3 Austin startups disrupting real estate, peer-to-peer energy donation, and investing

by Garrett Reim
November 28, 2014

Austin is continuing to churn out early-stage startups. We took a look at three budding in their beta stage to see what they're working on. These startups are as diverse as the Austin tech scene.



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.
“Imagine if you knew simply by viewing a dashboard how you rank against thousands of like investors and what simple changes you could make to maximize your returns based on what top performers are doing,” said co-founder and CEO Jason St. Peter. That's what DRAFT does.
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.
“My co-founder spent several years in the investment industry and saw firsthand how broken the industry is,” said St. Peter.  “After talking to hundreds of people we realized that if we could create a tool that could simplify the tools that are out there, in a way that creates a new relevant benchmark then investors who had become disinterested or untrustworthy of investment services would welcome a new tool that was simple and brought full transparency back to investing.”
Investing has long been an industry marred by high fees and hazy benchmarks. By simplifying everything for everyday investors DRAFT could help improve results. The company is hoping to see 2000 beta users on the platform this year.
While there are nearly 40 million people in the United States that cannot afford to pay their monthly energy bills, there are even more fortunate people that can afford to help. Gridmates connects the two groups through a “peer to peer energy sharing platform.”
The platform “allows utility customers to share energy units with friends & family or people and organizations in need,” said CEO and co-founder Dr. George Koutitas.
Using the platform “people can donate or send energy units to those in need just with a click of a button.”
Koutitas also envisions using the platform to donate energy to non-profits, to lessen their overhead costs, so they would have more funds for helping people. 
“This year we will focus on a successful pilot execution and offering of our services to non-profit organizations,” said Koutitas.
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.
The startup already has two corporate partners for its efforts: Silicon Labs Inc., and CLEAResult Inc. Ultimately, the company has international aims, as energy poverty is far worse in many developing countries. By connecting richworld countries with developing world countries, Gridmates believes they can help eliminate energy poverty across the world.
Real estate tech companies are popping up everywhere. And while the extra information from sites like Zillow and Trulia is great for potential homebuyers it can sometimes get overwhelming. RealSavvy has built a solution to keep it all organized in one place.
RealSavvy is “similar to Pinterest, consumers have a free tool to collect homes found on popular real estate sites onto custom, shareable home boards,” said founder and CEO Rick Orr. A real estate agent for over 16 years, Orr said he has seen “the pain of trying to collaborate on a home search in today's technology market.”
By collaboration, Orr means enhancing communication between real estate agents and home buyers. Instead of being sidelined by homebuyer searches that take place only online, agents can bring additional value to homebuyers via the RealSavvy platform. 
“We’ve created a platform that allows agents remain connected with their clients wherever they may venture online through visual collections of homes that they find from multiple sites,” said Orr.
The site also provides analytics feedback to real estate agents, giving them insight into the interests and behavior of homebuyers.
RealSavvy is scheduled to launch in December.  
Have a tip for us or know of a company that deserves coverage? Email us via [email protected]

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