Tag: Lightphile

SAPitch Provides an Informal Setting for San Antonio Startups to Pitch to Investors

Founder of Silicon Hills News

The Walkingspree team at SAPitch

The Walkingspree team at SAPitch

One of the big problems in growing San Antonio’s technology startup industry has been lack of access to capital for entrepreneurs.

The Geekdom Fund has provided $25,000 to a handful of tech startups in the earliest stages of their companies, but the real need comes with follow on funding in larger amounts ranging from $250,000 to a few million.

The solution might well be found in groups like the newly created SAPitch. The organization, headed up by Michael Girdley and Cole Wollak, brings together entrepreneurs and angel investors in an informal setting for lunch. Everyone buys their own meal and four startups pitch their companies before investors.

On Wednesday afternoon, Storific, Walkingspree, HighNoon and Lightphile presented their companies to investors at Café Commerce in the downtown library.

Walkingspree, a seven year old company with revenues of $2.3 million last year, already has 80 corporate clients and more than 44,000 registered members for its software as a service platform for digital health. The company has created a physical activity program aimed at corporations looking to increase the health of their employees.

Walkingspree CEO Hiran Perera said the company has created its own Bluetooth-enabled device called the “Inspire.” The watch-like device tracks steps, calories, time, distance and goals.

The company’s platform also incorporates other activity trackers like the Fitbit. With customers like Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Mercer Total Health Management and Texas Health Resources, the company is on track to top revenues of $3.4 million this year.

The company has been bootstrapped so far with one angel investment, Perera said. It’s looking for a strategic investor to develop and Android-based product and further expand its sales and marketing.

Kyle Cornelius and Zachary Stovall, co-founders of Storific, pitched their app-based business that allows consumers to order food via their mobile phones from restaurants and skip the lines. The company recently relocated its headquarters from Paris, France to Geekdom in San Antonio with six employees. They are looking to raise a seed stage round of investment to further develop and market Storific.

HighNoon, which has been in business about eight weeks, wants to bring the custom barn buying experience online. It is already selling a couple of barns a month but plans to create a platform for customers to buy a new and efficient barn tailored to meet their needs, said Pegy Brimhall, one of the founders along with Sonja Howle and Alex Guerra. It was seeking seed stage funding.

David Barrick and Logan Butler, co-founders of LightPhile, pitched their lighting control device to manage an entire concert lighting experience with an iPad. The company received a $25,000 initial investment from the Geekdom Fund. It’s looking for additional funds to finish developing its software interface for the iPad and hardware device.

We Walk and Others Pitch at San Antonio New Tech

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Estrella Hernandez presenting We Walk at San Antonio New Tech

Estrella Hernandez presenting We Walk at San Antonio New Tech

At Alamo Heights Junior School, Estrella Hernandez, 13, came up with an idea to get students moving.

She learned in sixth grade health class about the obesity epidemic in San Antonio and the city’s growing population of people afflicted with diabetes, a chronic disease associated with being overweight.

Hernandez said she wanted to create a solution to encourage kids to get fit. Her brainchild is We Walk, a mobile phone app designed to track kids movement like a pedometer. It also provides them with rewards for completing quests, or walks.

Hernandez presented her startup at San Antonio New Tech Tuesday night at Geekdom, a collaborative coworking space downtown aimed at fostering more startups. She was one of four people to present at the event, which takes place every month to showcase the city’s latest technology ventures.

We Walk’s program includes different types of quests, or walks including personalized quests as well as historic quests in which kids can earn double points for answering questions at the end of the walk. It also includes City Quests that tie into city-sponsored events like Siclovia, an event in which the streets are closed to encourage biking, walking and other activities.

We Walk has received initial funding from the 80/20 Foundation and SA2020. Sweb Apps in San Antonio is developing We Walk’s app, which Hernandez hopes to launch at Siclovia in two weeks.

A similar program on the market already is MapMyWalk, a mobile phone app that tracks walks, developed by MapMyFitness, an Austin-based startup recently acquired for $150 million by Under Armour. The company also makes MapMyRun an MapMyRide.

Hernandez also worked on We Walk’s website during the summer at VentureLab’s program for girls. She also worked closely with Geekdom mentors during the past two years to develop her idea. She’s now an ambassador with the Mayor’s Fitness Council.

