Texas Venture Labs Fall Expo Showcases New Startups

By LAURA LOREK
Reporter with Silicon Hills News

IMG_4756The Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs at the Univerity of Texas at Austin showcased 12 Austin startups and three Alumni companies at its Fall 2014 Expo last Friday.

The companies presented in three different categories with the consumer products and services startups kicking off the event at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. The other groups included software and technology and biotechnology and medical devices.

“With the expo today, we’re helping companies raise money,” said Rob Adams, director of TVL. The program doesn’t offer any venture capital but 40 percent of its 102 companies have raised money.

Out of the audience of 300 attending the expo, about 75 of them were investors, Adams said.

To date, companies participating in the program, which was founded five years ago, have raised $240 million, Adams said. TVL takes about a dozen companies every semester for its accelerator.

Ten Acre Organics made a lot of connections through the program, said Michael Hanan, the company’s co-founder with Lloyd Minick. The company is building a 10-acre farm as a model that can be copied in other cities. The farm uses aquaponics in which fish and vegetables are grown together to create a zero waste farming environment.

Ten Acre Organics is raising $600,000 and is also applying for $600,000 in U.S. Department of Agriculture funding, Hanan said. They are planning to spend the money on expanding from a 1,000 square foot greenhouse to a 10,000 square foot greenhouse. They also want to expand to 10 acres on the edge of the city limits for their model farm. They participated in the Unlimited USA incubator as well as TVL.

BeehiveID, an online identity verification platform, enrolled in the Texas Venture Labs program to tap into its research capabilities to help the company gather data on its market size, said Mary Haskett, the company’s CEO and co-founder. BeehiveID is also part of the Austin Technology Incubator. It is also a graduate of the Techstars Seattle program.

“I knew the program had a group of really sharp MBA students, law students and engineering students, and all kinds of students in a variety of disciplines working on stuff and it’s free so to me it would be insane not to apply,” Haskett said.

Texas Venture Labs extends an open invitation to any startup in Austin to apply, so why not, Haskett said.

Share is a credit card that allows people to earn money to give to charities with each purchase. Cardholders can track and see the tangible result of their donations through its app and online platform.

The TVL program helped the early-stage startup refine its business plan, said Stephen Garten, its founder.

“They just really helped us with market validation,” he said.

Texas Venture Labs also brings in a lot of successful entrepreneurs from Austin to give talks to the startups. Larry Warnock of Gazzang and Cotter Cunningham with RetailMeNot gave great talks, he said. The company will also be participating in South by Southwest Interactive’s social good pitch next year.

The other companies participating in the TVL Fall Expo included:

Omganics – a startup founded by two mothers that makes wipes and other organic products for children.

RunTitle – a big data startup for the oil and gas industry which provides a database of mineral title research.

DRAFT – formerly known as Hrvt is an online portfolio management company that uses aggregation and crowd source technology.

Inkscreen – has created Photolink, a secure high-resolution photo storage and sharing app aimed at companies, particularly regulated industries such as insurance, government, energy, healthcare and defense.

Predictalytics – a market intelligence platform for the electricity industry to give power providers the ability to predict prices.

Silexta – this startup has developed patented technology to prolong the life of Li-ion batteries, which are used in electric vehicle applications.

Macromoltek – has created software that provides antibody modeling and analysis tools for drug manufacturers.

Vigilant Devices – the company has created a new system to track drug dosages in hospitals to eliminate waste and theft.

Onko Solutions – a new non-invasive medical device to screen and detect cervical cancer in women.

ENTVantage Diagnostics – has created a diagnostic test to diagnose bacterial sinusitis and differentiate it from viral sinusitis. The test is similar in nature to the rapid strep throat test administered at many doctors’ offices and clinics.

Alumni Presentations:

TeVido BioDevices – is using 3D bio-printing of a women’s own cells to build custom grafts for breast cancer reconstruction.

NutureMe – has created a new category of baby food.

Equipboard – is building the world’s largest database of artists and the gear they use.

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