Techstars LA 2017 Recap

Last week marked the end of the first Techstars LA program, which wrapped up with Demo Day at the El Rey Theatre in mid-Wilshire. The first class of Techstars LA was built on a #LongLA thesis, with 9 of the 10 companies headquartered in the area. We also looked for founders with a combination of courage and coachability, addressing large markets with a big vision.

Last week the teams presented to a capacity crowd of investors in invite-only morning sessions and to a mix of investors and community members at the Demo Day event at the El Rey. I’m thrilled to present the ten companies from Techstars LA 2017.

Please get in touch if you’d like to connect with any of the companies or feel free to reach out directly.

Avisare

founders@avisare.com

Avisare is a marketplace simplifying the multi-trillion dollar B2B contracting industry through process improvement and automated regulation compliance. Our mission is to foster an inclusive ecosystem to level the playing field for all small businesses to compete for contacts.

Founder and CEO: Sky Kelley & Head of Customer Success: Anthony Vu

Blue Fever

founders@bluefevr.com

Hollywood is ignoring badass millennial women. Blue Fever is a video discovery service where young women watch movies and series made and curated by people just like them. Blue Fever talks to young women like a best friend and reaches them where they already are: messenger.

Founders: Lauren Tracy, CEO and Greta McAnany, COO

DirecTech Labs

founders@directechlabs.com

DirecTech Labs uses AI to power its “behavior engine” for the $183B direct selling industry.  Our system is currently helping customers ($500M and $1B companies) engage and retain direct sellers around the world as we work to turn this unsung industry into an even more powerful complement to e-commerce and retail.

Founders: Michel Bayan, CEO and Jordan Zommick, CTO

Heartbeat

founders@getheartbeat.co

Heartbeat is a marketing automation platform backed by 125,000+ female consumer brand ambassadors. We have created a turn-key affordable solution for small & medium sized businesses that allow them to engage consumers to create user-generated content on their personal social channels at scale that accomplishes key marketing objectives.

LIV

founders@liv.tv

LIV is powering spectator experiences for VR that allow the audience to better relate with the action. Our proprietary technology puts real people inside digital worlds and broadcasts that experience to the world.

Founders: Cix Liv, CEO and AJ Shewki, President

Maslo

founders@maslo.ai

Maslo builds digital companions to enhance your wellbeing. By building technology to function as we do – with an understanding of emotions, social skills, and psychology – we can all become better people, together with technology.

Founders: Ross Ingram, CEO and Cristina Poindexter, COO

Playfull  

founders@beplayfull.com

PlayFull has a mobile game and CRM that helps the largest restaurant brands in the world engage customers and increase sales. Partners include Subway, Chick-fil-A, Denny’s, Coffee Bean and more.

Founders: Patrick Lu, CEO, Zhuping Hu, COO and Alex Hesselgrave, CTO

Slingshot Aerospace

founders@slingshotaerospace.com

Slingshot is building the next generation of signal processing AI.  Slingshot customers worldwide make high-value decisions utilizing insights based on earth observation data, the world’s largest untapped data source.  This allows customers to reduce cost, improve competitiveness, and operate more efficiently – leading to better business results.

Founders: David Godwin, CEO, Melanie Stricklan, CSO and Thomas Ashman, VP Product

Solutions Vending International (SVI)

Solutions Vending International (SVI) is an automated retailing technology company that makes vending machines intelligent through consumers data and analytics. We help retail brands, vending machine manufacturers, and operators learn more about their customers by offering them customers to create accounts and engage with their machines like never before.

For more information click here.

Founder & CEO: Dawn Dickson

Stackin’

founders@startstackin.com

Stackin’ is a millennial finance company that helps over 3 million monthly users improve their financial fitness through digital video programming and intuitive tools.

Founders: Scott Grimes, CEO & Kyle Arbaugh, President








Introducing the Inaugural Class of Techstars LA

We are excited to announce the ten companies that will be joining the Techstars Los Angeles Accelerator for the 2017 program, which kicks off today and concludes with Demo Day on October 10.  

We had a simple thesis for Techstars LA this year: going long on LA and southern California. Our hunt for great companies was focused on the rapidly expanding local startup ecosystem. Outreach activities took our team from Pasadena to El Segundo, from Santa Barbara to San Diego and everywhere in between.

One-third of the eventual applicants were based in SoCal.  Throughout the selection process, we have been impressed with both the breadth and depth of talent in the LA area. Of the companies we ultimately selected, nine are local to southern California.