David Barrick, co-founder of We-Walk presenting at San Antonio New Tech

David Barrick, co-founder of LightPhile presenting at San Antonio New Tech

David Barrick, the co-founder of LightPhile, focused on the stage lighting industry, also presented his hardware and software startup.

LightPhile has created a software interface for the iPad that communicates with its custom hardware device to control the entire concert lighting experience. The total cost is $500 for the iPad and $500 for hardware device. Customers can program lighting sequences into the software and then simply hit play to control the lights throughout a concert or presentation.
“It’s not complex at all,” Barrick said.

Barrick, a UTSA Electrical Engineering sophomore, has three years iOS development experience and his co-founder Logan Butler, who attends Baylor University, has experience in the lighting industry.

Also at San Antonio New Tech, Ryan Beltran, founder of Elequa, a water purification startup, also gave some information about Clean Tech Open, an accelerator and competition. He participated in the program last summer and he’s encouraging more San Antonio startups to apply to be part of it.

Lastly, one of the founders of Crmsyn pitched a customer relationship management software startup.

Geekdom Fund Invests in Three San Antonio Startups

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Photo courtesy of Geekdom.

Photo courtesy of Geekdom.

Three new startups in San Antonio have received $25,000 cash investments each from the Geekdom Fund.

The two-year-old fund aims to jumpstart the city’s startup community by providing seed-stage funding to tech startups.

In February, the Geekdom Fund made investments in Nebulab Technologies and Lightphile. Last November, the fund invested in Remote Garage. All of the startups are based at Geekdom, a collaborative coworking space in downtown San Antonio.

The fund “seeks to enable these companies to build businesses around a problem worth solving and a market large enough for high growth potential with a team that can build a profitable business,” according to a statement from Cole Wollak with the fund. “The Geekdom Fund will make investments for which the expected social, economic and cultural impact from the investment being made will have a net positive gain on the broader startup community of San Antonio.”

But the fund aims to make a profit for its investors.

“We won’t invest in a company that we believe won’t make a return for the fund,” Wollak said. “Things we look at when making decisions are like any fund or accelerator: idea, market, team, stage and progress. We’ve said no to people for not having a complete team, we’ve said no to people for lack of execution, too small of a market, the whole gamut.”

Guillermo Vela, co-founder of Nebulab Technologies, got turned down before Nebulab received an investment. The idea behind the company spun out of a 3-Day Startup program in San Antonio and wasn’t developed enough initially, he said. But now, the founders have worked out the kinks and they presented a more polished pitch.

Five members make up the team: Vela, Arturo Covarrubias, Diego Castro, Simon Barnett and Jonathan Loo.

Nebulab Technologies is developing a web app for scientists to organize their data in a visual way, he said. It combines the visual appeal of PowerPoint with the functionality of Microsoft One Notes with the ability to drag and drop data files onto a blank canvas, Vela said. It’s cloud-based, collaborative and real time, he said. The product will help scientists share and communicate their scientific data and to add greater transparency to the process, he said.

“Our goal is really to facilitate the way scientists store and share information,” Vela said.

The Geekdom funding will help to evolve its product, Vela said.

“This vast majority is going to go to pay the lead developer a salary and to incorporate as well,” he said.

Previously, Vela worked as a brain cancer research at John Hopkins University.

Lightphile plans to use its funding to develop its software as well as with the prototyping cost of its hardware, said David Barrick, co-founder.

The company has made a $500 hardware device controlled by an iPad that acts as a lighting controller at concerts, replacing other hardware systems that costs thousands more, Barrick said.

His co-founder is Logan Butler and together the two have designed many lighting sets. They have 10 years of industry experience.

“We’ve never been satisfied with the lighting control experience,” he said.

So they created a solution. Now they’ve got a working prototype that they’ve tested and they’re working to create the final product, which will be Wi-Fi based.

“Our primary market is churches at the start,” Barrick said.

Jaakko Piipponen, co-founder of Remote Garage, received the Geekdom Fund investment late last year.

Remote Garage is a storage on demand service. It provides customers with a storage container and then its drivers pick up customers’ belongings and stores them and delivers them back whenever needed. The company charges by the cubic foot, and users can see their storage inventory online.

“Our typical customer is an apartment dweller with limited space and limited time, who just wants that extra space without the hassle,” he said.

Geekdom is a sponsor of Silicon Hills News

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