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April, 2012

Feeling like a proud father

This week GiveForward won the gold in the Edison Awards for social impact.  For those of you not already familiar with the Edison Awards, here is how they are described:

“The Edison Awards have been recognized as America’s innovation awards that take the time-tested characteristics of innovation from earlier visionaries and write a new chapter in American innovation history.”

Write a new chapter in America innovation history” – That is exactly what GiveForward is doing.  They are proving that you can run a profitable business while having significant social impact.  GiveForward empowers friends and family to send love and financial support to patients as they navigate a medical crisis. Desiree and Ethan have been more committed and more passionate about their mission than just about any other entrepreneur I have ever met, and it shows in their results and in the number of people they have helped.  It has been amazing journey to watch, and it has only just begun!

Filed under: Company Blog Post,Status Updates — Tags: — April 28, 2012

Tribune announces the class of 2012

Tech incubator Excelerate names class of 2012

By Wailin WongTribune reporter5:00 a.m. CDT, April 25, 2012

Chicago-based business incubator Excelerate Labs unveiled its third class of startups on Wednesday, announcing a slate of 10 companies that includes international participants.

The incubator also said it is moving its three-month program to 1871, the flexible office space for digital companies that opens next month on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart. Excelerate will be an anchor tenant at 1871, which can house about 400 entrepreneurs and  has space for seminars and networking events.

Each of the 10 startups will receive $25,000 from Excelerate in exchange for a 6 percent equity stake. Local investment firm New World Ventures also kicks in $50,000 in convertible debt for each participant. The program brings in more than 100 mentors to help the companies build their businesses, improve technology, raise capital and in other areas. The three months culminate in a “Demo Day” at the end of August, when the startups give presentations to  fellow entrepreneurs, investors and members of the local technology community.

Excelerate CEO Troy Henikoff said the program saw a 50 percent increase in applications from 2011. Many graduates of the previous two classes have gone on to raise additional funding, expand their staff or …   Read Entire Article


Filed under: Excelerate in the News — April 26, 2012

TechCrunch covers Excelerate’s class of 2012

Here is what TechCrunch said about our incoming class this year – by the time Demo Day comes around, they will not only understand what Lasso does, but they will be loving it!  Full Article

Filed under: Excelerate in the News

Wall Street Journal – BabbaCo and WhimseyBox!

Who knew that the Wall Street Journal was so on top of things?  The day we announce the new companies for our class of 2012, they ran a great article that included both BabbaCo (class of 2011) and WhimseyBox (class of 2012) – Awesome.  Read the entire article here.


Filed under: Excelerate in the News

Excelerate Labs Goes Global with 2012 Class!

Excelerate is proud to announce the ten companies selected for its 2012 class. This year’s intake highlights Excelerate’s increasingly global reach, with companies hailing from India and France, as well as California, Massachusetts, Florida, and Texas. In addition, four local, Chicago-based start-ups will be joining the summer program to round out this year’s diverse mix.

“The success of the graduates of Excelerate’s first two classes proves that our model works,” said Troy Henikoff, Excelerate’s CEO. “The 2012 class brings more diversity in geography, technology, and business model than we have had before. Given that we received 50% more applications than last year, I am thrilled to see what this class accomplishes.”

Excelerate Labs today also announced a new home for its program in partnership with 1871, Chicago’s new digital startup center. 1871, which opens its doors next week, features co- working space for around 400 entrepreneurs, office space for leading venture capital firms, classroom space, and partnerships with leading universities.

The ten companies selected for Excelerate’s 2012 class are:

71lbs – Helps small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) save money on shipping through data analytics, allow SMBs to easily understand their parcel shipping spend and make better shipping decisions for the first time. Clients recover an average of 4-6 percent of their shipping fees.

Cureeo – Offers original and limited edition artwork to collectors and novice art enthusiasts without the hassle of personally hunting through physical and online gallery to find that perfect piece. The company provides background about the artist and their work as well as education on how and why to shop for fine art. Customers can share their taste preference s and design needs then receive a selection of artwork options handpicked for them by one of Cureeo’s art specialists.

Fibroblast – Helps solve three big, interrelated problems in US health care: shrinking margins, convenient access and need for preventive care. The company solves these problems by providing patients with the ability to self-schedule appointments anytime and anywhere by using a cloud-based calendar; by automating appointment notifications; by providing analytics tools for providers to optimize their practices; and by creating a network of interconnected providers to seamlessly refer patients.

frintit – Acts as the “adsense” of the physical direct mail world by allowing direct mail advertisers to intelligently target a consumer based on their interests. Using a combination of web and mobile data, frintit offers everyone from small business owners to large corporations a direct mail platform to reach the right customer.

Moxie Jean – A new subscription service that delivers right-sized baby clothes that customers exchange as their baby grows so busy parents don’t have to spend a ton of time and money keeping up with fast growing little bodies. Moxie Jean delivers bundles of ready-to-wear clothing on request, washed in environmentally-and- baby friendly detergent.

Lasso – Lasso hails from an uncharted land
where friends freely gather with the whip of a hand,
where plans manifest in a couple of clicks,
so friends can greet faces, not profile pics.

And the more these friends wrangle the easier it gets
to do things together without breaking a sweat.

So think now of those who you like to see most,
for the day you can wrangle them is ever so close.

Orbeus – An advanced computer visual recognition engine that enables computers to perform face detection and recognition, logo and product recognition, optical character recognition, and scene understanding.

Pictarine – Centralizes photos from all online services including Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and Twitter. Pictarine automatically organizes photos as timelines, backup the best photos, share favorites with friends and help discover new photos.

SpotHero Acts as the “Orbitz” for parking spots. The company works with some of the largest parking operators in the country to make discounted parking available to customers by helping drivers get the parking spot that they want.

Whimseybox – A subscription service for the DIY and craft community. Every month the company ships customers craft product samples, helping to rediscover crafts with a fun and beautiful reminder to express their creativity. Users can visit the company’s Project Gallery for inspiration and ideas or upload and share their projects with the Whimseybox community.



Filed under: Status Updates — Tags: , — April 25, 2012