Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Angel Investor Gary Forni

Angel investor Gary Forni Wednesday called Austin Startup Week “Austin’s preeminent event for early-stage startups… I wouldn’t miss it,” he added. Forni, with the Central Texas Angel Network and the Austin Technology Incubator was among roughly 400 people to attend the Startup Bazaar, hosted by Tech Ranch and RISE Austin at The Stage on Sixth Street.
Nineteen companies had demo tables, including Divert-X, wireless monitoring of prescription drug dosage; Springcreek Systems, a partner which developed a standalone cloud applications to automate and prioritize Customer Relationship Manager data deduplication; Alpha Cares, an online software suite for child care center management; Isthislost, which provides anonymous email and SMS communication between someone who loses something and someone who finds it, and Axelo, a patented 3D motion sensing technology.
Throughout the day, 11 companies also pitched to investors including, a site to connect people with work and services that includes a rating service and earnable tags,, a provider of social media intelligence for enterprises, Itography, which lets advertisers market products with a mobile scavenger hunt and Engine, which lets users retrieve texts, documents and social content from their Gmail accounts.

Alex Cox-Cuzzi, engagement manager for Tech Ranch

Alex Cox-Cuzzi, engagement manager for Tech Ranch who planned the event, said the companies who pitched were all interviewed and auditioned prior to the event and chosen for their readiness to pitch.
“We were looking for the companies that are up and running, they’re out there in the market but haven’t gathered the attention they deserve,” Cox-Cuzzi said. Companies who applied were all early-stage companies so there was a fairly level playing field.
Ben Bazzrea, vice president of business development at Balderdash, which produces mobile apps, websites and design, said the one big problem with the event was that each demo table only had one representative who could actually speak to visitors about the company or produce they represented. If that person was busy, he pointed out, “Other people aren’t going to wait. They just walk away.”
Part of the problem was that, instead of booths, each demo company only had a tiny standing bar table—big enough for a couple of pints, a couple of elbows and a basket of chips. The bazaar theme was chosen to introduce a more casual feel to the event. Frequently, Cox-Cuzzi pointed out, pitch events are formal and stressful. Having it at a bar on 6th Street lightened the atmosphere.