Austin’s cornerstone accelerator program Techstars officially announced the 10 companies in its Spring 2015 class, a few of which have qualities that are notably Texan.
No matter where the companies ventured from, they will all relocate to work in Austin from March 23 until Demo Day June 17. While in the program, the startups receive $118,000 in seed funding, mentorship from managing director Jason Seats and notable Austin technologists, as well as ‘sherpas’ — previous Techstars graduates still residing in Austin.
Seats notes the "bigger than just Texas" network as the Techstars advantage.
"Techstars is so much bigger than just Texas," Seats said. "Our scale in a dozen plus cities around the world gives our founders a huge advantage to make things happen for their companies."
Of Techstars’ startups overall, 88 percent are still active or have been acquired, and its 2014 summer class in Austin received an average of $1.9M in funding. According to Seats the success is in "the art of dancing the line between persistence and flexibility. It takes both to succeed in building a great company."
Several of 2014’s graduates have already closed funding, including Fashion Metric, Experiment Engine, Pivot Freight, and LawnStarter. Techstars recently closed a $150 million fund to foster the growth of its newest investment vehicle, Techstars Ventures 2014. Much of the new cohort parallels the tech trends that are taking the industry by storm: beacons, analytics dashboards, personal finance and security detection.
The marketplace for hunters and outdoorsmen to rent leases from land owners.
Originally from: Austin
Founders: Brandon Carter & Janis Gonser
Why it's interesting: Hunters can search by region and game. The platform streamlines finding, reserving, and offering hunting leases and access while adding a sense of security by providing all users with a community-regulated level of known quality.
When they identified the need for the market opportunity: When the CEO lost his long-time hunting spot to a land sale. Trying to find a new place to hunt was difficult and he found himself running into scams, outdated opportunities, and dead ends.
Notable success stories already: They have over 20,000 hunters using the site at various times during the year to help them find viable hunting locations.
Play fantasy sports with athletes and brands for their charity of choice.
Originally from: Kentucky
Founders: Andrew Busa & Steven Plappert
Why it’s interesting: Gamers can choose to donate to over 1 million nonprofits or start a cause. It is a new spin on sport as a medium to raise money for charity. Instead of running a marathon, you can play a game online.
A powerful analytics dashboard that’s actually easy to use.
Originally from: Seattle
Founders: Brandon Nutter & Joshua Gebhardt
Why it's interesting: While working on the Google Analytics consulting and engineering teams, they identified a need to simplify how GA is presented to customers. Enter MetricStory: a platform developed to turn google analytics into an easy-to-understand story.
The most challenging obstacle thus far: More fully understanding how archetypical customers (companies) want to engage their analytics.
What resources they're looking for: Marketing resources (especially content) and additional developer horsepower. Industry connections to mid-market companies who don't have resources to implement analytics, but have a strong need to understand their online customer.
HR Analytics platform that helps businesses make sense of all their disparate human capital data.
Originally from: Foster City
Founders: David Wilson & Chris Butler
Why it's different: The SaaS data platform uses an organizational data set to provide that data context and meaning, enabling the delivery of expert curated content based on the questions, the answers, and framework that HR needs to take a strategic role in the business.
A simple way to implement and manage all iBeacon interactions.
Originally from: San Jose, CA
Founders: Tarık and Taha Özket
Why it's different: Pushmote allows developers to manage their iBeacon interactions easily from the cloud and can be used easily across every department — developers, marketing teams and c-levels.
The most challenging obstacle thus far: Supporting all of the iBeacons. Also, the hardware vendors are trying to differentiate themselves from the others and adding new features every day that they must also support.
A marketing platform for mobile games.
Originally from: Austin
Founders: Taylor Clark & Drew Giovannoli
Why it's interesting: Their "Indie publishing tool" always game developers to capitalize on the untapped gaming market. The tool alerts owners when to post, pushes content to relevant game communities, and creates engaging exposure for your game.
SelfLender helps consumers establish and build credit through an easy to understand platforn with the tools to implement progress.
Orginally from: Denver
Founders: James Garvey & Conor Swanson
Why it's interesting: It's solving the "credit catch 22" by allowing consumers to improve their credit by providing actual tools and data tracking to note progress while gaining access to an array of affordable financial products.
The need: 1 in 4 American adults do not have a credit score due to a lack of data on their credit reports. You need existing credit history in order to establish new credit history.
The most challenging obstacle thus far: Educating consumers about the importance of good credit history, and educating consumers about the flagship product. They've had to go through hundreds of variations of copy in order to get to the current message.
A toolkit for developers to debug, test, and monitor APIs in development or live production environments.
Originally from: LA
Founders: Marc Macleod & Will Quartner
Why it's interesting: It is the first succinct product to effectively cover the entire API lifecycle that can run on any platform (OS X, Linux, Windows, hosted in the cloud), and integrates seamlessly with a developer’s daily workflow.
Monitors and analyzes billions of pricing and social signals to provide fashion retailers and brands with the competitive intelligence they need to succeed.
Originally from: NYC & Madrid
Founders: Jade Huang & Robert Figiel
Why it's interesting: Retailers can keep track of global trends and analyze other brands' data to ensure the perfect combination of price, product, and place.
What resources are you in need of? Access to and feedback from retail industry professionals and to talk to those with experience developing B2B enterprise sales pipelines.
Notable traction: Handpicked by major retailers and brands (Macy's, J Crew, etc) to be a part of the inaugural class of the New York Fashion Tech Lab in summer 2014.
A beautiful visual discovery platform for apparel from brand-generated content.
Orginally from: Austin
Founders: Martin Ahe & Ana Maria Moreno
Why it's interesting: It bridges content-marketing into an actual marketplace through story-telling.
The market opportunity: Over 93 percent of marketers are now using content marketing as part of their overall marketing plan.
The most challenging obstacle thus far: There is a plethora of amazing creative content out there, so finding a way to aggregate it all in an app quickly enough is something they are working toward.
What resources they are in need of: Usability and user testing experts, branding, messaging and external communications advisors, and e-commerce advisors.
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