Top 50 startups to watch in 2015

February 17, 2015

Updated List: 2016 Top 50 Startups to Watch

Investors significantly increased their bets on Austin digital technology companies in 2014, funding 115 startups and buying up 31. According to our 2014 Annual Report, local tech companies raised $993 million in investments and exits were at a high of $437 million. 

 
So what’s going on in Austin in 2015? Just ask the 50 companies listed below. On our list you’ll find bootstrappers, fueled by a dream and 19-shots of espresso, companies that are just on the brink of their funding fantasies and several enterprises led by serial entrepreneurs with tons of cash and capital (all founded within the last 5 years).
 
So without further ado, here are Built In Austin’s Top 50 Startups to watch for 2015.
 

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This software company provides the energy industry with an application for aggregation, visualization, and analysis of data. Their SaaS platform allows data access for customers on a desktop or their mobile device, and also combines public and proprietary datasets to conduct analyses. They're "realizing the digital oilfield, anywhere and on any device" and have gotten three rounds of funding to support their mission. 
 

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While Aceable would tell people to keep off their phones when behind the wheel, that doesn’t stop the company from teaching customers how to drive with an app. The Aceable app is the first of its kind – it allows Texan driving students to fulfill their drivers ed courses without stepping foot inside a classroom (of course, students still need to get behind the wheel and pass the driving test). To narrow in on other aspects of the road, Aceable also recently launched a Defensive Driving app - making the courses accessible to all regardless of location.
 
 
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Been dreaming about executing your perfect mobile app idea? That one that is going to make you million? Apptive enables businesses and organizations to harness the power of smartphone apps with no programming required. Their "EasyApp" platform is easy to use and even has content management, marketing and analytics functionality.
 
 
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Back in the day, aspiring athletes had only their own coaches and playbooks to rely on when it came to learning about a sport. The rise of the internet, however, provided a literal game changer, one that Austin's own Athlete Builder readily tackled when it launched its app in 2014. Offering more than 1,000 videos on football fundamentals and athlete development, its library includes professional athletes like Chase Clement, Cam Colvin, Nic Harris and Seattle Seahawks tight end Luke Wilson. Athlete Builder empowers players, coaches and parents with an online video-based learning platform that seamlessly delivers progressive instructional sports training videos to members: anytime, anywhere and from any device.
 
 
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Aunt Bertha is reinventing the way people apply for government and charitable social service programs. Users can search for food, health, housing, and job training programs in their area and apply online, cutting down administrative costs and making the process more seamless. 
 
Fun Fact: Aunt Bertha was recognized as an Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) portfolio company, a 2012 Unreasonable Institute company and a member of Code for America's 2012 Civic Software Accelerator.
 
 
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Real estate technology startup Balcony is doing away with pen and paper and spreadsheets and putting everything together on one platform. Balcony allows real estate agents to network and connect with other qualified agents, make and accept referrals, and transfer fees right through the platform. The company, which was started by a team of real-estate serial entrepreneurs, is currently working out of Capital Factory and hiring developers.
 
 

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The dedicated social network for parents of school-aged children is only a year old, but its already gaining traction. Bambizo allows parents to create or join an existing “class” within the virtual network for their children’s school where they can post and reply to questions (such as “Can anyone take Mary to school tomorrow?”), updates (location of a new school bus stop, for example), events (i.e. birthday parties, school functions), private messages, and photos.
 
 
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The Austin firm Bearch is joining the private messaging party with Unseen, an app designed specifically with students in mind. This August, after a two-year journey of trial and error and a trial run at Texas A&M, Bearch collected $2 million in seed funding to perfect and propagate collegiate discretion. Now it's not just for Aggies anymore – Unseen is used on 150 campuses nationwide. Unseen promises privacy on an unprecedented scale - "no signups, no logins, no names." Its security features include end-to-end encryption and immediate destruction of any data that might trace information back to a particular user or device. Not even Unseen employees know what's coming and going on the app.
 
 
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BeehiveID is like Carfax for people - they identify bad actors online before they have a chance to commit fraud. They analyze the data created when people use the internet and find the interconnected patterns that real people have that fraudulent accounts lack. BeehiveID incorporates multiple means of identification into its screening process using a set of algorithms that detect historical online behavior termed the (trademarked) Social Authentication Engine. 
 
