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5th June 2015

Funding and M&A Activity Across the Techstars Ecosystem

Techstars companies have raised over $100M this past week! Here is a roundup of those and other recent investments and M&A activity across the Techstars ecosystem. Congratulations to the founders and all the companies on your hard work and success!

Congratulations to these Techstars companies that were recently acquired:

 

Congratulations to the Techstars Alumni companies that have recently received notable investments:

Pill Pack $50M Pill Pack (Boston ‘13) announced a $50M raise this week. Pill Pack is a full service online pharmacy that ships personalized rolls of pre-sorted prescriptions.
Sphero $45M Sphero (Boulder ‘10 & Disney ‘14) raised $45M in funding in June. Sphero makes connected toys and most recently worked on the new Star Wars robot, BB-8.
Localytics $35M Localytics (Boston ‘09) raised $35M in Series D funding in March. Localytics offers analytics and marketing tools for mobile apps to better understand user behavior.
Placester $15M Placester (Boston ‘11) raised $15M in Series B funding in April. Placester replaces the digital real estate sections of local newspaper websites with a new real estate portal.
Remitly $12.5M Remitly (Seattle ‘11) raised $12.5M in Series B in March to help immigrants send money to family and friends abroad. Remitly is a mobile payments service that enables consumers to conveniently make person-to-person international money transfers from the U.S.
Kapost $10.25M Kapost (Boulder ‘10) raised $10.25M in an equity round in May. Kapost makes software that companies use to manage B2B content marketing campaigns.
SalesLoft $10M SalesLoft (Boulder ‘12) raised $10M in Series A in April. SalesLoft is a sales development software company that offers a SaaS platform that seamlessly integrates with CRM applications.
Jukely $8M Jukely (NYC ‘13) raised $8M in a seed extension round to expand into at least 20 more cities in the next year. Jukely is a matchmaker for music lovers, connecting those with a similar taste in music to go to concerts with.
Bench $7M Bench (NY ‘12) closed a $7M series A round earlier this year. Bench is an online bookkeeping service that provides tax-ready financial statements from professional bookkeepers.
LawnStarter $6M LawnStarter (Austin ‘14) recently raised $6M in Series A. LawnStarter is a lawn service with easy online booking that describes itself as “your lawn care concierge.”
Careport Health $3.8M Careport Health (Boston ‘12) announced $3.8M in funding to help patients solve the challenge of post-hospital care.
Woo Sports $2.7M Woo Sports (Boston ‘14) raised $2.7M in April. Woo Sports is a device that tracks stats for kiteboarders.
Outreach $2.3M Outreach (Seattle ‘11) raised $2.3M in seed funding in May. Outreach creates workflow tools for sales teams.
Sqord $2.3M Sqord (Chicago ‘14) raised $2.3 M from Providence Health. Sqord is a wearable activity tracker, game and app for kids.
Tray.io $2.2M Tray.io (London ‘13) raised $2.2M in April. Tray.io has built a platform that it calls an “integration marketplace,” which makes costly IT integrations a thing of the past.
Dopay $2M Dopay (Barclays ‘14) raised $2M to launch a cloud-based payroll service that employers can use to calculate and remit salaries electronically to staff who don’t have bank accounts of their own (and also to those who do).
Notion $2M Notion (Boulder ‘14) raised $2M in seed funding in May. Notion allows you to monitor your home with a single sensor, wherever you are.

4th June 2015

Announcing the First Class of Techstars Mobility, Driven by Detroit

Today, I’m excited to announce the first class of Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit. These 10 companies are excellent representatives of the future of mobility. They each demonstrate technologies addressing the movement of people, goods, and services.

To help us create a world-class mobility program, we’ve partnered with six global corporations with deep mobility expertise. These partners include Ford Motor Company, Magna International, Verizon Telematics, Dana Holding Corporation, Honda R&D Americas, and McDonald’s. Additionally, we have over 150 expert mentors and investors helping our first class of 10 startups.

