By LAURA LOREK
Reporter with Silicon Hills News
Damian Nowak, the CEO of Virtkick, clearly embraced the Texan life during his last three months in San Antonio participating in the Techstars Cloud program. He relocated here along with Damian Kaczmarek and Mirek Wozniak from Poland. They are also experts in cloud computing.
“The cloud computing market is still in a gold rush today,” Nowak said during his pitch.
The web hosting market is worth $20 billion annually and the big guys only have half of the market. The rest is divided up among 50,000 small and medium providers who lose money because of outdated and expensive software, Nowak said.
Virtkick does “for the hosting industry what Shopify did for e-commerce,” Nowak said. The company created a software as a service product aimed at small to medium-sized web hosting companies that makes it easy for them to manage their customers.
Already 10 customers are using Virtkick’s product.
Virtkick was one of ten startups that pitched at Techstars Cloud Demo Day Thursday afternoon at the Aztec Theater in downtown San Antonio.Blake Yeager, managing director of the Techstars Cloud, introduced the teams on stage along with other staff and mentors. One team, Nebulab came from San Antonio. Another, bitfusion.io came from Austin. The rest were from all over the country and world.
This is the third Techstars Cloud class in San Antonio. The first program took place in 2012 with 11 companies and the next year another 11 startups participated in the 2013 program.
The Techstars Cloud program provides each startup with $18,000 in funding for a 6 percent stake in the company and access to $100,000 convertible note, a loan that converts to equity and can make the equity stake higher.
Of the 11 startups that went through the 2012 Techstars Cloud program, four startups have shut down. Vidmaker announced its team’s plan to join YouTube and shut down its site in January. Emergent One, CloudSnap and Appsembler are out of business. Callisto.Fm is now Epic Playground. Conductrics, Keen.IO, Distil Networks, TempoDB, now TempoIQ, Flomio and Cloudability are all still in business.
Of the 11 2013 Techstars Cloud companies, all of them are still in business. And Rackspace acquired Techstars Cloud startup ZeroVM.
The 2015 Techstars cloud class spent the last three months in offices on the 10th floor of the Weston Centre, the former site of the old Geekdom co-working space.It was a space familiar to the team behind Nebulab. The company spun out of a 3-Day Startup Program in San Antonio and last year the Geekdom Fund invested $25,000 in them. Nebulab is based at Geekdom. The company is currently in private beta testing. It has created a platform for research scientists to store and manage scientific data and papers.
“Researchers today have better software on their phone to manage their photos and their music than they do to manage the data necessary to cure disease and to improve the human condition,” Guillermo Vela, CEO and Co-founder, said during his pitch for Nebulab.
Today, research data is not just inaccessible but it gets lost, Vela said. Nebulab is the solution scientists need to keep their data secure and accessible, he said.Shai Wolkomir, CEO of Elasticode, a team from Tel Aviv, Israel, pitched the startup, which collects data about a person’s mobile phone usage to create mobile experiences tailored for them.
“The world doesn’t need another A/B testing platform. This is audience adaptive software and we are Elasticode,” Wolkomir said.
Josh Kerr, a serial entrepreneur from Austin and a long-time Techstars mentor, introduced Fantasmo Studios, a company that does augmented reality games.
“I have never been this excited about a company as I am about the technology you are about to see,” Kerr said. “This stuff is super cool. They are literally taking stuff in the fantasy world and shaping it into reality.”Jameson Detweiler, CEO and Co-Founder of Fantasmo Studios, announced the company has created an augmented virtual reality game called Blanimals that is similar to Pokémon. It lets kids capture creatures in real life on their phones, iPads or tablets.
Craig Murphy, training manager with the InterContinental Hotels Group, flew in from Atlanta to introduce Callinize. He’s a customer and he’s happy with them.
“Everyday Callinize helps my team better manage our hotels,” Murphy said.Blake Robertson, CEO and Co-Founder of San Francisco-based Callinize, sales software, said the company is already booking $13,000 a month in recurring revenue. Last month, the company booked $30,000 in revenue and was “accidently profitable,” Robertson said. Callinize makes it easy for companies to connect their existing phone system to their existing Customer Relations Management software. It has more than 100 customers already using its software.
“Callinize makes sales people smart,” Robertson said. “We unlock the opportunity that is trapped inside your CRM.”
Appbase.io has created database management software to handle search queries from mobile apps.
“Every tenth of a second in added delay costs the ecommerce industry $30 billion annually,” said Siddarth Kothari, CEO and Co-Founder of Appbase.Card Isle lets people pick and print a unique greeting card from a kiosk in less than 90 seconds, said Adam Donato, the company’s Co-founder.
The company gets its card designs from local and national artists. They upload their designs to the company, which makes them available to all the kiosks.
The company has built ten kiosks and printed more than 5,000 greeting cards to date, Donato said.
Stabilitas provides tracking software on employees and lets employers know what risks they face when they travel to foreign countries.Military veterans who spent decades in the security space run the company.
“Let’s make the world a safer place together,” said Gregg Adams, Co-founder of Stabilitas.
Knowtify is an engagement marketing platform that helps software marketers. It has a custom engagement algorithm that lets marketers know who is engaging with their brand and who is not.Knowtify gives marketers the ability to send marketing emails from one place.
Bitfusion.io has created specialized software that brings supercomputing performance to a variety of hardware devices to allow them to run any kind of application, said Subu Rama, Co-Founder of the company.
The Austin-based company announced a partnership on Thursday with Rackspace. The terms of the partnership were not disclosed.