David Cohen's TechStars went off without a hitch as the mentorship-driven, seed stage investment organization presented 11 new web and software startups in Boulder, Colorado today.
Only one of the companies could be classified as "pure play" ad tech: out-of-home marketplace ADstruc (AdExchanger.com Q&A), which announced it is closing in on a fairly sizable initial round of investment and intimated they will be moving operations to NYC shortly. ADstruc's John Laramie, Josh Warrum and Sam Herbert took part in the presentation.
TechStars offers selected startups a 3-month incubation period that includes a little bit of cash and mentorship from local, experienced entrepreneur types such as Lijit CEO Todd Vernon, Trada CEO Niel Robertson and Foundry Group's Seth Levine and Brad Feld. At the end of the three months, the program culminates with a presentation by each start-up in front of several hundred VC and angel investors in a local theater.
Rather than having a Q&A after each of the 11 presentations - like TechCrunch's Disrupt conference where startups are quizzed by a panel of experts - TechStars chose to streamline the show and do only the presentations thus leaving the questions for the networking after the show. This worked well.
In addition to helping participating startups with their business model, plans, etc. - TechStars assists with presentations. Each was a tight, 10 minutes or so. (I wonder how long it will be before startups will present to hundreds if not thousands of potential investors via a webcast and seek investment from "the crowd.")
In addition to ADstruc, the 10 other presenters included:
- kapost - A virtual newsroom that crowdsources the news. A white-labeled Demand Media. Kinda. Founded by Toby Murdock, Mike Lewis and Nader Akhnoukh.
- gearbox - They have a ball. No, really, a ball and you control it with your smartphone (see the video). It's a lot cooler than it sounds and your cat will love it. Founded by Adam Wilson and Ian Bernstein.
- Omniar - The company provides software that brings the three-dimensions of the real world into the virtual. 3D software has evolved obviously since SGI. Founded by Carlin Getliffe, Zach Kozick and Jordan Parker.
- RoundPegg - HR is the target market here as the company's product "matches people to companies based on cultural fit." Founded by Tim Wolters, Brent Daily, Natalie Baumgartner, and Chris Kilmer.
- spotInfluence - Helps you find the most influential people on any topic. An interesting add-on for the news world. Founded by Dave Angulo and Rich Grote.
- VacationRentalPartner.com - Takes VRBO to the next level with second home or vacation home management software. Founded by Michael Joseph and Tom Feldhusen.
- StatsMix - Data aggregation and visualization for business "with automatic, actionable insights." Founded by Tom Markiewicz and Jeremy Fields
- BlipSnips - This company has figured out a way to allow video publishers to make money from snippets of shareable video. Founded by John Bliss and Greg Keller.
- RentMonitor.com - If you're a landlord, you may like this package as it helps you manage your business with your tenants. If you're a tenant, you may not like it because you're landlord just got a whole lot smarter. Founded by Brett Yates and Deanna Bennett.
- ScriptPad - This company is looking to solve the problem of doctors who write illegible prescriptions. The voice-recognition capabilities over the smartphone make perfect sense for any doctor looking to cram in as many patients as possible while limiting the ability to screw up a prescription. Founded by Shane Taylor and Liam Davis-Mead.