We Caught Up With Fetchnotes At SXSW INTERVIEW

Fetchnotes,Michigan starutp,Boston Startup,Techstars,SXSW,SXSWiLast April we first started reporting on Ann Arbor Michigan startup Fetchnotes. This startup was born out of the University of Michigan which is where Co-Founders Alex Schiff and Chase Lee met.

While they are tons of note taking apps available, Fetchnotes secret sauce is that the app is based on how the user takes notes rather than having the app dictate how notes will be taken.

Fetchnotes allows the user to organize their notes by hashtag. The user can use any hashtag methodology they want and they can categorize notes with multiple hashtags. For instance Schiff explained that if he wanted to write a note on me he could code it email, nibletz, SXSW and I would be on his list of people he met at SXSW, he would know I’m from nibletz and that he should email me.

Fetchnotes is no longer a Michigan based startup. They relocated to Cambridge Massachusetts after going through the last session at TechStars Boston.

We got the lowdown on what’s new and exciting with Fetchnotes from Schiff. Check out the video interview below.

Find out more about Fetchnotes here.

More startup coverage at SXSW can be found here

EdTech Startup MatchBox Lets Colleges Manage Applications On An iPad, SXSWedu Pitch Video

Matchbox.net,Startup,Boston startup,EdTech startup,SXSW,SXSW13,SXSWeduStephen Marcus, the founder and CEO of Matchbox has created a product that colleges and universities are quickly adopting and loving. Matchbox is a complete solution that allows admissions staff to manage the applications process via an ipad app.

“For us, using Matchbox was a no brainer,” said Sundar Kumarasamy, vice president for enrollment management and marketing at the University of Dayton, in a prepared statement released by the company. “Matchbox provides us with an intuitive solution that empowers our readers to give each applicant the critical attention they deserve while saving us countless hours in the process.” EdTech times reported last July.

Matchbox and their new and innovative way to handle admissions, made it to the finals in the higher ed category at the LAUNCHedu startup showdown as part of SXSWedu earlier this week.

Although SpeakingPal was the ultimate winner in the HigherEd category, Mathbox still beat out 10 other high caliber startups targeting college students and educators.

Check out their pitch video from the finals on Wednesday afternoon. For more info on Matchbox and how it can help your admissions process, visit matchbox.net.

Check out more of our SXSW 2013 coverage here

Boston Augmented Reality Startup PAR Works Gets Two Big SXSW Honors

Par Works, Augmented Reality, Boston startup,sxsw13,sxsw acceleratorAugmented reality has been a hot space for startups for the last three years. Now in 2013 it’s starting to expand outside of just cool games. One Boston startup, PAR Works, has done some amazing things with augmented reality and for that they’ve received two pre-show honors from SXSW.

First off the company was selected as a finalist for the mobile technology category at the 5th annual SXSW accelerator competition. The competition is one of the biggest events as part of SXSW Interactive’s Startup Village.  Startups showcase some of the most impressive new innovations to a panel of handpicked judges and a live audience. More than 500 companies submitted to present at SXSW Accelerator, where PAR Works was selected out of 56 finalists in seven different categories.

The company’s MARS mobile application, which will be unveiled for public beta for the first time at the SXSW Trade Show, also was named a finalist in the SXSW Interactive Awards. This competition uncovers the best new digital work while celebrating those who are building the interactive trends of the future. The ceremonies for both awards will take place at the SXSW 2013 conference in Austin next month.

MARS is the first technology to offer instant 3-D recognition for products and places, allowing companies to offer content to consumers the instant they take a simple photograph. Available to operate on either Android (version 2.3 or above) or iOS (version 5.0 or above), MARS quickly and precisely delivers on-demand branded content to users, a technology that has become increasingly important as more consumers and businesses adopt, and become dependent on, mobile devices. The speed and millimeter-level accuracy of the image detection and content overlay in MARS is unparalleled.

“Businesses and consumers will be able to experience for the first time at SXSW the power of our MARS technology, which will allow brands to find even more ways to engage with their customers through any mobile device, anywhere,” said Dr. Jules White, co-founder and Chief Scientist for PAR Works. “We would like to thank SXSW for the unique honor of being nominated for both awards this year.”

