Meet the Seattle Techstars Class of 2015

We’re incredibly excited to introduce the Techstars Seattle class of 2015! We’ve spent the last several months reading applications, interviewing teams, and agonizing over our choices, but we’re finally ready to announce the eleven companies that are joining us here in Startup Hall, starting today.

As in past years, we’ve selected a class that reflects — and is best positioned to leverage — the deepest wells of technical and entrepreneurial excellence here in the Pacific Northwest. The eleven companies selected this year include teams focused on enterprise software and security, gaming and virtual reality, e-commerce and marketplaces, financial services, developer tools and data science. In addition to a strong cohort of local startups, we’re also happy to be welcoming teams from San Francisco, San Diego, British Columbia, Tel Aviv and Hong Kong.

The individual companies in this year’s class are listed below. We’re thrilled to welcome them to the Techstars Seattle community and look forward to keeping you updated on their progress between now and Demo Day.

AtCipher: Cloud security and zero-knowledge key management solutions
Brand.ai: Automatically maintainable UI components style guide
Candy Jar: Your online candy store
DataBlade: Web-based development environment for data analysis
Fish Bowl VR: On-demand usability testing for virtual reality
Giftbit: Accountable, money-back gift cards for business buyers
Innervate: Building massive communities of online gamers
Lightboard: Graphic design on demand
Matcherino: Crowd-funded e-sport matches
Mentio: Your mobile business mentor
ZIIBRA: Simple e-commerce for outstanding entrepreneurs







The Techstars Experience Live from London: Hackajob

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

This post in our series, “The Techstars Experience,” features highlights from weeks one and two of the London program from Razvan Creanga and Mark Chaffey, co-founders and co-CEOs at Hackajob, an online marketplace that matches technical candidates directly with employers. Raz and Mark talk about validating assumptions, growing their business and finding inspiration from other founders.

Re: Stop Working, Start Thinking

We’re sure many startups get into the flow of working, ploughing away at their endless to-do-lists and trying to hit ambitious targets. The month before Techstars we most certainly were. However, this week we’ve been forced to stop working and start thinking. As frustrating as it sounds for hungry founders, it’s allowed us to dive deep into our business and truly understand our competitive advantages. We would strongly recommend every startup founder to do this for at least two hours, once a week. Ask why. Find your biggest assumptions and validate them. Don’t get caught in a repetitive cycle, make sure you’re delivering on your KPIs.

Re: Mentor Madness

This week we met 32 mentors for 20 minutes each. From CEOs, to Product Gurus, to Venture Capitalists, anyone you could possibly want to meet was there. We think this is one of the biggest advantages of the Techstars network and programme; giving you access to minds that would be so hard to meet elsewhere. These sessions provided us insight but more than that, we were surprised at how willing these mentors were to introduce us to more relevant people; from the 32 meetings we had, we now have another 13 setup. One week, 45 new contacts to help us grow our business. That’s the power of Techstars.

Re: Inspiring Stories

Every Thursday we get to listen to stories from founders and this week it was William Shu, co-founder of Deliveroo. We both love listening to successful people, it always inspires us to work that little bit harder the next day (inspiration much needed, as we will discuss next). William’s story was a great one, a former investment banker who decided to solve a problem he first discovered in 2003, with his best friend from his childhood. We found it astonishing that he first had this idea more than a decade ago but no one had successfully executed on it until he started Deliveroo in 2011. It shows that timing is as important as anything and clearly with the rise of mobile, a solution that provided high quality food delivery was needed.

Check out the full post here.

 

Want to apply to Techstars? Check out our Program Schedule and apply today!

 








Funding and M&A Activity Across the Techstars Ecosystem

Congratulations to these Techstars companies that were recently acquired:

  • Fosbury (Austin ‘13) acquired by Verve.
  • Klooff (NYC ‘13) acquired by American Kennel Club.
  • WeDeliver (Chicago ’14) acquired by Deliv.

Also, congratulations to the Techstars alumni companies that have recently received notable investments!

