Tag: Remote Garage

Remote Garage Stores Clutter by the Box

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Jaakko Piipponen, founder of Remote Garage, photo by Laura Lorek

Jaakko Piipponen, founder of Remote Garage, photo by Laura Lorek

Mei Butler, a senior at Trinity University, needed to store some household goods while she studied in China for seven months.

“I didn’t want to rent out a storage unit since I didn’t have enough belongings to take up the whole space,” Butler said.

Instead, she signed up with Remote Garage, a San Antonio-based storage on demand startup. It provides a storage bin and even picks up the goods.

Butler’s storing kitchen supplies, bathroom supplies, decorations and other home furnishings with them while she’s studying in China.

Last year, Jaakko Piipponen, launched Remote Garage with his friend Valdas Galdikas. And in December, they received a $25,000 investment from the Geekdom fund. Since then, they have been marketing the company and enrolling more customers while working on the technology behind the site and securing partnerships.

Piipponen is from Finland. He earned his undergraduate degree from the Helsinki School of Economics and studied abroad at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles. He also worked previously for an investment bank in London and founded another startup, Kiitos Technologies, a marketing service for online videos. He moved to San Antonio in 2013 with his girlfriend. She is attending medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

At first, the Geekdom Fund turned Piipponen down, but he came back the next month with customers and partners, said Cole Wollak, spokesman for the fund. They were also convinced of his expertise in the storage market and were impressed with the beta version of his product, Wollak said.

Storage is a $25 billion market, Piipponen said. About one in ten Americans use self-storage facilities, he said. But that’s doesn’t work for everyone, especially for people who don’t have a lot to store and can’t afford to pay $1,200 a year or more for a storage unit, he said.

That’s where Remote Garage comes in, Piipponen said. It’s there for the rest of the population with smaller storage needs, he said.

“They pay by the box,” Piipponen said. “We pick up, store their stuff securely and let them monitor it online and they can get their things back whenever they want.”

Remote Garage partners with well-known, professional storage and delivery companies. It charges $7 per box for a month with the average order of five boxes.

The company does face some competition from other on-demand storage services like Makespace, a New York-based micro-storage startup that has raised $1.3 million, Boxbee, based in San Francisco has raised $2.3 million for its storage on demand service and PODS. And Austin-based SpareFoot, which works with storage companies, to fill up their space through its online marketplace, is not really a competitor, Piipponen said.

Remote Garage has been marketing the company by working with apartment leasing agents. They are seeking to fill the niche for apartment dwellers that store things on their balconies, which is usually prohibited by the complexes. Now the apartments can offer up Remote Garage as an alternative storage source. Piipponen has signed up more than 50 apartment complexes in San Antonio including The Broadway, The Crescent and Mosaic.

Butler heard about Remote Garage from her boyfriend. She decided to try them out and she’s been pleased with its “excellent customer service.” She thinks the service has a lot of potential.

“Its appeal lies in the fact that it does not require you to make a big commitment in terms of rental length, or amount of space you rent,” she said.

Codeup Wins the 2014 San Antonio InnoTech Beta Summit

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Michael Girdley with Codeup, Bill Mock, senior vice president of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Brandon Ashton with SocialRest and Marcus Robertson with TrueAbility.

Michael Girdley with Codeup, Bill Mock, senior vice president of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Brandon Ashton with SocialRest and Marcus Robertson with TrueAbility.

Codeup, a 12-week boot camp to teach technical skills to people, won the 2014 InnoTech Beta Summit on Wednesday afternoon.

Michael Girdley launched Codeup last year and the first class of 28 men and women is about to graduate.

Michael Girdley, founder of Codeup

Michael Girdley, founder of Codeup

The startup, based at Geekdom, charges $9,850 per student, which ensures that the students are committed and motivated to completing the coursework, Girdley said. The company also guarantees its graduates will find a job or it will refund 50 percent of their tuition.

The runners up were TrueAbility and SocialRest.

The other companies pitching included InnerAlly, Picture It Settled, Remote Garage and Biovideo. Each company gave a five-minute pitch followed by a few minutes of questions from the judges.

