Techstars Introduces Its First Austin Class

By SUSAN LAHEY
Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Techstars will introduce its inaugural class in Austin Monday night, August 19th at 6:30 at Capital Factory. Announcing its first Austin program in May, Techstars has reviewed applications from more than 850 companies and chosen ten.

  • Filament Labs build patient tracking and compliance software around mobile health, behavior tracking, and behavior change. One of its consumer products, HealthSpark, was 1 of 30 hand-selected apps within Aetna’s CarePass initiative.
  • MarketVibe (founded by the Whoosh Traffic team at Capital Factory) uses customers web analytics and shopping cart data to teach companies how to get more traffic, leads and sales.
  • Fosbury is a cross-platform digital wallet solution for designing, managing and analyzing campaigns on Apple Passbook and Samsung Wallet. Fosbury ensures retailers and other that their customers always have loyalty cards and coupons with them and provides a new way to interact with customers.
  • Atlas Wristband takes a new approach to wearable technology in the fitness industry. Atlas combines top talent from Johns Hopkins University, Phillips Healthcare and Maxim Integrated Products.
  • AuManil helps Online Retailers identify, manage and grow their most valuable customers – and create more of them. It enables shopper-facing agents to engage high value customers based on behavioral profiles and predictive insights. These targeted, personalized engagements lead to increased revenues, high retention rates, and better customer satisfaction.
  • Ube: controls lights and appliances from a smart phone, inexpensively. The company’s Wi-Fi enabled Smart Dimmers, Smart Plugs and Smart Outlets are competitively priced, easy to install, and provide the convenience of controlling your lights from your smartphone from anywhere in the world.
  • ProductGram: allows online sellers to extend their store from one outlet to many. Currently in development for Etsy sellers, the mobile app will push an attractive listing, not just a third party link to drive more product views to increase sales via other channels, with checkouts happening wherever engagement happens.
  • Testlio: opens a network of mobile testers to developers needing every last bug uncovered. The company has created tools for software testing that use real time chat, integrate issue reports into their existing systems, and do daily/weekly testing based on the customers own release schedule.
  • Accountable: streamlines and simplifies HIPAA compliance by providing a suite of tools and resources for firms, from necessary agreements and policies to risk assessments and employee training. All required pieces are tracked for completeness and time-sensitive expiration, with monitoring and alerts maintaining compliance. Audits are as simple as printing out a report and all requested information.
  • ProtoExchange: is a cloud-based network of professional 3D printing services that allow businesses to source the production and material capabilities of the network in a scalable, cost-effective, and time-efficient manner.

Brandon Marker, analyst with Techstars Austin, said the accelerator went through every one of the applications and wound up sitting down with 40-50 teams either in person or on a video call. Techstars has a very specific list of criteria. For example, Marker said, they tend not to accept single founders because “It’s very difficult to control and manage everything going on in the TechStars program while you’re growing, building and managing your business at the same time.”
Matt Ford, a spokesman with Techstars said the criteria boils down to: “Team, team, then idea. We’re looking for talented, passionate co-founders with a nice balance of skills.”
Techstars is a 13 week program with a demo day at the end of October.
“The difference (between Techstars and other programs) is going to be our approach to mentorship and growing community within Austin,” Marker said. “The mentors have a very natural, organic connection to the company. There’s no pay, no incentive. It’s just do you want to meet with them? Do you want to take any of them on beyond the initial meeting?”
Techstars recruited 90 mentors among serial entrepreneurs, investors and others. Each of them met with Jason Seats, managing director of the Techstars program in Austin, during the selection process. The companies’ goals vary depending on where they are in the development of their companies.
“They’ll have focused long term vision,” Ford said.
“We’re pushing them to a stronger, more meaningful business model,” Marker said. “When they’re done, they will clearly know what their business is, who their client is and how they want to push that growth.”

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