(And, for those of you playing along at home, that brings us to a running total of 73 Techstars companies acquired and over $1.6B raised by our accelerator companies.)

 do DigitalOcean $83M DigitalOcean (Boulder ‘12) raised $83M in Series B funding this past week. DigitalOcean is a simple cloud hosting provider built for developers.
Realty Mogul $35M Realty Mogul (Microsoft Azure ‘12) announced a $35M raise in July. Realty Mogul is a marketplace for accredited investors to pool money online and buy shares of pre-vetted investment properties. Realty Mogul is crowdfunding for real estate.
Imprimir Distil $21M Distil (Cloud ‘12) raised $21M in Series B in June. Distil analyzes web traffic and blocks malicious bots from entering websites.
logo-mark-sketchfab Sketchfab $7M Sketchfab (NYC ’13) raised $7M in funding in June. Sketchfab is a marketplace for 3D files, whether it lies in creating web-sharable 3D files, browsing them, searching specifically, or buying them.
unnamed EcoVent $6.9M EcoVent (Boston ‘14) raised $6.9M in June. EcoVent is a smart, room-by-room heating and cooling system that features a smart HVAC monitoring and control system that eliminates temperature imbalances and cuts utility bills by 35 percent.
 AdYapperLogo_Web1 AdYapper $4.5M AdYapper (NYC ‘13) announced a $4.5M raise in June. AdYapper delivers the team, technology, and data necessary for brands to quickly reclaim losses due to non-working media, and optimize to the media that best drives results.
Zagster_icon_-_small_400x400 Zagster $3.5M Zagster (Boston ‘12) raised $3.5M in Series A funding in July. Zagster provides bicycle sharing systems for the world’s leading businesses and institutions.
Knyttan Knyttan $3M Knyttan (London ’14) raised £2 ($3M) in seed funding in June. Knyttan is a vertically integrated fashion brand whose unique technology allows it to offer more designs and respond to trends faster than any existing retailer.
Get_Ambassador Ambassador $2.35M Ambassador (NYC ‘11) announced a $2.35M raise in June. Ambassador helps companies like Spotify and T-Mobile manage their referral marketing programs. Ambassador creates, tracks & manages custom incentives that drive referrals and evangelize your users.
Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 3.31.02 PM Spoon University $2M Spoon University (NYC ‘15) announced a $2M raise in July. Spoon University is the everyday food resource for millennials. They cover everything from the best local restaurants and simple, unintimidating recipes to how to navigate your first kitchen, all written by people under 25.







Meet the Barclays Accelerator Powered by Techstars Class of 2015

Today we welcome 11 companies into the 2015 Barclays Accelerator in New York! This program is a FinTech-focused collaboration between Barclays and Techstars. Having run two successful programs in London, we are thrilled to expand our presence across the pond to New York, where we will be supporting entrepreneurs shaping the future of financial services and beyond.

This class represents a diverse cross-section of technologies and entrepreneurs with half of the companies coming from overseas to join us in NYC. We are excited to announce a dynamic group of problem solvers working to change the world as we know it!

Cashforce logo black letters floored Cashforce saves money & time of CFOs by generating accurate cash forecasts by processing data from banking and ERP systems.
ChainalysisLogo2 Chainalysis builds the layer of compliance and networking for the future of value exchange on the blockchain.
unnamed Alloy simplifies customer data for financial services companies to help them do KYC/AML more efficiently.
LOTCrop3 Liveoak simplifies financial paperwork through real-time videoconferencing, collaboration, and in session eSignature anywhere/anytime/any device.
Logrr_logo_color Logrr provides password-less authentication for end users and centralised identity management for cloud services for enterprises.
logo OGY creates a safer, faster and more advanced electronic Bill of Lading for the shipping and transportation industry.
Print Remesh is a SaaS platform that uses Deep Artificial Intelligence to allow organisations to quickly gather, rank and filter voting by a crowd.
seeds-XL-green_(1) Seeds builds micro-lending into games, converting free users into paying customers through an ad surfacing during the game.
Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 10.51.25 PM Syndicated Loan Direct provides transactional research for the syndicated loan industry, serving banks, law firms, asset managers and PE firms.
VEQURITY_logo_HT_RGB Vequrity is a cloud-based platform for developing, selling and executing live, hands-on cyber trainings on real systems, ultimately creating a marketplace for security trainings.
Logo-To-Print Wayerz offers a fully integrated digital platform that allows banks and their corporate clients to optimize their international wiring processes.







