hulu.
The company is raising a $1 million round.
Lua is destined for awesomeness, I suspect. The company charges $20 per user per month for its mobile workforce tools. Previously, mobile workforces in situations like concert security or film sets used paper, walkie talkies and shouting to collaborate on work. Lua's tools allow instant contact (including scheduling and conference calls to eliminate toggling between inboxes on your phone), file sharing, and coordination. It started by targeting the entertainment industry and has been implemented by American Idol, the Mets, Beyonce's tour group, HBO, AMC and the Batman movie. Most notably, YouTube will use Lua at the Olympics.
The company has raised an oversubscribed $2.5 million round.
Karma was the day's big finale, which is ironic because the venue's wifi network was totally nonexistent today. (Perhaps it was a cheap ploy to get us desperate bloggers signed up; I'm sold as I sit here, taunted by the cruel existence of Alex, Steven, Klaas, Peter, Kelsey, or Eliot's Karma wifi networks.)
The company makes a 4G wifi hotspot gadget that charges a fee for bandwidth ($14 per gigabyte) and allows users to share their wifi with others. The more you share, the more free wifi you get. Thus, the name Karma. The gadgets cost $69; they'll sell online and ship by the end of the year.
Karma operates over Clearwire's network and sees its biggest competition to be Starbucks or any free wifi. Verizon or any of the carriers won't get into this game because they're not really strong on social media or software, which are Karma's selling points. The company announced partnerships with American Airlines and Uber. [Update: Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, has deniedthe existence of any such partnership over Twitter, accusing the startup of lying. I've reached out to the Karma founders for an explanation. Karma co-founder Robert Gaal responded with this: "We overstated the relationship and should've asked for explicit permission. Miscommunication happened. The last thing we wanted to do is discredit Uber and the awesome company they've built."]
Karma has raised $1 million seed funding from 500 Startups, Collaborative Fund, and others.