Oksana Malysheva, co-founder and CEO of Sputnik ATX at its Demo Day in Austin.

Sputnik ATX, an Austin-based accelerator, held its second Demo Day last week featuring presentations from the five startups in its latest cohort.

The invite-only event for accredited investors was held at Sputnik ATX’s offices in downtown Austin. The companies gave 15-minute presentations followed by questions and answers.

“They are all awesome,” said Oksana Malysheva, co-founder and CEO of Sputnik ATX. “They have become better entrepreneurs and companies through this process.”

Sputnik ATX has begun accepting applications for its third cohort in Austin. It is looking for Texas-based startups that have some traction and at least one paying customer. The startups selected for the program receive $100,000 investment from Sputnik ATX and undergo an accelerator program which includes mentoring and coworking space at Sputnik ATX’s downtown office. Applications for the third cohort close Christmas Day and Sputnik ATX will announce the new class in January. It accepts four to six companies.

In August, Sputnik ATX launched the Texas Startup Bible, a free online platform for current and aspiring entrepreneurs. The site features content developed by Sputnik ATX as well as curated content vetted by Sputnik ATX, to provide a centralized resource of information for startup founders.

In September, Sputnik ATX also struck a partnership with the University of Texas at Austin. It will host one UT Austin student with every cohort, and it is making a version of its curriculum available online and tailored to UT Austin students.

The latest cohort accomplished quite a lot during the program and several found product-market fit and saw a lot of revenue growth, said Joe Merrill, partner and Chief Financial Officer of Sputnik ATX. Sputnik ATX looks for maker-founders that are highly driven and focused on customers and revenue, he said.

This is a recap of the presentations from the five startups in the latest cohort:

AI Maps

First up, AI Maps, an oil and gas pipeline asset management startup, presented its platform that uses proprietary software to detect and track corrosion and other problems on a pipeline, so companies can fix it before problems occur.

AI Maps provides the first line of defense for oil and gas companies to make sure their oil and gas assets are operating effectively, said Deke Wright, co-founder, and CEO.

Wright and his co-founder Justin Thatcher have spent their careers in corrosion detection. The systems in place today are antiquated and do not adequately provide real-time information, Wright said.

“We’re building a system that just doesn’t suck any more because that’s what we are dealing with today,” Wright said.

AI Maps launched in April in Phoenix at an international corrosion trade show. In the coming months, the company plans to ramp up sales, increase marketing, bring development in-house and complete the four core features of its platform.

AI Maps has commitments for $650,000 revenue in its pipeline right now, Wright said. It’s working to complete its minimum viable product to enter pilots with Anadarko, Magellan, Phillips 66.


Next, Travis Brodeen, co-founder of Newchip, presented its marketplace for alternative investing.

Newchip is not an equity crowdfunding platform. Instead, it aggregates the best deals from a variety of equity-based crowdfunding platforms in one place for non-accredited investors to invest in deals $100, $500 or $1000 at a time, Brodeen said. Newchip has been called kayak for funding, Google for Startups, and Kickstarter for investing, he said.

“From my lens, angel investing is broken,” Brodeen said. It’s an inefficient process that wastes a lot of time, he said.

“This leads to what I call the tragedy of innovation,” Brodeen said. “A lot of good ideas die on the vine.”

Newchip has 120,00 users, 25,000 weekly sessions and has listed 1,500 investment deals and helped to facilitate $1 million in revenue in the market, Brodeen said.

Newchip makes its money from deal listing fees, commission on investments, exchange transaction fees, data analytics and partners. It seems the equity crowdfunding market growing rapidly from $600 million in 2016 to $1 billion in 2017 and $2 billion in 2018 and projected to grow to $130 billion by 2021.

Brodeen is a co-founder and Chief Technology Officer and Ryan Rafols is founder and CEO.

Newchip has raised $2.6 million in funding including $650,000 over two and a half months on in equity crowdfunds on WeFunder.

Newchip is using that capital to launch its Newchip fund, exchange, and it’s also focusing on growth marketing and the Security Token Offering, known as STO, Market, Brodeen said.

“We believe early next year there will be massive awareness of this opportunity,” Brodeen said.


Kim Roxie, the founder of LAMIK Beauty, presented her startup which is creating a vegan, non-toxic cosmetics line for busy professional multicultural women.

“Women of color spend nine times as much on beauty products,” Roxie said.

And 64 percent of women of color prefer natural beauty products, Roxie said. It’s a $7.5 billion market she’s tackling.

And Roxie knows the market firsthand. Previously, she ran a brick and mortar makeup store in Houston with $5 million in sales. Her clientele included celebrities, business moguls and Congresswomen.

“This is not just a bright idea, it’s tried and true,” Roxie said.

LAMIK is free of the BS, full of authenticity, Roxie said. In November, the company is launching a celebrity brow kit. She has 6,600 women signed up on a waitlist for the product. By this time next year, LAMIK will have a full cosmetic line including foundation, lip gloss, and other products, Roxie said.

LAMIK expects to have $1.5 million in revenue within 12 to 18 months, Roxie said. Its plan is to go e-commerce, direct to consumer, but Roxie also plans to do retail pop up shops too.


Jacob Bernstein, the founder of ZenYala, presented his software platform for organizing and hosting better meetings.

The software is available as an iPad app, Android and Web apps as well. It helps people organize for meetings before, during and after.

The software is designed to structure meetings, allow participants to act, reduce inbox overflow and provide organizational memory.

The software integrates with Zoom, WebEx and Skype for Business and other programs. It also integrates with Gmail, Outlook, and Slack.

ZenYala is available as a subscription product. It costs $1,250 for a team of 50 every month or $13,000 a year, Bernstein said.

Save them time and preparation, drive to a decision quicker, save time on follow-ups and more things get done, he said.

ZenYala spun out of BoardMaps, which sold $5.3 million in Europe to companies to organize board meetings. ZenYala reaches a much broader market aimed at corporations, educators, government agencies, healthcare institutions, nonprofit agencies and more.

Every year, companies waste an estimated $728 billion worth of time in meetings for companies with more than 100 employees, Bernstein said. Executives in the US spend 23 hours per week in meetings, 71 percent of meetings are ineffective, he said.

Next year, ZenYala plans to reach 100 companies with the existing product $120,000 in monthly recurring revenue. It just launched and already has $35,000 in revenue in four weeks, Bernstein said.


Michael Barnes, the founder of TeacherTalent, presented his software as a service platform that allows schools to recruit and hire teachers.

This year, 500,000 of America’s teachers will churn out of their schools, Barnes said. That’s 16 percent of the overall workforce, which creates an $8 billion problem, he said.

The single most important school-based factor in student achievement is the teacher, Barnes said.
“Job boards are dead,” he said. “You don’t get a job from a job board.”

TeacherTalent mines data on teachers and salaries from Freedom of Information Act requests on the nation’s 3.7 million teachers in public schools. Already, the company has 58 school districts in 10 states as customers.

The schools pay a monthly fee to generate warm leads and they can also add on additional services in the last 90 days, TeacherTalent has generated $185,000 in monthly reoccurring revenue, Barnes said.

It launched its pilot project in March of 2015. It started a private beta in June of 2017. The company also participated in the Techstars accelerator in the fall of 2017. It projects monthly reoccurring revenue of $2 million by 2020.