[VIDEO] Mentor Spotlight: Jennifer Lum of Adelphic Mobile

Today’s mentor spotlight is on Jennifer Lum! Jennifer is the co-founder of and Chief Strategy  Officer at Adelphic Mobile, has been a Techstars mentor since 2011, as well as an investor in several Techstars companies.

Check out this one-minute spotlight video to learn what Jennifer believes is key to becoming a successful entrepreneur.








BBVA Open Talent 2015 Competition

BBVA Open Talent is a startup competition with the goal of identifying the most innovative projects, supporting them, looking for synergy and implementing them. The three concepts that best define the essence of BBVA Open Talent are entrepreneurs, startups and open innovation.

The competition is for entrepreneurs and startups with technological and innovative fintech projects. This is the seventh edition of an international contest aimed for entrepreneurs and startups. BBVA wants to foster innovation in the financial ecosystem, including these topics:

  • Mobile banking
  • Payments and money transfer
  • Consumer Loans
  • Cryptonetworks
  • Alternative loans
  • Risk analysis
  • Investment management
  • Financial inclusion and education
  • Fraud management

BBVA Open Talent takes twenty finalists per region and provides them with an opportunity to present to reputable judges. All finalists will spend the day before the competition interacting with key global BBVA executives and decision makers.

During the immersion course, winners will spend a week in Mexico gaining first hand experience with the LATAM market and international scaling. This is paired with a week spent in London, spending more time with venture capitalists and embracing the local startup ecosystem.

Winners will also have the opportunity to enjoy a unique experience in El Celler de Can Roca with the Roca brothers in the heart of their restaurant and in La Masía, their innovation center.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 13.03.02

Also, the Special Award for Financial Inclusion of BBVA Open Talent 2015 looks for startups with digital financial solutions for low income customers or small business. The winner will travel to Maputo, Mozambique, to pitch their project at the Global Policy Forum in September 2015 and will also participate in the Immersion and interaction program.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 13.02.35
How to apply?
To apply, just follow these simple instructions:
2. Fill in your application, and in question number 43, select Techstars.
3. Done!
Good luck!
For more information, go to: http://bit.ly/OpenTalent15
To see this post in Spanish, click here. 







Meet the Disney Accelerator Powered by Techstars Class of 2015

The printing press. The zoetrope. The cathode ray tube. RSS. The smartphone. Technological innovation has always played a key role in how media is created, distributed, and consumed. As technology grows ever more pervasive in our lives, its application to the world of media and entertainment has likewise broadened.

Today we are excited to announce the 2015 participants of Disney Accelerator powered by Techstars. The ten companies in this year’s program represent a diverse cross-section of technologies, and we are inspired by their visions for the applicability of these technologies in the media space.

Decisive Decisive is a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that uses real time data to enable advertisers to optimize mobile ad creative and targeting based on user engagement.
Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 10.47.55 AM EMOTIV is a bioinformatics company that uses electroencephalography (EEG) to track mental performance, monitor emotions, and control virtual and physical objects with thoughts.
FemLogoBig FEM Inc. has developed a personalized video engagement platform based on neuroscience and psychology that maps the emotional dimensions of how and why content resonates.
Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 10.48.33 AM HYP3R enables businesses and brands to identify influential customers at their locations and engage them in real time, when it matters most.
Logo-ImPerson imperson provides an artificial intelligence platform enabling fans to have conversations with their favorite movie and TV characters.
Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 10.51.58 AM Littlstar aggregates industry leading virtual reality content with its device agnostic discovery and distribution platform.
makielab-logo MakieLab lets kids bring toys to life by building their own customizable 3D-printed toys through creative games and apps.
Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 10.54.08 AM Open Bionics  is a robotics company creating affordable 3D-printed bionic hands for amputees, researchers and makers.
PunditLogoBig Pundit lets creators host audio Ask Me Anything (AMAs) with their Twitter network, transforming the talk radio experience for the social media age.
statmuseLogoBig StatMuse is developing an artificial intelligence platform to help sports fans explore data using simple, natural language.







The Techstars Experience: Wonders’ Story

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 The Wonders’ Team.  Wonders is a visual narratives app for the most amazing hand-picked stories about outdoor culture.

