Eight startups to watch from Demo Day in Austin

Mason Arnold of Greenling pitches its healthy grocery delivery service


A gaming company, weather site and even an organic grocery delivery service pitched their startup companies at the Capital Factory’s Demo Day in Austin last week.
In an afternoon session, 17 entrepreneurs fast pitched their ventures on stage at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center to other entrepreneurs, investors and the media. Here’s my top eight:

Apptive – Chris Belew, an experienced entrepreneur, founded the site, which allows anyone to make a mobile phone app easily without having to know how to code. Prices start at $300. The company is signing up re-sellers to market its services. Its customers include attorneys, chambers of commerce and small businesses. The company is looking to raise $500,000 in the next three months.

The Daily Dot – Nick White, co-founder and CEO, worked for the traditional newspaper industry for years, but saw a new opportunity online. “People live their lives online,” White said. But the media didn’t get that memo, he said. They still cover the Internet like an industry and not like a community, he said. That’s the sweet spot for The Daily Dot, which bills itself as the hometown newspaper of the World Wide Web. “It’s the paper of record for the Internet,” he said. “It covers what happens online.”

Forecast – Rene J. Pinnel, the CEO of Hurricane Party, was a 2010 Capital Factory finalist. The company created an app called Hurricane Party, which it introduced at the last SXSW Interactive. Forecast is the company’s latest app. The app launched eight weeks ago and has 27,000 users in private beta testing right now. With the app, users broadcast their plans to friends. The company is raising $250,000 in seed funding and has about half of the money already committed.

Greenling – Mason Arnold, one of the founders, wants people to eat healthier to save their lives. He created an online shopping and grocery delivery service in Austin and San Antonio with more than 5,000 customers. The company plans to expand to Houston and Dallas next year. “The food system is changing,” Arnold said. “It has to change and Greenling is here to save the day.”

Infochimps – Dhruv Bansal, one of the founders, created a marketplace for data. His two-year-old data services company aggregates and sells data sets. He also made news at the event with the announcement that Infochimps acquired another Capital Factory finalist from 2010, Keepstream, a social media curation site.

Loku – Dan Street, the founder, wants people to plug into the local scene. His company provides information on local establishments from coffee shops to bars and provides graphics and maps and reviews. The company is raising $1.5 million in its first round of venture capital funding.

Ricochet Labs – Rodney Gibbs, a seasoned entrepreneur, founded Ricochet Labs to encourage people to play more games. The company created a gaming platform called Qrank, which lets people play a question and answer trivia game. “We make it easy for anyone with content to make mobile games out of that content,” Gibbs said. The Texas Tribune, Kirkus Review and others are currently using the game to engage and reward their readers.

Stormpulse – Matt Wensing, founder, wanted better storm tracking data for his family. So he wrote some software and created Stormpulse in 2006. He lives in Jupiter, Florida, which is in Palm Beach County. The site now has all kinds of big companies as customers like FedEx, Disney, IBM and JetBlue. The companies need the most accurate weather information to run their business. In addition, government agencies like NASA and the Navy use StormPulse, but Wensing said he was totally blown away when he was eating his breakfast cereal one morning and he got a call from the White House. The White House situation room uses Stormpulse to keep track of pending storms. Wensing’s currently seeking funding to expand the site.

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