By SUSAN LAHEY
Reporter with Silicon Hills News
With more than 500 people in attendance there was a line out the door for Capital Factory’s event: The 10 Best Startups in Austin. Several of the companies were high-tech takes on low tech problems. For example, Weeva was created when founder Kim Gorsuch thought her father was going to die.
“We realized we would lose more than him, whe would lose his memories and his stories and that was a big part of our personal history.” Weeva lets many people in a family or friend group—anyone invited—share stories around a person or experience. Anyone invited into a private group can log onto Weeva and tell his or her part or version of a story. Weeva can even collect the stories and bind them into a book.
Local Plant Source helps professional farms that grow landscaping plants who usually have to bulldoze $6 billion worth of plants every year because landscape designers have no demand for them and they have no mechanism for selling the plants directly to consumers. Founder Andy Fletcher said Local Plant source lets buyers find and purchase plants, streamlines delivery services and allows farms to sell, rather than destroy extra plants.
Loop & Tie has transformed corporate gift giving. The company targets huge gifting organizations which might include property managers, who give large quantities of gifts, many of which are commoditized and not all directed to a recipient’s taste. With Loop & Tie, the company can send a gift and the recipient can either receive the gift or choose from other selections in the same price range (without ever knowing how much the giver paid).
NuHabitat gives home buyers something they’ve wanted for decades: access to the Multiple Listing Service. Founder Jeff Burke said that on other home listing sites it takes a week or more to update listings, by which time the home could have sold—in a hot market like Austin. So many of the homes listed are no longer for sale. Plus, there’s inside information that previously only agents had access to. With NuHabitat, agents can pay $50 a month and offer the full MLS to customers with only their information, rather than information from several different agents. And it’s updated every 10 minutes.
Rail Yard helps connect businesses with the best telecom services for their businesses. It is used by commercial real estate companies to provide added value in finding the right business space.
Other companies included Aceable, which offers mobile driver’s ed courses that cost a fraction of what traditional driver’s ed courses cost. Founder Blake Garret said the company has designed the platform flexibly to move into other verticals as well as moving into the global education market. Cratejoy which provides solutions for subscription e-commerce companies—think Dollar Shave Club—such as customer rebilling that ‘s flexible and subscriber address verification. Famigo provides a safe place for kids to play on smart phones and tablets without seeing inappropriate materials or wandering into e-commerce sites or a parent’s social media. Mahana, provides a comprehensive solution for restaurants and customers including tracking customer preferences and alerting customers to wait times at various restaurants. And Spokefly, the Airbnb of bicycle rental.