For this inaugural program, we received applications from all over the world (every continent except Antarctica!) and were excited by the diversity of applications. We saw software, hardware and advanced materials businesses focusing on things like ride sharing, energy, safety, maintenance, logistics and trucking. The solutions being developed by this year’s class range from a ride-sharing app, to the AirBnB for car enthusiasts, to web browser technology that works without a data connection.

Here is our awesome Techstars Mobility class of 2015:

 

Ansik makes automotive service safer, quicker and more affordable for everyone.
CDL Warrior is a communication and productivity platform for the trucking industry that connects truck drivers to their supply chain partners and improves efficiency, visibility and compliance.
Classics & Exotics brings the “sharing economy” into the car enthusiast’s garage, allowing classic and exotic car enthusiasts to now offset their car ownership costs by renting their cars to pre-screened, highly qualified renters.
Cosmos Browser. Internet via SMS, no data or WiFi required.
Elegus Technologies, a spin-out from the University of Michigan, is commercializing battery separator technology that can enable safer, longer lasting batteries.
GearBrake is a universal, easy to install brake light module that can detect when your vehicle is slowing and automatically light the brake lights, reducing the risk of rear-end collisions by up to 90%.
Motoroso combines content, community, and commerce for automotive enthusiasts to help them discover, connect, and buy everything that powers their lifestyle.
My Dealer Service empowers automotive service departments with digital connectivity and workflow management, elevating efficiency and creating an unprecedented customer experience.
Splitting Fares — SPLT — is a social ridesharing app designed to connect people with similar routes, share the fare, save money, reduce traffic and emissions and change the way people meet and move in cities around the world.
WISE Systems provides real-time routing and analytics software to help on-demand delivery companies serve their customers more effectively.

4th June 2015

Sprint Accelerator, Powered by Techstars 2015 Demo Day

Today’s Demo Day for the Sprint Accelerator, powered by Techstars, signals the graduation of our second class. These companies did a fantastic job during the past three months, making great progress with their businesses and engaging with the Kansas City community.

A few things stand out about this year’s companies. It’s a very diverse class, including four female CEOs. Seven of the 10 companies have hardware products, including a head impact sensor for youth sports, a smartphone breathalyzer, and a low cost, portable EKG. Perhaps best of all, eight of the 10 have revenue, several with at least mid six figures.

This is an extremely focused, hard-working group and I’m very excited to continue to support their success. Here’s a summary of their businesses and traction:

Alcohoot enables mobile human condition monitoring. Their first product is a police-grade smartphone breathalyzer for consumer use. They’re soon launching the Intrepid breathalyzer platform for the police market. They have over $750,000 in revenue, over 11,000 device sales, partnerships with Heineken, Pernod Ricard and NYCFC of the MLS, and eight pilots with police departments and fleet companies.
HealthID is a medication adherence and health information management platform with connected wristband and card. Their product is sold in over 15,000 pharmacies including CVS Health, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. They’ve generated over $590,000 in revenue since September 2014. Since starting the accelerator, they signed 3 pilots for their adherence platform.
Hidrate makes beautiful connected products. Their smart water bottle and connected app remind you to stay hydrated. Their Kickstarter campaign exceeded its goal in less than a day and continues to gain momentum.
First Derm by iDoc24 provides the fastest and most convenient way to ask a board certified dermatologist about any skin concerns. They have over 100,000 app downloads, over 14,000 cases answered, recurring revenues, and have detected hundreds of dangerous skin lesions. Their partners include Thermo Fischer, 3Gen, large health information websites such as Healthline.com, and online pharmacies.
Jolt’s multi-sport head impact sensor and connected app provide athletes and their coaches with real time, actionable head impact data. They ran a successful Kickstarter campaign and are shipping product in June. They have a pilot study through Boston University and are in discussions with professional sports teams.
Melon Health’s mobile health platform helps people manage their health through peer support, access to clinicians and behavior change tools. Melon has generated over $1M in recurring revenue to date, and is advanced talks with major insurer for a paid pilot plus several other payers and providers.
Ovatemp’s Bluetooth thermometer and connected app provide the only personalized fertility management platform for women of all ages. They are now shipping thermometers and their free app is available in the App Store.
Oxie is the first smart, wearable air purifier enabling anyone in the world to breathe clean air and receive real-time air quality alerts. Their mobile sensors collect allergen and pollutant data that will form the world’s only comprehensive air quality database. They are currently in discussions with airlines to launch in the U.S. travel market.
Rex enables unprecedented access to animal health data and analytics for pharmaceutical companies and veterinary service providers. They have generated $500,000 of revenue in the past two months, and also have $20,000 monthly recurring revenue. They have paid pilots with major pharmaceutical companies and a pipeline of $1.2 million in contracts.
Triomi’s portable, low cost 12-lead EKG enables any physician to perform an EKG, anywhere in the world. They have signed their first medical device distributor with expected minimum revenue of $500,000 in our first year, and are on track to ship in the first half of 2016.