 
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Boxer believes email is a to-do list. And that's just unfair. Boxer puts you back in control with the ability to quickly triage your inbox, respond through simple gestures, as well as allow for management of tasks and items on your to-do list. Their platform supports most email providers on all platforms- including an enterprise version so you can stop being a slave to the inbox. 
 

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There’s a lot of data in school. B+ in calculus. A- in English lit. C+ in econ 101. But what about all the other data that’s fundamental to a student’s progress but perhaps not as visible? That’s where Civitas Learning comes in. They work with schools to collect data – often kept in different silos and thus inaccessible to decision makers – to help with a range of decisions. Their mission is to help students learn better. They do that by developing predictive software to analyze student data and recently raised $16M to take their platform to the next level.
 
 
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Cognitive Scale boats the industry’s first cognitive cloud platform. 'Cognitive clouds' make sense of our increasingly interconnected and amazingly complex world and provide a new collaborative dimension to human reasoning and decision-making—whether it’s business leaders reshaping industries or consumers trying to discover unique travel experiences or manage chronic health conditions.
 

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Continuum aims to help the the world discover, produce, share, and collaborate better by connecting expertise with data. By helping customers understand data, they can help businesses thrive. Currently the team is focused on adding more intricate features to their products.
 
 
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Cratejoy is an e-commerce software that could help you become the next Birchbox. The startup automates subscription processing and transactions for online merchants and will charge customers a small fee (less than $1) for each transaction as well as a small percentage of the customer’s revenue. Customers also have the option of paying Cratejoy a monthly fee of their own in order to reduce the transaction fees and revenue percentage. On top of handling all of the financial transactions for their customers, Cratejoy also provides services like inventory management/shipping tools, brand-building assistance, and in-depth analytics.
 
 

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Datical enhances, extends and fully supports proven open source projects for use in enterprise environments. Datical’s flagship product, Datical DB, automates, simplifies and manages the deployment of application schema updates for organizations that struggle with the constant state of application change across the Application Release Lifecycle. The result is lower cost, reduced risk, faster time to market and greater application release provided through a patent-pending data model approach to managing business-critical applications. 
 
 
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DRAFT is an investment portfolio management app that allows investors to compare their performance to other investors, and make adjustments to emulate the best performers. The app pulls information from a user’s investment accounts into one single location and compares performance, fees and asset allocation against real portfolios from other users- taking gamification to a whole new and exciting level.
 
 

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Edgecase, a shopping experience platform based on a blend of machine learning and human content creation, launched in August with the release of a new adaptive UX platform. By allowing shoppers to communicate their unique preferences, context and shopping style, users can discover products using a proprietary combination of human content curation, adaptive navigation and machine learning. 
 
 
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Everfest.com is the IMDB for festivals still in limited beta. The full launch is happening this spring, but you can expect to find everything you need to know about all the hottest music festivals. Since Austin is the perfect city to test their initial product, we're expecting wide appeal and fast growth.
 
 
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EvoSure is helping navigate the confusing world of commercial insurance. By matching underwriter appetites with broker opportunities they're maximizing he potential of more business and better relationships. Their technology has enabled a reduction of 60 percent of unquoted submissions that clog the insurance industry's arteries. 
 

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Fashion Metric is the big data SaaS solution for apparel retailers and brands to better the online shopping experience. Their technology can calculate a customer's full set of body measurements in seconds, which helps shoppers choose the clothing that will fit them best, and thus minimize returns. They the continuous data analytics and collection of their customer fit profile and preference data, acting as a data-hub for apparel retailers to gain intelligence on their customers sizing and body measurements.
 
Recent Milestone: Fashion Metric just raised $1 million in funding in January. 
 

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Get Smart Content is making sure you're targeting users with content they want to see. Their platform can be easily embedded on any site to better engage users and ultimately meet the marketing goals of a business.
 
 
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Gridmates helps people share energy. Using Gridmates’ cloud platform and ecosystem, utilities providers can offer add-on services to low income households and non-profit organizations; in doing so, it seeks to “eliminate energy poverty” through peer-to-peer energy sharing. The company’s pilot program will help supply energy to Community First Village, a homeless shelter for 225 people and families in Austin. With less funds being spent on basic energy costs Community First Village should be able to spend more money on getting people back on their feet.
 