Here are a few highlights from their recap of the Techstars Austin 2015 program.

wonders-5210-1

Re: The Value of Mentorship

It was both humbling and motivating to get to meet all these people who had been in the trenches before and knew exactly what mistakes we were about to make. Their wisdom and guidance provided us with the strength to do more–and to do more faster. They pushed us to strive for great things, to stand up when we fall, and to brush off the dirt and keep going. Most importantly, they made us believe in the significance of what we were doing. This mentorship-driven approach is one of the key pillars that makes Techstars one of the best startup accelerators in the world.

Melemetns_Wonders-149

Re: Techstars Community and Network 

Techstars gave us a family in the last 3 months that we’ve been in Austin, TX. We’ve learned how valuable it is to affirm our peers, both in the things that they do and in the wisdom that they impart. A lot of the people that we were surrounded by helped us somehow in some form, in big and small ways. For that, we will be grateful for a long time. This is just the beginning for most of us, but Techstars is for life.

Melemetns_Wonders-101

Re: The Road to Demo Day

The last month of the program, we started gearing up for Demo Day and preparing our investment collateral for those companies that were fundraising. Yes, it was a lot of work. Yes, tensions were high. However, it was the time when we most felt the impact of these formed relationships. During this tough stretch, it was then that everyone freely gave more insight, countless advice, and unending encouragement. We were all in the same boat, and at this point, nothing mattered more than to support each other and nail Demo Day.

Melemetns_Wonders-178-1

Check out the full story here.

Want to apply to Techstars? Check out our Program Schedule and apply today!








Mentor Spotlight: Tom Chikoore

It is time to show off another one of our amazing mentors in the Techstars network! Meet Tom Chikoore, Director of Techstars Risingstars.

Check out this short clip on Tom’s journey to Techstars and the success of the Risingstars program. 

Learn more at http://www.techstars.com/risingstars/.








Barclays Accelerator Demo Day London 2015: Embracing FinTech Disruption

FinTech in London is incredibly hot right now. As our second cohort takes the stage today, it is clear the innovation in financial services is coming from all angles, the existing problems are extremely painful, and the opportunities are huge.

At the same time, the vast number of partnerships announced with Barclays and other banks indicates forward-thinking players are embracing the disruption. Financial services incumbents are responding to the new entrants with more than just an idle curiosity, and many startups are learning how to partner with key stakeholders in order to create a larger footprint.

Looking at our ten fintech companies you might notice three Blockchain startups, eight B2B companies, five founding teams from overseas… but there is only so much that can be quantified and I can hardly put into words never-mind numbers the amazing people that make up these companies and the smiles, sweat, and occasionally tears that represent the last three months. It has been an intense journey and no doubt will continue to be as the tectonic plates of the finance industry continue to feel their impact.

We are incredibly proud to present the Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars – London Class of 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.25.06 PM Atlas – Mobile banking for the developing world.
      Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.25.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.32.45 PM BaseStone – BaseStone reduces costs and major errors  from occurring on construction projects – effectively lowering risks to both the project and the capital employed.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.25.29 PM Everledger – Everledger provides an immutable ledger for diamond identification and transaction verification for various stakeholders, from insurance companies to claimants and law enforcement agencies.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.25.46 PM Godesic – Godesic’s Cutover platform reduces the risk and cost associated with critical enterprise IT change events.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.25.54 PM LiquidLandscape – LiquidLandscape is a just-in-time visual analytics environment that provides ‘360-degree instant replay’ for your data to support better, faster, and reproducible decision-making.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.26.00 PM Origin – Origin is a digital marketplace directly connecting fixed income investors with large corporate borrowers in the bond market.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.26.10 PM Post-Quantum – Post-Quantum protects the world’s information by enforcing data confidentiality, authenticity and access control for now and the future.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.26.16 PM Ravelin – Ravelin provides real time fraud detection for e-commerce.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.26.27 PM Safello – Bitcoin spending platform, which has already enrolled over 20,000 users across Europe.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.26.34 PM
Stockfuse – Stockfuse is a revolutionary candidate evaluation and talent development platform, employing gamification technology to bring skill-based recruitment to the financial services industry.