1st June 2015

Announcing the June 2015 Techstars++ Class

We are pleased to announce the June Techstars++ class! These companies will be traveling to Rochester to spend two weeks working at the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator on the Mayo Clinic campus. Through Techstars++ we will investigate the fit between these three companies and Mayo Clinic for the purposes of using innovative solutions to overcome significant problems in healthcare. The foundations for potential long-term partnerships will be built during these next two weeks.

The kickoff will be hosted by Mayo Clinic Center For Innovation with leadership and dignitaries from the city of Rochester, MN. We have a packed schedule ahead of us meeting with thought leaders and medical experts. Gauging from the excitement of the community and the diligence of the amazing founders, we expect great things!

Telespine is an online system of care accessible via phone, tablet or computer – The Telespine program is simple, easy to do, highly effective and costs 96% less than traditional care. Telespine provides personalized treatment through web-based content, streaming video exercises and online consults with our LBP specialists. The Telespine program guides patients through a proven step-by-step process to improve their back health. @Telespine
Jintronix is a tele-rehabilitation platform designed to improve patient outcomes and enhance patient experience using state of the art motion capture and network technology. Harnessing the engaging power of gamification, Jintronix provides patients with personalized exercises giving real-time feedback, while allowing healthcare professionals to monitor patient progress from anywhere. @Jintronix
Owlet is a “Smart Sock” that uses pulse oximetry to monitor an infant’s vital signs. What used to take up a whole hospital table with cords and wires is now appropriate for the home and convenient for medical professionals. Owlet was designed with parents in mind, it simplifies the user experience to a glowing light and allows parents to feel much needed peace of mind. Owlet is also wifi connected so the information from the sock is aggregated for remote monitoring. Owlet bridges the gap between the hospital and the home. Healthcare is being personalized for the home and Owlet intends to become the health platform for infants 0-3 years old that will connect parents to pediatricians and revolutionize the way we care for children. @owletbabycare

28th May 2015

Introducing the First Class of the Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator

Today, we’re pleased to welcome the first class of the Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator, powered by Techstars. These startups are representative of the tremendously talented entrepreneurs creating the future of robotics. In this class, the companies are creating commercial and consumer robots, new robot-enabling technologies, and the infrastructure for a robot powered economy.

Our 2015 class represents seven countries: Greece, Italy, Germany, Canada, Singapore, the UK, and the US–the most international class ever assembled for a US based Techstars accelerator. Two of the startups are homegrown here in San Diego, a testament to the strength of the local robotics ecosystem.

