Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Bryan Menell has hosted the InnoTech Austin Beta Summit since 2008

Bryan Menell has hosted the InnoTech Austin Beta Summit since 2008

Four up-and-coming startups pitched at the Beta Summit at the InnoTech Austin Conference Wednesday. The one that made the biggest splash was Atlas Wristband, a Techstars company with a wearable tech wristband that measures several different exercises including bicep curls, squats, shoulder presses, tricep extensions and more. It recognizes what exercise you’re doing, measures the number of reps you did, your heart rate while doing it and tracks it all so you don’t have to write it down.
According to CEO Peter Li, the team is still working on the software to include recognizing the amount of weight you’re lifting. Li said that, since form is important, the band can track your wrist motion in three dimensions and make calculations on improving form. Wearers will also be able to go on the site and see what other people with similar body types have done to improve their health or physique.
The Atlas team had several audience members who volunteered “I want one!” immediately after their presentation.


Toopher, a two-step identity authentication security system that ties the GPS on the customer’s smart phone with financial transactions, can be automated so that once you log in, it will automatically verify transactions. If, for example, money is being withdrawn from your bank and your phone GPS doesn’t register you at the bank, it will notify you on your phone and verify that the transaction is legitimate. The app can also lock down your accounts when you’re at home or sleeping so that no transactions can be made at those times. Toopher CEO Josh Alexander announced Wednesday that the company has also added purchases to the phone so that you can approve a certain amount of purchases to be made at particular vendors—such as your favorite pizza place—so the purchases automatically go through up to that limit.
The Toopher app is free for consumers but monetized through enterprise businesses that use it. So far, Alexander said, eight million consumers use the app.


myCampusTutors also demoed its service that lets parents hire online tutors from colleges in the U.S. to help students with one-on-one tutoring sessions. The sessions are videotaped so that parents and teachers can review them later, if desired. Every tutor goes through a vetting process including a discipline test and a pedagogical piece wherein the tutor does a session with another tutor who has been vetted.
So far, said Erin Ostboe, vice president of operations, they’ve done more than 2,000 tutoring sessions. Sessions cost $22 for a half hour, $40 for an hour. Parents can buy a block of sessions which lowers the price. The company, which is in the Capital Factory incubator, has raised $775,000 and is looking to close out its initial round of funding.


ServaBid is a company that lets consumers and service providers create bids for tasks using video. If a homeowner has a home repair project, said founder and CEO Will Scott, he or she can take up to two minutes of video describing the task and post it on ServaBid for free. Providers in the area can see the video and make a bid on the project, including their own videos of completed projects. Customers accept bids and pay through ServaBid’s Stripe which takes a percentage of the transaction but doesn’t store the customer’s credit card information. For smaller businesses, Scott said, this is a much less expensive way to get the word out about their businesses than many expensive marketing and PPC campaigns.
If customers prefer, they can use the “incognito” feature and only send out a request for bids to certain providers without going on the Servabid public site.
Currently the app is only available on iPhone and iPad but Scott plans to have it available on other systems soon.
Bryan Menell, who has hosted the event since 2008, said he receives dozens of applications and solicits input from the incubators, investors and asking “what’s out there that’s cool?”
“I’m looking for new technology that’s fresh, so I want this to be the first look at these companies or even an established company with a new technology…. They have to be in that right window of time to wear mature enough to demo but everybody hasn’t seen it,” Menell said.
In the last three years there’s been a huge shift toward mobile as well as wearable tech and security products.