The judges were Pat Matthews, co-founder of Webmail.us, Rackspace executive and investor, Sharon O’Malley Burg, a technology consultant and Erach Songodwala, an angel investor.

Marcus Robertson, co-founder and chief technology officer of TrueAbility, presented the startup, which lets technical job candidates demonstrate their skills to potential employers through its AbilityScreen. TrueAbility also has a jobs board and charges companies to post a job and screen candidates through its platform.

SocialRest has created software that measures how effective a company’s content is by measuring how it is shared on social media and how many sales result.

The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce sponsored the InnoTech Beta Summit and gave the winner a plaque and a one-year membership in its organization. The winners and runners up also received trophies.

Full disclosure: Silicon Hills News also helped to organize and host the InnoTech Beta Summit and InnoTech is a sponsor of Silicon Hills News.

Seven San Antonio Startups to Pitch at the InnoTech Beta Summit

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Seven startups will pitch at the eighth annual InnoTech Beta Summit on Wednesday.
The event, which takes place at 3 p.m. at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, will showcase some of the best and brightest new technology startups in San Antonio.
Each team will have five minutes to pitch their venture before a panel of judges. The winner will get a plaque from the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and a one-year membership in the organization.
The winner will also receive a trophy from Silicon Hills News and second and third place winners will also receive a prize.
Soloshot, a startup that makes a tripod system that automatically keeps a camera trained on a subject, won the InnoTech Beta Summit last year. And in 2012, CallGrader, a company that makes software to track sales calls, won.
Silicon Hills News readers can attend InnoTech, the day long technology conference at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center for free by using the discount code BETA99 to register.
The judges for this year’s event include Pat Matthews, co-founder of Webmail.us, investor, Sharon O’Malley Burg, a technology consultant and Erach Songodwala, an angel investor.
The startups pitching include:

2013-10-10_codeup_mark_horizontal_150Codeup – is an intensive, 12-week live bootcamp that turns non-techies into computer programmers. “We all know education is broken,” according to the company. “Our solution is unique, aggressive and it works in providing our students a real future. We have 47 partner employers ready to look at our graduates.”

Picture-it-settled-4C_150Picture It Settled – which bills itself as “Moneyball for negotiation.” “The behavioral software has learned negotiating patterns from parties to thousands of litigated cases in a wide variety of jurisdictions and claim types,” according to the company. “It uses that intelligence to make accurate predictions of where a negotiating round is headed in time for parties to act on it using the program’s planning tools.”

Remote-Garage-Logo_150Remote Garage – a storage service backed by the Rackspace founders’ Geekdom Fund. The company picks up customers’ belongings, stores them, and delivers them back on demand. The inventory is available to view online.

imgres-3TrueAbility – a community for technical professionals to learn, grow and (im)prove their skills. Its assessment platform, AbillityScreen, is a job simulator allowing tech pros to practice in a live environment. “Its job board helps companies validate the skills of job seekers, simplify the hiring process with stacked rankings, and enables tech pros to prove their skills by taking a technical interview in a real environment–from anywhere,” according to the company. TrueAbility graduated from the Techstars Cloud accelerator and has landed venture funding.

InnerAllyTurtlePhelps_150InnerAlly – is a platform that lets people perform simple actions to stabilize their mental health. “Every year billions of dollars are forfeited to lost productivity of employees suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues,” according to the company. “By empowering workers to maintain their mental health we can dramatically reduce those losses.”

SocialRest-Logo_150SocialRest– A software tool that helps businesses measure their return on investment for social media. The software tracks how “content is being shared across Facebook and Twitter; but even more valuable is the fact that SocialRest is also able to identify revenue generated because of this shared content,” according to the company.

Logo-bv-usa_150Biovideo– “provides new parents a priceless gift – a breathtaking movie, set to music, of their baby’s first day of life,” according to the company. “It films and creates more than 3,000 such personalized movies each month – delivered before the new family leaves the hospital.”

Innotech is an advertiser with Silicon Hills News

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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