We’re excited to introduce the 2015 class of the Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator, powered by Techstars:

Carbon Robotics out of San Francisco, CA, is a robotic arm company geared towards consumers and mid-sized businesses that combines affordable hardware with an open platform. They are building TOBI, a table top arm targeted at developers.
CleverPet from San Diego, CA, is a technology company dedicated to teaching your pet new behaviors. Founded by a team of cognitive scientists and neuroscientists, CleverPet’s first product is a smart, in-home robot that provides your dog with the daily mental and physical stimulation he or she craves.
CtrlWorks, based in Singapore, is dedicated to transforming any mobile platform into an intelligent robot at an affordable price. Their first robot, Axon, attaches to just about anything and turns it into a fully autonomous robot through cloud navigation and specialized hardware.
Inova Drone, from San Diego, designs and develops advanced, professional unmanned aerial systems for the global commercial market. Their first product is a drone targeted at first responders and search and rescue applications.
Rational Robotics, from Edmonton, Alberta, CA, produces robots that automate the restorative automotive painting process. Utilizing 3D vision and advanced path planning, Rational Robots provide a safe and efficient way to paint cars on the shop floor.
Reach Robotics, from Bristol, UK, is developing Mecha Monsters – the world’s first gaming monster robots. They are controlled via smartphone or tablets and serve to bridge the physical and digital components of the gaming world. Mecha Monsters come with accessories that provide special abilities that make them more powerful.
Skyfront, based in Hoboken, NJ, builds hybrid-electric technology for long endurance drones. Skyfront’s technology extends typical drone flight times up to 10x and enables UAVs to be used for extended commercial applications.
Sky Robotics, from Athens, Greece, is enabling the streamlined, affordable creation of robots. Their OPRA (open platform for robotics applications) is a development platform that combines high-performance modular hardware and intuitive open source software to catalyze the realization of an infinite variety of robots.
Skysense, based in Berlin, Germany, builds and sells charging infrastructure for drones, enabling remote-controlled flights and autonomous missions. Their technology involves a gold plated charging station pad that can be easily scaled depending on the drone and application.
Solenica, out of Rome, IT, makes Lucy – a sleek, sophisticated robot that brings sunlight directly into your home. Powered by solar cells, Lucy follows the sun throughout the day to reflect light into your home or office, creating natural illumination while simultaneously reducing electricity use.

27th May 2015

The Techstars Experience: Rex Animal Health

What’s it like to go through a Techstars program? Why choose our accelerator program over others?

This is the next post in our blog series, “The Techstars Experience,” with some thoughts from Amado Guloy, Co-Founder and CEO of Rex Animal Health. Rex enables access to animal health data and analytics for pharmaceutical companies and veterinary service providers. Amado and his co-founder, Haven Moore, are part of the Techstars Sprint Accelerator Program 2015 and are getting ready for Demo Day next week!

Here are some highlights from a few of Amado’s posts:

[re: why the network matters]

We have to leverage our networks. We have to help each other. That’s one thing I absolutely love about the Techstars mantra of GIVE FIRST. You have access to an amazing network of over 1500 founders, mentors, and investors. People are willing to give before they get, because that’s what we’re all about. It’s certainly how Rex has gained a ridiculous amount of traction in a such a small amount of time; people have helped us along the way, have given us amazing introductions, and have given us actionable advice on how to grow our business and kick as*.

[re: winning and growth]

The atmosphere at the office isn’t one of competition, but everyone has set goals for themselves and what they want to accomplish so ‘winning’ means accomplishing said goals. It’s a fantastic feeling to know that you’re rooting for the other teams and that they’re rooting for you.

…the past three weeks have felt like three years. I do not think there is any other way that we could have figured out what strategy and market we would be going after in a matter of three weeks without the guidance we have received thus far. As we enter our final week of mentor madness, I am proud to say that the company has grown leaps and bounds over where we were before.

