Tag: Aceable

Aceable Expands its Mobile Drivers Ed App into California

imgres-3Aceable launched its mobile app to teach teens to drive in California this week.

The Austin-based startup reported as of Tuesday teens between the ages of 15 and 17 and a half years old can now fulfill their 25 hour classroom requirement on Aceable’s mobile app. The Aceable app is available for iOS and Android smartphones.

Aceable first launched its mobile phone app to teach teens to drive in Texas in 2014. The company created all of the curriculum for the lessons from scratch. They wanted to provide fresh, funny content like videos and memes to appeal to a teen audience. The app also allows parents to track their child’s progress.

“The rapid adoption of our mobile drivers ed apps and web courses illustrate teens are hungry for innovation, in an outdated industry,” Blake Garrett, CEO of Aceable, said in a news release. “With California being the birthplace of tech innovation it was a no-brainer to make it our next target market.”

Earlier this month, Aceable closed on $4.7 million in venture capital to help fuel its expansion nationwide. Its goal is to be in all U.S. states that allow online drivers ed by the end of 2016. The company has more than 100,000 users in Texas and Florida.

Driver Ed and Defensive Driving go Mobile with Aceable’s Phone App

Reporter with Silicon Hills News
unnamedWhen Gretchen Deveaux needed to find a driver’s program for her 17-year-old son, she signed up for Aceable.

“I needed something that was flexible,” she said. “My son is a football player and he is always at practice. I couldn’t take him back and forth to a class.”

So her son enrolled in Aceable’s program and passed a test to get his permit after 12 lessons.

Deveaux, a widow with five children in Houston, liked the program’s flexibility, price and convenience. She’s got a 15-year-old son who is also taking the Aceable driver’s education course. Austin-based Aceable created the first driver’s education program available for mobile phones as an iPhone app.

“He always has his cell phone with him,” Deveaux said. “He just kind of flew through it. I liked that I could check on his progress on my phone.”

Her son has his permit now and he should be eligible at the end of this month to take his driver’s test.

Aceable launched its driver’s education app a year ago, said Blake Garrett, its CEO and founder. The startup, based at Capital Factory, has raised $1.1 million in venture capital and has 12 employees. They created the videos, tutorials, graphics, animations and other materials for their driver’s education courses. This month, Aceable launched a defensive driving course. The native app, Defensive Driving by Aceable is available on iOS and through the Aceable website to all Texas drivers as an alternative to classroom-based and web-based defensive driving courses.

Every teenager takes a driver’s education course, but the experience fell short of what teenagers expected, Garrett said

“I knew we could deliver something different,” he said.

Since Aceable launched its driver’s education program in May of last year, 30,000 people have signed up for it, Garrett said. The program costs $100 and it particularly appeals to teenagers who constantly have their mobile phones with them, he said. The driver’s education program contains 32 hours of instruction and students are limited to two hours a day. After the first six hours, the student is able to get their driving permit.

“It’s just a modern take on what has become an antiquated industry,” he said.

Aceable is only available in Texas but the company has plans to expand to other states this year, Garrett said. Still, they are tackling a big market in Texas with 600,000 people taking defensive driving each year and 300,000 taking driver’s education.

Aceable’s biggest online competitors are the American Safety Council and IDriveSafely.com. But Aceable differentiates itself from the competition by offering an iPhone app and by creating its own program content.

Andrea Kalmans, an angel investor, entrepreneur and mentor at Capital Factory, took Aceable’s defensive driving course after getting a speeding ticket. She liked the app’s convenience and ease of use.

“It really allows you to do it in relatively short stints,” Kalmans said. “I did it when I was having my hair done.”

She also liked the course content.

“The course is fun because they have a nice sense of humor,” she said. “They take what can be dull content and they make it interesting.”

After she completed the course, the company mailed her certificate to her within a few days.

“It’s funny how learning has changed from the classroom to videos to the desktop and now to a phone,” she said.

Dan Henry, an angel investor in Aceable, liked the idea and business model.

“I really bought into Blake, the founder,” Henry said. “He’s the kind of guy I believe that has good idea, good business sense, good ego and the tenacity to make it a success.”

The Aceable team is transforming an industry with great content and they are making it a lot easier for the student, Henry said. They plan to roll out the mobile driver’s education program to 23 other states and then they may branch into other mobile online education program, Henry said.

“I think they’ve created some great tools,” he said.

