Posts Tagged ‘

Companies’

TechStars Chicago’s class of 2013

Entering the fourth year of the program, and the first as TechStars, we are excited to announce this year’s class.  Selection was difficult as we had to narrow the 904 applications down to 10 companies to admit.  We conducted over 225 interviews, had hours of debating, and cannot wait to get to work with the new class.

Getting more twice as many applications as we had last year is a clear signal that this program is continuing to earn respect of entrepreneurs everywhere and that Chicago is becoming a leading destination for developing technology companies.

Here is a quick run down on the 2013 TechStars Chicago class:


CaptureProof – Is a platform for patients to securely and easily share photos and videos with their doctors.

 

HIPOM – Gives parents total control of Internet access in the home on a device-by-device basis. The cloud-based solution makes it as simple as a light switch to turn individual devices on and off and even set timers to control them automatically.

 


Nexercise – Mobile app that makes fitness fun through the use of friendly competition, smart alerts and real rewards.


Pathful – Web analytics platform that captures every visitor interaction with every element on a website automatically. Makes it easier for marketers and designers to understand what users are really doing on their site.

 


Peoplematics – The easiest way to search for emails and documents stored in the cloud using your smartphone.

 


Project Fixup – Digital matchmaker that fixes people up on fun one-on-one dates.


SimpleRelevance – Analytics-driven email marketing platform that provides customized digital communication for every customer and every message.


SocialCrunch – The new way to unlock the most provocative human insights for brands and their agencies.

 


Sqord, Inc. – Makes healthy, active play more fun for kids by allowing them to compete and earn points for everyday activities.


TradingView – An online community for investors and traders to share and discuss their ideas.

 

 

 

 

Filed under: Status Updates — Tags: , , — April 25, 2013

Overview of Excelerate Labs – Summer 2012

We just posted a new video on the home page and wanted to share it here as well.  Julian from Indirap Productions did an amazing job on filming and editing and deserves a ton of credit.  Take a look and see if you agree!

 

Excelerate Labs overview from Excelerate Labs on Vimeo.

Filed under: Status Updates — Tags: , , — November 11, 2012

What does it mean to be a “coachable” entrepreneur?

I spent this summer as a CEO leading a startup through Excelerate Labs. We underwent a pretty major pivot during the summer, a pivot that probably saved our business.

I think people misunderstand what happens inside this program. They hear its leaders say that entrepreneurs must be “coachable.” And when they hear me explain how we changed our business model, they put these two facts together and say things like “Oh, so did Excelerate tell you to make that change?”

Uh, no. They didn’t. Nobody inside Excelerate Labs tells you what to do. Truly, sometimes I wish they did. It would have been a lot easier.

But in fact what happens is that they ask questions, they provide tools, and they point out problems and force you to confront holes in your business model or your pitch. Then you have to find a way forward by listening to your customers, interpreting a mess of data and making intuitive decisions.

When we found a way through to a successful and more scalable business model, I learned to tell the story of our decision-making in a way that seems logical, linear and even obvious. But this is hindsight talking.

And with the same wisdom of that hindsight, what I think they really mean by “coachable” is a difficult balance between “sticking to your core identity” and “humble and open to other perspectives, ideas and criticisms that can make your company better.”

Because there will be mentors and investors who just don’t get what you are about. For us, it was those who suggested that we change our business from re-using gently used kids’ clothing to just shipping cheaply-produced new clothing straight from the manufacturer. I learned to say to those folks “I’m certain that would be a very successful business, but that’s not the business I am trying to build.” I was determined to stick to my guns on the core values of reducing parents’ consumption and helping them reuse great kids’ clothes.

And then there will be those who get the core but still challenge the execution of your idea: how you are marketing it; how you are defining your customer; what those customers really want from you. One mentor from IDEO said to me “Is your approach really the best way to solve this mother’s problem of constantly replacing her kids’ wardrobe?” I was too scared at first to seriously entertain the question, because it had the potential to blow up our whole business model. But it was exactly this question that led us to the changes we needed to improve and survive. People who can frame those tough questions are incredibly valuable, and being coachable means listening to them.

“Coachable” doesn’t mean young, it doesn’t mean inexperienced and it doesn’t mean easily influenced. It means being open-minded–but not so open-minded that your brains fall out.

Filed under: Company Blog Post,Status Updates — Tags: , , , , — October 12, 2012

Food Genius Helps Food Industry Understand Trends with Big Data Tools

Food Genius entered the crowded market of dish recommendation apps last year, using big data to revolutionize the way people discover restaurants and dishes. At the time, the startup’s focus was on getting (scraping) as much menu-level data as possible, which they parsed by ingredients, preparation methods, spices and other aspects of a dish, and then combined with a user’s personal preferences and reviews shared on other websites. The company was still exploring business models, but knew that collecting and combining data about what, when and where their users were eating could offer invaluable insights to anyone from consumer packaged goods companies (CPG) to mom-and-pop restaurants, CEO Justin Massa told me in an interview last year. And now, they’re releasing their first related product for businesses…

Read entire article on Forbes.com

Filed under: Excelerate in the News — Tags: , — October 5, 2012

Highlights from Demo Day 2012

Excelerate Demo Day 2012 brought over 500 investors, mentors, and entrepreneurs together for a day of pitching and high energy. Check out the highlights here.

Tickets are still available for the Community Showcase tomorrow (Tuesday the 18th)! If you want to see this year’s class present their pitches lives, make sure to get your ticket before they sell out.

Filed under: Events,Status Updates — Tags: , , — September 17, 2012