[re: founder fear]

A lot of entrepreneurs end up not doing anything because of fear. They’re scared that they might do the wrong thing when facing a fork in the road. They’re afraid of the potential outcome that could totally rock their assumptions about the market. In the end, entrepreneurs who are scared just end up kicking the can down the road, staying in their happy little comfort zones, and get absolutely nothing done….So how do you get out of the space of intention and into the space of realization? Or in other words, how do you get out of planning phase and actually go out there to get shi* done.

To get the full story of this founder’s Techstars Experience, read more of Amado’s posts here.

Want to apply to Techstars? Check out our Program Schedule.

21st May 2015

[VIDEO] Where Are They Now? SendGrid & Happiness

Check out the latest “Where Are They Now?” video featuring SendGrid, a Techstars Boulder 2009 alum. SendGrid has developed a cloud based service that eliminates the complexity of sending email, saving time and money, while providing reliable delivery to the inbox.

SendGrid is now sending out as many emails per day as Twitter sends out tweets! Wow.

Learn more about their success post-Techstars, their enormous growth, their extraordinary market opportunity and why happiness is key factor to their success.

20th May 2015

The Techstars Experience: Rainbird & 100 Days of Techstars

What’s it like to go through a Techstars program? The program can change your life – but it’s not always pretty.

This is the next post in our blog series, The Techstars Experience, with some thoughts from Dom Davis, Co-Founder and CTO of Rainbird, an artificial intelligence platform that automates knowledge-work by unlocking internal expertise and amplifying that value across an organization. Dom and his co-founders completed the Techstars London 2014 Winter program.

This installment of The Techstars Experience is a bit different. Dom blogged (nearly) every day of his 100 days in program. He talks very candidly  not only about the program itself — but the lack of sleep, the food, the exhaustion, the grueling commute, and the demands on his family (his very pregnant wife and a three year old child).

Dom compiled these posts into an ebook called, “100 Days of Techstars.” He gives the blow by blow in personal diary style with a blunt voice and a British twist. It’s a good read…

Check out a few excerpts below and as Dom puts it, “Follow my descent into insanity and find out what it is to be at Techstars for 100 days.

[re: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint]

(day 9)
Mentor meetings in the morning, [extremely] long lunch with a very good friend of mine and colleague who was able to offer some very interesting advice and some possible introductions, back to the office to do a couple of hours work, out by 19:00 with the intention of going home and going pretty much straight to bed.

Didn’t quite manage that as Chris and I started talking about some issues that had been uncovered during the day and then started throwing around some ideas to fix these issues. Next thing you know the notepads are out and diagrams are being drawn. OK, so it’s not exactly high intensity work – and we did range over a number of topics while also cooking and eating dinner – but we still utterly failed in the task of go home, switch off, go to sleep.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the mentality of working every available hour and pushing yourself as hard as you can. That’s great, but you also have to remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. There are no prizes for being the first to collapse in a crumpled heap before the finish line is even in sight.

[re: The Techstars Clock of Doom]

(day 23)

The Techstars Clock of Doom rolled over to the 70’s today, which is just terrifying. We’re in week 4. We’ve been here 23 days and it just seems that we’re going to get catapulted out the other side of this process way too fast because in some respects it still only feels like we’ve been there a few days.

(day 89)

It’s odd. The ever present Techstars Clock of Doom which has, until now, been instilling a sense of urgency before demo day is now tinged with sadness. Every second it ticks is another second closer to the end. And that sucks. Royally.

[re: Mentorship & Office Hours]

(day 31)

Techstars set up a number of what they call “Office Hours”. Basically a period of time where useful people will be in the office and you can book a quick meeting with them. One of these was with Tony Blank from context.io. I mentioned to Tony that I could do with speaking to someone who knew more about graph databases than I did. Tony pointed me at the CEO of orchestrate.io because they know about databases. The CEO introduced me to their CTO and lead technical guy, and before I know it I’ve got them coming to visit to talk to me.