Four Austin Startups Win the Regional 1776 Challenge Cup

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Aceable, Water Lens, Spot On Sciences and Reaction Housing were the four winners of the 1776 Challenge Cup Competition held at Capital Factory Friday night. The four will be flown to Washington D.C. to compete against the winners from 15 other global cities for a chance at a $150,000 prize.
1776, a new incubator in Washington D.C., began with the idea of supporting the most promising startups in highly regulated industries, said Melissa Steffan, a 1776 staffer. “We’re looking for companies that are doing amazing things in industries that are notoriously hard to work in,” she said. Those industries include education, health, energy and smart cities. The Challenge Cup was launched only six months after the co-working space opened.
Austin was one of 16 global startup hubs chosen by the incubator. Other cities involved in the challenge include London, Sao Paulo, Moscow and Beijing. Twenty seven local startups competed.
Evan Burfield, one of 1776’s cofounders, said that in many ways, the startup world was its own global community. “Everybody’s talking about the same things and they all speak English,” he said. “You’ll hear a guy with a thick Russian accent saying ‘We need to pivot.’” In Austin, he said, he was struck by the spirit of collaboration and support, how startups all seemed to want to help each other. By the same token, he said, “Austin’s out to win. The judges in there were all talking about who can we send who will win the championship.”
Aceable won in the education department. The company has developed native mobile gaming apps for online courses that are normally considered very dull—including driver’s ed. Mobile apps are how young people function now, said founder Blake Garrett. Aceable courses are “enjoyable, personal, attractive and fun.”
The company has submitted its first course to the state for approval. It also intends to produce courses for older drivers, defensive driving students and corporate training. Right now though, they’re going after teen drivers.
“ A lot of education companies can’t articulate: Who is your user, tell me everything about them, about who is going to buy your product,” said founder Garrett.
Spot on Sciences won in the health category. The company, which has developed a product that lets people in remote areas take, store and mail blood samples without degrading the quality of the sample, has become crucial in areas like rural Africa, especially for HIV testing in infants and new mothers and the Western Isles of Scotland where diabetes is common and access to a clinic or lab is nonexistent.
“From a quarter size splat of dried blood, you can do 30 or 40 different tests,” said Dr. Jeanette Hill, founder of Spot On Sciences.
Water Lens won in the energy category. This company has a simple, fast method for testing water that has been used in hydraulic fracturing. Many companies are reusing water from one well to the next, said founder Keith Cole. But there are certain elements the water may contain that will make water unsuitable for reuse and may even clog up wells permanently. Testing the water and waiting for results is a laborious process that requires some knowledge of chemistry.
These test strips can be dipped in the water and give the results of 12 tests in a couple of minutes.
Right now, Cole said, he doesn’t know of anyone doing anything similar, but they must be out there. In response to a question by judge Mark Murdock he answered “My scariest competitor is someone I don’t know who is doing the same thing…and we need to get there first.”
In the smart cities category, the winner was Reaction Housing. This company creates temporary housing for victims of natural disasters refugees and others who suddenly have no place to live. Typically, said founder Michael McDaniel, it takes FEMA 90 days to set up temporary housing. In the meantime, people live in church basements and gymnasiums, if they exist.
Reaction Housing systems were inspired by the stackable coffee cup. They are light enough to be moved by hand, include power and can be stacked and transported so that a whole community can be set up at once.
McDaniel said the company is not only looking at emergency housing but also temporary housing for field work—such as a new oil field opening up and many workers flooding in—and for events, like ACL and F1.
The judging panel included Josh Baer, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Capital Factory, Bob Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet and professor of innovation at the University of Texas at Austin, and Kevin Callahan, co-founder of MapMyFitness. As for 1776, they were thrilled with the judging panel they had: “This is actually one of the most distinguished judging panels we’ve had,” said Steffan.
Capital Factory offered free coaching for the winning companies before they go to Washington in May.

17 Startups at Capital Factory’s Demo Day

imgres-2During Austin Startup Week, Capital Factory held a Demo Day for more than 100 investors, according to Joshua Baer.
The event featured 17 Austin startups.
“It’s always one of my favorite days of the year,” Baer wrote in his weekly Startup Digest newsletter.

The following startups presented at the event:

Aceable – the startup makes mobile educational software for the test prep market, professional education maket and the corporate training market.

Equipboard – a platform to track what products celebrities are “using, wearing, likeing and endorsing.” It also features special feeds so people can track the latest gear from celebrities and people they like.

eRelevance – software that helps healthcare providers engage their patients and schedule appointments.

First Cut Pro – has created video editing software for the cloud that allows people to collaborate during the post-production and editing process online.

ihiji – “offers a software-as-a-service combined with low-cost palm-sized on-premise device enabling an IT professional to efficiently detect, diagnose, and resolve network problems from anywhere in the world.”

LaternCRM – “TeleForce, simply put, is a web-based Customer Relationship Manger (CRM) that enables small to medium sized businesses to manage, organize and track their prospects, current and past customers and synchronize their business processes across their entire team.”

Local Plant Source – “The Local Plant Source platform connects the commercial landscaping industry. Vendors list and track their inventory and share plant knowledge online. Designers build sustainable projects with sourceable plants through localized searches. Easy sharing with Contractors eliminates unexpected costs during build-out. Throughout our platform we collect, analyze, and share data necessary to ensure our clients have all the tools to compete in the modern economy.”

Loop and Tie – built a platform to give a meaningful and personalized gift. “Loop & Tie combines the flexibility and speed of sending a gift card without sacrificing the impression of a hand selected gift. Our site shifts the decision of product selection to the recipient; simplifying gifting for the customer while maintaining the personal touch.”

ManagerComplete – makes operations management software to manage multipole remote retail locations.

myCampusTutors – a platform that connects tutors to students in an interactive, online setting.

MyTennisLessons – “the online marketplace for tennis instruction, customers can compare pre-screened coaches, schedule online, and pay for tennis lessons in their local area.”

NuHabitat – a search platform that provides consumer with access to “MLS” data previously only available to real estate agents.

Pictrition by Loop Health
– a health care platform that builds products to help people live more healthy lives. Its first product is Pictrition, an app that lets people take pictures of their meals and earn points for good nutrition.

Pristine – developing Google Glass applications for surgeons.

Real Massive – it’s building free commercial real estate search software.

Vivogig – “Tying brands to fans, bands and festivals through crowd photography.”

Tom Cheredar with Venture Beat did this story on the Capital Factory Demo Day with more information on startups that are enrolled in the Capital Factory accelerator.

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