Today is #tsdemoday at Techstars in Chicago and our teams are pitching to a venue full of investors at the House of Blues. We were blown away by how quickly tickets for this event became unavailable so we decided to do another one on September 9th from 6:00pm to 9:30pm at Northwestern. We open our doors to the community and we would love for you to be there and watch our companies demo what they have been diligently building these past three months. Seats are limited and RSVPs are a must. You can grab a ticket and all the details at the Eventbrite. A huge thanks to Northwestern School of Law for hosting us.
Tomorrow over at The Next Web, the full documentary episode of Cloudability in Startup Stories will be posted exclusively. Check out the trailer below and see our blog tomorrow for the link to the full video.
Startup Stories is a series of short documentaries about Techstars companies. This is the second episode of a series of short docs exploring the key moments, struggles and passions around building a company. This video is the story of Cloudability.
It all started in Portland, Oregon when Mat Ellis and J.R. Storment met. Mat was doing some consulting work for friends and former colleagues who wanted to get on to the cloud, mostly helping companies devise a cloud strategy and architecture. His clients started to express how hard it was to manage their spending on the cloud so Mat built a service to solve this problem. Mat and J.R. found one other and began building Cloudability.
See our previous Startup Stories documentary featuring SendGrid on The Next Web here.
The Kaplan EdTech Accelerator is a three month intensive, deep immersion program for ten education startups. The program is being held on-site in New York, NY and will run from June-September 2013. Startups will have access to top-notch industry mentors, resources and round-the-clock support as well as the chance to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program. Meet the ten teams that were selected for the program:
Degreed — As educational opportunities explode with new online learning options, San Francisco-based Degreed wants to rethink what it means to earn credit. The startup, which aims to “jailbreak” the degree, provides an online service that tracks, scores and validates all of a user’s educational experiences.
Flinja — Flinja gives students a marketplace for listing services they can provide, which alumni and others in their college networks can then pay for through the site.
MentorMob — A crowdsourced learning site, MentorMob lets anyone create “playlists” of content on a wide range of topics.
ModernGuild — Through its online job prep program, ModernGuild helps college students connect with professionals for personalized, career coaching.
panOpen — Given the rise of Open Educational Resources (OER), panOpen wants to make it easier for educators and institutions to use free textbooks.
PlayPowerLabs — PlayPowerLabs makes engaging math games that are aligned to Common Core state standards for K-8 education.
Ranku — Online degrees you can be proud of from schools you trust.
Uvize — Uvize helps military veterans prepare for college with academic instruction, assessment and coaching.
Verificient Technologies — With the growth in online courses, Verificient plans to offer identity verification, proctoring and credential authentication services.
Whipsmart — Whipsmart offers teachers a literacy tool that enables kids to read nonfiction content adapted to fit their reading levels.
These teams were covered in more depth by Ki Mae Heussner last week over at GigaOM. Click on over to read the article.
The early application deadline for Techstars in Seattle is this Friday, May 3, at 11:59:59 p.m. PST. Our Seattle program is, in the words of David, en fuego, and the sooner you apply, the more time we have to get to know your team and observe your traction and progress. Our London program is also open for applications with a final deadline of May 5, 2013. Also in London, we recently found our new digs and were confirmed as a Recognised Seed Competition in the UK. This provides entrepreneurs sufficient points to qualify for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa. Techstars London’s newly approved status will allow us to offer any team from anywhere in the world a spot in the program and continued support locally post-program.
Today, Techstars London announced that it has found a permanent home at the newly established Warner Yard. This will provide all the Techstars London participants at least 6 months office accommodation at the heart of TechCity London – being the initial 3 months of the Techstars programme followed by a further 3 months after the programme.
Alongside the total funding of €85k that each Techstars London company receives, it will ensure the companies maintain momentum following the Techstars London Demo Day. The permanent location will also allow Techstars London to host events throughout the year for the wider community and provide hotdesking facilities for Techstars alumni from the wider network.
Warner Yard is a new co-workspace devised by Federico Pirzio-Biroli, the founder of Playfair Capital, which has invested in over 20 companies in the last 2 years – making them one of the most active seed investors in Europe today. What is unusual about the co-workspace is that it is targeted at funded companies and also early stage investors, including Angel Investors and Seed Funds based in London and from overseas.
Playfair Capital originally operated from White Bear Yard, the home of Passion Capital based in Farringdon, which was the inspiration of the new space. Pirzio-Biroli quickly identified that even companies who had received investment benefited from working alongside other teams at a similar stage – their ability to quickly share knowledge and experience helped them to accelerate their momentum.
Equally, in the same fashion, Pirzio-Biroli also noticed that many of the early stage investors in London operated from coffee shops – typically with bad wifi, loud music and no power sockets. To address this problem, Warner Yard will have a dedicated space for such investors providing them with hot desking and meeting room facilities.
