The Program

TechStars Blog

5th June 2014

Good luck, Techstars NYC 2014 Class!

Today we graduate our 5th class in NYC and my very first one as the Managing Director. It has been a fantastic experience – one of the best, most intense 3 months of my professional career.

The companies in this class spawn a world of ideas and industries. What unites them is their passion for what they are doing, and the incredible hard work they’ve put in during the class. Companies made real, significant progress and we are proud to be part of their journey.

Codestarter is the first non-profit ever to go through Techstars. Their mission is simple. Give each kid a laptop so she can learn how to code. Imagine all the kids today who can’t afford a computer.

Imagine giving them the opportunity to learn how to code. What do you get in 10 years? Code Starter thinks you will get founders of Techstars companies and other startups.  And we agree.

In just last two weeks, Codestarter secured 111 laptops. Thats 111 kids that can learn how to code! To learn more about their vision and to help, head over to http://codestarter.org.

Concert Window is an online music venue. Musicians can play a show from anywhere using their laptop. Fans tune in, pay what they want, buy merch and chat with each other during the show.

Each month Concert Window hosts over 350 shows and music festivals. In recent months the number of artists signing up with Concert Window increased 3x and the company’s sales increased 5x. Last week was the highest total sales week in the history of the company.

Concert Window’s vision is to be a major player in the rapidly growing $31BN live music space.

Hullabalu uses technology to create next generation interactive stories for kids. Their first story series, featuring Pan the purple panda, has hit #1 in Books in 38 countries. Over 150,000 kids play in Hullabalu’s world and use their apps every month.

Hullabalu’s vision is to build the future of stories. They use proprietary technology, tools, and data to tell better stories and make their content more engaging over time.

By understanding what characters kids engage with, what paths they take through the stories, and how they explore each scene, Hullabalu is creating a new kind of story experience – one that is immersive and truly tailored to every child.

Infinit is a fast and beautiful application for transferring files. Instead of sending files via email or Dropbox, you can send them a lot faster using Infinit app for Mac and Windows. It really is as simple as dragging and dropping a file, totally painless and elegant.

Under the hood Infinit is built using world class peer-to-peer file transfer technology. Because of the way it is implemented the app is 2-3x faster than competitive solutions. The company also announced a coming mobile version and with that, it aims to be the best and simplest way to send files between all your devices.

Lynxsy is a mobile recruiting platform that helps companies hire junior talent on demand. Lynxsy is already generating significant sales, and has grown sales 30% month-over-month. They have worked with more than 40 companies, including Digital Ocean, BetterCloud and Skillshare.

Lynxsy is starting by helping connect startups with college grads who are looking for entry-level, non-technical roles.  Managers can post available jobs that get pushed out to pre-screened candidates through a simple and easy to use platform.

Lynxsy’s pre-screening and matching process reduces the time to hire to 7 days from the average of 23 days. In addition, Lynxsy’s platform handles all payments and paperwork, further reducing the risk and hassle of hiring.

MakersKit is an interactive media and e-commerce company that pairs fun DIY kits with fun instructional videos. To date, they sold over 40,000 kits of which 25,000 just in last 60 days. The company has been growing sales 40% quarter over quarter. Makers Kit now has nationwide distribution deals with Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom. They also have partnerships with HSN, Macys, Zulily and Birchbox.

MakersKits is taking the makers movement mainstream by helping everyone become more creative. The kits come with everything you need to make the project, you don’t need to ever go to the store. Instead of boring instructions, each kit comes with the interactive videos featuring MakersKit founders Mike Stone and Jawn McQuade making the whole experience of doing the project a lot more fun.

Matter.io is building flexible manufacturing for the next generation of designers, makers and creative businesses. Instead of dealing with dozens of vendors and costly, unscalable processes, designers can use matter.io – a one-stop modern factory for small batch production.

Matter.io is starting with jewelry market and has 5 customers already live. For these designers, the process is simple – upload your CAD design, select from a set of options such as material, finishes, and delivery options. Matter.io automaticallly calculates the prices and turn around time. Once all the options are configured, designer gets a simple link that she can embed on her site.

Matter.io handles all the logistics of making and delivering pieces on demand, when customers actually buy them.  To handle the production, Matter.io relies on a blend of backend processes from 3D printing to rubber molding, but all of this is invisible to both designers and customers.

Pathgather is the new approach to enterprise learning that helps employees learn more, share what they know, and connect around their professional development. Pathgather is already generating significant revenue and counts Qualcomm and HBO among its customers.

Several things make Pathgather unique and exciting. First, it is employee driven, and actually empowers people to learn. Secondly, in addition to making available all the corporate learning content, Pathgather comes pre-built with the best learning content from around the web. The software is also really beautiful and easy to use.

Pathgather’s vision is to unlock the learning potential of every organization. Imagine knowing the actual skills of every employee; knowing who is an expert in what topic; finding an answer or an expert within an organization on any topic. Thats the new enterprise learning vision from Pathgather.

Rival Theory is working on applying artificial intelligence to digital characters that learn, interact and play with you across multiple apps and games.

Rival Theory’s platform is used by more than 6,000 developers and is #1 AI engine on Unity, which is #1 tool for building video games. The new version that the company is working on will introduce unique and exciting ability to create emotionally intelligent characters.

Rival Theory is building apps that showcase the capabilities of this new platform. These apps will feature IO, the first emotionally intelligent character that has persistent memories about the player, and uses them to personalize the game play across multiple games.

Standard Analytics makes the world’s science accessible via structured API. Until today, science is still published as plain text – without underlying data, code and dependencies. As a result, key concepts inside articles cannot be identified or connected. Its hard to verify, reproduce and connect scientific knowledge.

Standard Analytics is creating the world’s largest repository of structured science. It has indexed more than 20MM papers, 5.5MM unique concepts, and offers an API to pharmaceutical companies, publishers and individual scientists to help them access science in smarter, more efficient way.

SocialSign.in enables businesses to leverage their guest WiFi to learn more about visitors and build relationship with customers. SocialSign.in is already generating significant revenue and has doubled each month this year. The company has tripped the number of venues that have their software installed to 158. Current customers include The Bean, Schubert Theaters and City Winery.

SocialSign.in transforms guest WiFi into a marketing channel. It offers its in-network businesses dashboards with insights into foot traffic, visitor demographics and tastes of the customers.  They already offer many existing integrations with CRM and email services.  Guest experiences are branded and tailored by the business or sponsor and the channel converts customers to other marketing channels like email, Facebook, Twitter and apps.

SocialSign.in’s vision is to build a massive network of 3,000,000 venues in US and bring the joy of free WiFi and easy connections at the places we love to spend time at.

Tutum is a new type of cloud computing service that uses application container technology. Over ½ of all IT budgets are spent on deploying and managing applications, yet it is still very time consuming and inefficient. Current solutions include Platform-as-a-service (PAAS) and Infrastructure-as-a-service (IAAS). Both have tradeoffs between simplicity and flexibility.

Tutum is Containers-as-a-Service, and no longer requires users to compromise between simplicity and flexibility. In the past few months developers around the world launched more than 2,000 applications using Tutum’s public beta. They see the benefits of deploying and managing their applications using container technology instead of traditional virtual machines – containers make applications portable and deployments efficient.

Tutum’s vision is to create the next generation of cloud computing: simple, flexible and cost efficient.

Please join me in wishing Techstars NYC 2014 class best of luck!