Our class also reflects the diversity of Los Angeles. Half of the class includes a female co-founder, including three female CEOs, as well as diversity across a number of other dimensions. These teams are building great companies in e-commerce, media, retail, enterprise data, aerospace, AI, marketing and esports.  

Techstars is the Worldwide Network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. It’s worldwide, but also local, and we called on our local network for great referrals. We would like to thank LA investors Taylor Adams, Jesse Draper, Arlan Hamilton, Mark Mullen and Robyn Ward for referring companies that will be joining Techstars. Many others supported our search and we are very grateful; we can’t be successful without your support.  

Techstars LA joins two other programs here in Los Angeles: the Techstars Music Accelerator and the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, Powered by Techstars. We are excited about Los Angeles’ vibrant tech scene and, most of all, thrilled to announce the ten companies joining Techstars LA:

Avisare

Avisare is the centralized network for all businesses to discover new contract opportunities, post their own, and bid on all opportunities using one universal profile.

Blue Fever

BLUE FEVER is a futuristic Netflix for millennial women focused on mood curation and community. The platform connects millions of fans with the best entertainment they haven’t seen yet – and the creators who make it.

DirecTech Labs

DirectTech labs uses machine learning and chatbots to help engage and retain millions of (75% female) direct selling micro-entrepreneurs around the world.

Heartbeat

Heartbeat is a marketing automation platform backed by 100,000+ female brand ambassadors.

LIV

Liv is a full-stack hardware + software solution that powers 6 degrees of freedom Mixed Reality (MR).

 

Maslo

Maslo builds technology companions to make better humans.  

Playfull

PlayFull is a marketing platform that helps the largest restaurant brands in the world engage their next generation of customers with games.

Slingshot Aerospace

Slingshot provides extensible access to geo-enriched insights through our sensor-to-decision software platform. Fueled by advanced machine learning and computer vision algorithms, our technology optimizes and automates the complexities of object classification, event discovery, change detection, and risk scoring for Insurance and Defense.

Solutions Vending International

SVI is an automated retail technology company providing software solutions for intelligent vending. We make vending machines smart.

Stackin’

Stackin’ champions financial fitness for all millennials by educating, informing and entertaining across relevant social platforms.

 








Demo Day: Techstars Music (Los Angeles)








Office Hours: Techstars LA (Santa Monica)

Who: Startups looking to apply to Techstars LA

What: Office hours

When: March 16

Where: Santa Monica, California

Details: Click here to register for office hours!








Info Session: Techstars LA (Santa Monica)

Who: Startups looking to apply to Techstars LA

What: Info session

When: March 16

Where: Santa Monica, California

Details: Click here to register for the event!

 

Join Techstars Los Angeles for an Alumni Panel and Q+A Session. This is a great opportunity to learn more about Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator programs, meet the teams, and hear from our alumni companies.








Info Session: Techstars IoT & Techstars LA (San Diego)

Who: Startups looking to apply to Techstars IoT and Techstars LA

What: Info Session

When: March 9

Where: San Diego

Details: Click here to register for the event!








Office Hours: Techstars Los Angeles (San Diego)

Who: Startups looking to apply to Techstars LA

What: Office Hours

When: March 9

Where: San Diego, California

Details: Click here to register for office hours!








Live Webinar: Applying to an Accelerator (Online)

Join us for a live, interactive Ask Me Anything session to get all your questions answered about applying to an accelerator program! We’ll go over tips for your application, how to best show your product and team, and anything else you’ve been wanting to know!

Answering your questions:

  • Anna Barber, Managing Director of Techstars Los Angeles
  • Michael Cohn, Managing Director of Techstars Atlanta, in partnership with Cox Enterprises

Techstars currently has applications open for 12 programs around the world. Join us in this AMA to learn more and get your application ready by April 9th.








Office Hours: Techstars LA (Los Angeles)

Who: Startups looking to apply to Techstars LA

What: Office hours

When: March 8

Where: Los Angeles

Details: Click here to register for office hours!








Info Session: Techstars LA (Los Angeles)

Who: Startups looking to apply to Techstars LA

What: Info session

When: March 8

Where: Los Angeles

Details: Click here to register for the event!

 

How much should you raise, when and from whom? What are the pros and cons of equity funding from angels, VC firms, crowdfunding and bank lending? Each panelist will share her own fundraising experience and the group will discuss the current funding climate and how to navigate it to get the capital you need. Hour discussion to be followed by refreshments and networking.