BG4gEkbCIAATVbeClose to 70 people turned out for the eighth SA New Tech meetup at Geekdom in downtown San Antonio Tuesday night.
Cole Wollak, SA New Tech founder, kicked things off by having everyone introduce himself or herself to a stranger.
That got the room talking.
Then Luis P. Gonzalez, CEO and co-founder of ParLevel Systems, a vending machine monitoring service, gave the first pitch.
The startup has created a software and hardware solution that allows vending machine owners to remotely monitor their machines and keep track of the best selling items and which items need restocking.
Right now, because a vending machine owner has to guess at which products to stock they can lose money on expired or unsold products. With the Parlevel System, the company estimates that vending machine owners can increase sales by 20 percent and reduce inventory waste by 40 percent. It also sends out alerts when machines are broken and lets the owners know why the machine is not working.
ParLevel Systems received a $25,000 investment from the Geekdom Fund last year. The San Antonio-based startup joined the TechStars Cloud program in January. The company is part of the “Internet of Things” movement in which everyday objects are wired and connected to the Internet, which allows people to monitor and operate them remotely.
The ParLevel team includes Walter Teele Vera, co-founder, and Rafael Barroso, co-founder.
Next, Roberto Rondero de Mosier and Nathan Roach, co-founders of Greenhouse, an equity-based crowdfunding portal, pitched their startup. They’re seeking to solve the problem many startups face when they go to look for funding and can’t find any.
Currently, less than 10 percent of viable startups can find seed stage or venture capital funding, Mosier said. That’s because only 5 million to 7 million people nationwide are accredited investors. An accredited investor is someone with a high-networth that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has approved to invest in companies.
But last year, President Obama signed into law the JOBS Act, which allows for equity-based crowdfunding. The only problem is the SEC regulators have not yet issued rules that allow the crowdfunding portal to begin accepting investments from unaccredited investors. When that happens, ordinary people can invest in startups through Greenhouse. Right now, Mosier and Roach are signing up both companies looking for funding and investors looking to finance them. When the SEC rules are approved later on this year, they will begin allowing the companies to fundraise.
Lastly, Alex Devkar, co-founder of Conspire, pitched his company’s software that connects to your email and analyzes the strength of your relationships with your contacts. It also lets you easily contact other people within your extended network. Email is the largest social network, Devkar said.
“Conspire tells me who I am losing touch with,” Devkar said. “And how to keep my network strong.”
Conspire is also a TechStars Cloud company. Paul McReynolds is the other cofounder. Both Devkar and McReynolds graduated from Stanford with computer science and engineering degrees respectively. They also graduated from UCLA Law School with law degrees and Devkar also has an MBA.
Conspire has 100 users signed up beta testing its product. Those 100 users have an extended network that reaches 603,934 people. Conspire is a powerful networking tool and is the source to understand how people can be reached, Devkar said. It’s more effective than LinkedIn, he said.