Fun fact: Gridmates was a SXSW Eco cleanweb finalist.
 
 
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Hypori provides a secure mobile platform (ACE) that supports unmodified mobile apps across various end-points: iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows (1H,2015). The ACE platform can support both personally-owned and enterprise-owned devices, including the most sensitive users and networks in the US federal government. It integrates with an organization’s existing enterprise mobileacquisitions, such as MDM, MAM and KNOX.
 
Recent milestone: The company raised a $7.1 million round of financing from 23 investors in January. 
 
 
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Mattr uses a brand's social data for real time market research. When looking at your brand, Mattr’s social media analysis tools—which include tracking, segmentation, and language assessment—reveal profound insights. You can discover exactly who’s responding to your brand, how to optimize your messaging, and how to tap into promising new audiences.
 

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Nuve is IoT for the Asset Management industry. They've developed a new technology based on sensors, a cloud-based platform and a mobile application that allows the asset management industry to better protect, control and monitor their property. 
 
 
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Austin-based PaaS startup OneSpot hopes to stake its claim in the content delivery market by helping clients through optimal targeting - targeting the right audiences at the right time, in the right order, within the right context. Focusing on "making content work harder," OneSpot focuses on content sequencing, a term used for figuring out where a customer is in his or her relationship to a brand and then delivering a series of content in an appropriate context with messaging that targets the customer's needs at that time.
 
 

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The cloud-based expense management platform known as Paybook aims to help individuals and businesses alike manage their budgets in a way that helps them "save time, make smart decisions and focus on what matters most." Founded back in 2011, it's since raised $700K  in an ongoing round.
 
 
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PetCru is like SitterCity or Care.com for your furry friend. They combine pet enthusiasts with modern technology to make taking care of pet fast, easy, and hassle-free. PetCru allows animals the ability to relax in the comfort and safety of their own home while Cru members take care of them. They even have a secure online checkout process to make the whole process incredibly simple. 
 

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The LTL freight shipping rate comparison website provides mid-market companies with a centralized platform for shipping LTL freight. They boast reduced costs through increased efficiency, carrier augmentation and statistical data analysis – all delivered automatically and dynamically.

Recent milestone: The Techstars grad raised $2.8 million in new financing in January.

 
 
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Pristine is pioneering the "wearable worker," with enterprise software solutions for smart glasses. EyeSight, Pristine’s flagship platform, powers secure and scalable audio/video streaming for hands-free collaboration and remote support across manufacturing, field services, life sciences, and healthcare. With on-demand expertise from off-site specialists, Pristine's clients are reducing costs and driving ROI through case pre-screening and guided service workflows. .
 

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ProtoExchange is a hardware marketplace matching engineers to hardware companies who are in need of on-demand assistance. The benefits? The team can accelerate hardware development while minimizing overhead and operates similar to higher-tier, vetted professional freelance sites.
 
Fun fact: They're a grad of Techstars-Austin.
 
 
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As a result of the obvious downfalls and staggering low rates within STEM course proficiency, the Querium team built a program teenagers can use on their smartphones. After some basic assessments, students get a tailored program to help meet their needs in subjects like math. Lessons are presented in bite-sized videos, breaking down the fundamentals and giving numerous ways to learn each lesson (visual learners will like their charts, audio listeners will like the verbal explanations). It’s an easy way to learn and a great way to help struggling students catch up.
 
 
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RealMassive, founded by Austin serial-entrepreneur Josh McClure, is the first source for real-time commercial real estate information. The company provides a powerful yet easy way to help commercial real estate professionals collaborate and streamline their marketing efforts while gaining critical insight into the performance of their space and buildings. Tenant reps gain access to accurate availability data through the intuitive tools they need to analyze spaces collaboratively with their customers. RealMassive's cloud-based marketing platform greatly reduces costs and accelerates space identification and deal flow.
 
 
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Hiring referrals makes up a large part of successful hires for scaling companies and Fortune 500's but before ROIKOI, program participation was low (an average of 11%) and there wasn't a clear way to streamline and manage the program. The platform aims to increase participation and getting those exceptional employees in the door directly. 
 