In the space of a week I’ve gone from clueless to having access to a huge wealth of information on how our approach is going to work, even at scale. This kind of useful introduction, and willingness to help and provide information goes on all the time which is one of the key things that makes this programme so useful for me.

[re: Burden on the family]

(day 49)

Before going to Techstars I researched the hell out of it. One thing that is made abundantly clear is that if you have a family or partner, they are going to suffer. With that in mind I set expectations with my wife to be low. Very low. Like 5 minute video call once a day and back home every other weekend at best low. Unsurprisingly this caused an argument, but not a major one. I was the first to admit I was being horribly selfish, and the hoped for outcome benefits the entire family hugely. We both understand that.

So my heavily pregnant wife is effectively a single mum for 3 months with flying visits from me for 48 hours at a time every two weeks or so. Not insurmountable, many wives have endured that, but not exactly easy either. It seems this departure was the breaking point….

I now get to throw myself into work with no time to think about anything else. My wife has to keep the house and family together for my return. All I can say is that if your partner bears up as well as mine you’re onto a keeper there.

To get the full story of this founder’s Techstars Experience, download Dom’s full ebook here.

Want to apply to Techstars? Check out our Program Schedule.

15th May 2015

8 Nuggets of Wisdom from Techstars NYC Alumni

About a month ago, the 12 companies of Techstars NYC 2015 winter class presented at Demo Day. The founders of the graduating companies recently shared their wisdom and insights with Entrepreneur.com. Check out the highlights below and read the full article here.

IMG_5768

NYC Techstars Winter 2015 Class

1. Make more connections
2. Create time for mentors
3. Concentrate on growth
4. Treat mistakes as learning opportunities
5. Take care of all logistical headaches before the program starts
6. Get moving
7. Nail down your source of caffeine
8. Plan ahead

Read more.

14th May 2015

The Techstars Experience: Remitly’s Story

What’s it like to go through a Techstars program? Why choose our accelerator program over others?

This is the fourth post in our blog series,“The Techstars Experience,” with some thoughts from Matt Oppenheimer, Co-Founder and CEO of Remitly, an easy, fast, affordable way to send money online. Matt and his co-founders, Josh Hug and Shivaas Gulati, completed the Techstars Seattle 2011 Fall program.

Here are some highlights from Matt’s post, entitled, “Techstars is a Bargain.”

[re: the network and finding co-founders]

I love the quote, ‘if you’re the smartest guy in the room, you’re in the wrong room.’ You won’t be the smartest guy in the room during Techstars. Also, if you need an intro, it feels like you’re always one degree away from anyone in the world when you’re part of the Techstars network.

“Everyone gets something slightly different out of Techstars. For me, it was the product network. Having come from the banking industry, I had no product experience or network. Even before being accepted to Techstars, the Techstars network connected me to my co-founding engineer (Shivaas Gulati) so we could apply to Techstars and we then met our co-founder and Chief Product Officer (Josh Hug) in the Techstars program. Josh was our lead mentor and, after being co-founder and CEO of Shelfari (acquired by Amazon in 2008), he was looking to start his next company. Any smart founder knows that your team, especially your co-founders, make or break a business. The fact that I met both of my co-founders via Techstars was invaluable.”

[re: on focus & credibility]

  • Focus/momentum: If you really want to grow a business, you need to focus on it 100%. Techstars is a good launch pad to make this leap, if you haven’t already.
  • Credibility: Hundreds and hundreds of applicants, 10 companies. That’s a valuable stamp of approval and startups need that stamp to break through the clutter when raising capital, recruiting, etc.

[re: integrity]

“Knowing the integrity and character of the Techstars leadership team, it was no surprise that they recently announced their “Equity Back Guarantee. Like many great brands (Costco, Nordstrom, etc), Techstars can offer this because they know how much value they’re providing founders who participate in their programs.”

To get the full story of this founder’s Techstars Experience, read Matt’s full post
here.

Want to apply to Techstars? Check out our Program Schedule.