At launch, Warner Yard had signed amongst others signed up EC1 Capital, #1Seed, Hotspur Capital Partners, Ballpark Ventures, Doug Scott and Richard Fearn amongst. It is hoped that this concentration of investment capital will help to increase the amount of seed capital deployed whilst reducing the time to raise funding through sharing of information and deals.
Warner Yard is based only a few minutes from White Bear Yard, and close to Farringdon station which currently connects directly to London Gatwick and London Luton airports, and will connect via the Crossrail project to London Heathrow airport. The recently refurbished 18th Century Stables has a total capacity across the four floors of the building of over 150 desks and is expected to house 30 funded companies.
Jon Bradford, Managing Director of Techstars London said, “Finding the right environment for Techstars London has been a priority since our launch. Warner Yard provides both Techstars London teams a great central location being close to both TechCity and also the West End with an awesome environment alongside other seed funded companies for the duration of the programme and also immediate run out period.”
Federico Pirzio-Biroli, Founder at Playfair Capital said, “White Bear Yard taught me the value of a co-working environment. Warner Yard will bring together a collection of early stage capital with a globally respected accelerator alongside Playfair’s portfolio companies and benefit all parties concerned. I believe being able to conveniently visit all three at once will be hugely attractive to external entrepreneurs and create a new hub for both local and foreign investors.”
Raj Ramanandi, Partner at #1Seed said, “The news that Techstars was coming to London was always going to shake up the early stage tech landscape. The first physical embodiment of which is the doors opening at Warner Yard. #1seed felt compelled to forge links with both entities; firstly, investing in Techstars London and secondly, making Warner Yard our new base.”
CaptureProof – The platform through which patients can securely and easily share photos and videos with their doctors.
HIPOM – A cloud-based solution that gives parents total control of the Internet access on all devices in the home.
Nexercise – A mobile app that makes fitness fun through the use of friendly competition, smart alerts and real rewards.
Pathful – A Web analytics platform that captures every visitor interaction with every element on a website automatically, making it easier for marketers and designers to understand visitor behavior.
Peoplematics – A cloud-based search platform that unlocks the data users store in the cloud with intuitive search and sharing across applications.
Project Fixup – A digital matchmaker that fixes people up on fun one-on-one dates.
SimpleRelevance – An analytics-driven email marketing platform that provides customized digital communication for every customer and every message.
SocialCrunch – The marketing data provider presents a new way to unlock the most provocative human insights for brands and their agencies.
Sqord, Inc. – The fitness platform that makes healthy, active play more fun for kids by allowing them to compete and earn points for everyday activities.
TradingView – A browser-based community for investors and traders to share and discuss their ideas.
Recently described as the job hunting child of eHarmony and LinkedIn, Good.Co helps people who aspire for greater meaning in their careers. The company helps users discover their unique personality mix, see how they fit with teams/peers, thrive in their current job or find a better fit. Today, the team finished the Techstars Cloud 2013 program. Let’s catch up with Samar Birwadker, founder and CEO. Try the service here with the access code goodcof&f.
Q: There are a few companies trying to build the same product as Good.co. Was there a personal experience that made you want to get behind the science on company / employee fit?
A: Completely. I took a new job early last year at an advertising agency. They had courted me for a couple of months and I had really done my research about them. A couple of months into the position, I felt like it was a terrible culture fit for me. I came from a strategy background and they were very far over on the creative field side. I wasn’t a good fit for them either. Someone else would have worked a lot better in that position.
Q: So how does Good.co match employees to the right employer or teams? What is the expectation?
A: Gen Y is changing the nature of the workplace. There’s a level of transparency that’s required at work now and you expect a certain level of self-discovery too. Coming from a consumer insights background, what we did was pull our SWAT team together. We have a brilliant psychologist on staff and we worked on creating a fun, engaging, and most importantly, accurate model of testing personality and behavior traits. Within fifteen questions in under three minutes, people can identify their personality archetype and they can also find out how their personalities match with their manager and team with a ‘fit score.’ We can advise them or help them find a job that are going to a solid fit. Using all of their data, we also created open source profiles of the companies too. If you were looking at your next job opportunity, it’s about your individual ambitions and goals. Our idea is to build an open-source culture graph where matching employees to employers is entirely seamless.
Q: Is there a serious market for this?
A: Yes. 46% of all new hires will fail within their first 19 months of employment. That means nearly one out of every two new hires either quits or is fired in less than a year and a half. A failed employee averages the company a cost of $50,000. These employees weren’t necessarily bad people – they were simply a bad fit for the company and the team they were working with.
Q: I think anyone that has been in the working world for a significant amount of time can relate to working at the wrong company.
A: Right. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be that way! We have seven brave souls working round the clock. We have decoded the science behind workplace happiness using 20+ years of empirical research. Our tool is great for the employee, who is more likely to find a job that will become a long-term career. And it’s great for the employer, who will save themselves the time and money associated with bad hiring decisions.