 
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ShipStation, a web-based software designed to help eCommerce retailers process, fulfill, and ship orders from the most popular marketplaces, is automating the dread of merchant processing. The web-based platform integrates sales and delivery tracking and supports 60 marketplaces.
 
 
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The lottery, a multi-billion dollar lottery industry that is long overdue for an upgrade, now has a champion to take it into the 21st century. Shoutz is mobilizing the industry with its mobile engagement and monetization platform, along with its app, LotteryHUB. The convenient app allows players to easily follow the jackpots, check and track numbers, watch live drawings and earn rewards and benefits. 
 
Fun Fact: Shoutz recently acquired Front Flip, a mobile customer engagement company app is based in Kansas.
 
 
 
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SignaCert quickly identifies breaches and unauthorized changes that need immediate action by ensuring all IT systems are correctly configured and contain only valid applications. The company's signature product aims to ease following security compliance especially HIPPA, PCI, and CIP regulations.
 
Fun Fact: Just this month the company recently raised $4M in funding.
 
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sonarDesign has been rolling out a series of innovative products over the past year built on their cloud based Sonar platform. These products include Lumo, a presentation platform that puts PowerPoint to shame and allows users to create and share beautiful presentations, and Mako, an interactive design and animation service.
 
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SpaceCraft a website publishing platform, has created easily customizable templates focusing on small business owners' use. Since the startup merged with the digital design and marketing firm Element Creative, it has been able to bolster its design and product offerings.
 
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Spanning, recently acquired by EMC, protects SaaS applications from data loss caused by user error or malicious activity. The company provides powerful, reliable, enterprise-class data protection for such megaliths as Google Apps and Salesforce.com - thus, we're looking forward to hearing what the Austin-based team continues to develop with the new resources.
 

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StackEngine builds software that gives developers the power to simply and massively deploy, manage, and scale Docker applications - to bring modern management and automation to modern, container-centric architectures. With a recent $1M round raised, the seasoned tech cofounders are continuously explanding the platform.
 
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The startup offers an adaptive self-service platform to give customers the tools to solve their own problems without dealing with the headache of typical support automated service platforms. Their focus is to remove the wait time and redundancies of the mass-automated processes that have taken hold of the customer service process.
 
 
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Suvola is building a software platform for secure and trusted computing appliances. The vision? That software companies will be able to deploy their applications within a secure and trusted appliance on-premise or in the public cloud. The team is currently fundraising and only available to early adopters.

 

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Just by adding authentication to every critical action after login, Toopher is decreasing the billions of dollars generated by online fraud and identity theft- all while remaining user-friendly. The security measure has been integrated into powerhouses such as MailChimp and IBM.
 
 
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TrendKite's platform gives marketers an instanteous insight into their media effectiveness by providing in-depth, yet easily analyzeable media reports. The platform provides qualitative analysis on not only your brand, industry but also competitors. 
 
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Trendline Interactive is a full service email marketing agency. They combine marketing trend research with consumer behavior trends to help craft strategic advice and grow brands. They have offices in Chicago, Austin and Portland. 
 

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Tugg is a particularly focused means for people who make movies and people who love them to get independent work seen far outside the Hollywood system – unlike Kickstarter or Indiegogo, where film projects struggle along with many unrelated others, it is a vehicle for film nerds operated by film nerds. It even provides 'Tugg School,' an educational program for filmmakers at all levels who are daunted by some aspect of the process.
 
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Umbel’s is a Customer Data Platform that serves as the single point in and out for all customer data. Built on our Digital Genome®, Umbel acts like an API for the enterprise and unifies a company's customer data into a visual, consistent, instantly-accessible index. Umbel democratizes a company's access to its customer data, bringing complex data analysis into the hands of non-technical professionals.
 
Fun fact: Umbel offers unlimited vacation days to employees. 
 

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Written works with the brands to identify the audience they are trying to reach, and then matches those brands with blogger content that should drive traffic their way. They form exclusive licenses with bloggers and give the brand the copy of the post and take the post off the blogger’s site. Traffic from the original post is redirected to the brand, giving the brand traffic that would be difficult for it to generate on its own.
 
Did we miss you or a startup you have your eyes on? Let us know by creating your company profile and emailing [email protected]
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