The three-day Accelerator competition will be held Monday, March 11th – Wednesday, March 13th. As a key event of SXSW Festival’s Startup Village, the Accelerator competition will take place on the 4th floor of the Downtown Austin Hilton and will feature finalists across categories including Innovative Web Technologies; Social Technologies; Entertainment and Gaming Technologies; Mobile Technologies; Health Technologies; News Technologies; and Music Technologies. On March 12th, judges will announce a selected winner in each of the categories presented except Music Technologies, which will be revealed on March 13th

“Some truly ground-breaking and disruptive companies once stood where this year’s 56 SXSW Accelerator finalists will pitch to venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and press,” said SXSW Accelerator Event Producer, Chris Valentine. “I am confident that this year’s SXSW Accelerator finalists will bring equally exceptional and unique products and services to the table, with high potential to impact their respective industries.”

See more of our team coverage of SXSW 2013 here


Techstars Boston Unveils Spring 2013 Class

Boston Techstars,Techstars, Startup NewsTechstars, one of the most widely respected accelerator programs in the world, has just announced their Spring 2013 class for their Boston location. The session kicked off yesterday and will end on May 23rd with Demo Day.

Techstars Boston has graduated 57 companies since their first class back in 2009.

One of the biggest advantages to accelerating in a Techstars program is their huge mentor network of successful entrepreneurs, business leaders and community leaders. Some of the Boston mentors include Brad Feld, Rich Miner and Dharmesh Shah. They have over 100 mentors in their network to date.

Here is the entire Spring 2013 class, as reported by our friends at Bostinno.

An interactive and educational game and competition platform for developers.

A hosted continuous integration and deployment platform.

A crowd-sourced fashion label, where anyone can create and sell their unique designs with our 3D design tools, custom fit, and on demand production.

Helps communities and developers build better real estate projects.

A new social app for sports fans.

Freight Farms
A scalable farming platform can be installed anywhere and operated by almost anyone, transforming shipping containers into a source for high yield crop production.

Jebbit’s pay per performance model benefits both brands and consumers, guaranteeing a brand that their message is comprehended while rewarding consumers with cash for actively answering questions that educate them on the brand.

LinkCycle helps manufacturers manage resource consumption across product lines to reduce costs without any extra hardware or data collection.

We build brains for bots.

Using advanced economic modeling and data visualization to improve government transparency, efficiency, and performance.

Pharmacy simplified.

A “YouTube for numbers,” a platform that makes data broadcasting and data visualization accessible to anyone.

Helps organizations achieve their goals by connecting and engaging communities around meaningful actions.

Redefining vulnerability discovery.

We’re back on the Sneaker Strapped Startup Road Trip, Part Deux, here’s how you can help.

Techstars Hackstar Launches Her Own MassChallenge Startup ZoomTilt, 99Designs For Video

ZoomTilt,Boston startup,MassChallenge,TechstarsAnna Callahan is a Techstars hackstar turned startup founder who went through Mass Challenge. With all that startup pedigree we know her startup ZoomTilt is already destined for success. The magic comes into play now that they’ve completed MassChallenge and were named a finalist.

But what is ZoomTilt?

Well think 99designs. Callahan loves film making, in fact it was reading a script while working as a Techstars hackstar that made her decide to take the plunge into launching her own innovative idea. The idea, link filmmakers to people who want to build a brand using short films, mini tv shows if you will.  If you’ve got a brand and want to see film and tv stars in a video featuring your product, ZoomTilt is the answer. If you want to have an engaging YouTube mini series or Facebook page video series that highlights your brand, ZoomTilt is the answer.

Callahan tells nibletz in an interview that they’ve got hundreds of film makers waiting for the chance to work on your brands short video project. By leveraging the talent and creativity within their network ZoomTilt is able to offer unparalleled, engaging video marketing solutions without a gigantic budget.

So after joining cofounder Chris Bolman, and ditching their first name, CrewTide, which Callahan says made people think they sold nautical supplies, they hunkered down over the summer as one of the 125 startups in MassChallenge and emerged as a finalist.

We got a chance to talk with Callahan about ZoomTilt, in what’s been one of the wittiest, fun and creative interviews to date. Here it is:

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GeckoCap Is Gamifying The Asthma Inhaler, We Checked It Out At Eureka Park

Millions of kids across the country and around the world suffer from Asthma. Fortunately, for many of them the Albuterol rescue inhaler helps them live mostly normal lives.  The problem is that many kids either forget to take their inhaler or forget to tell their parents and loved ones that they used their inhaler. It’s actually pretty important to a parent to know when their kid couldn’t breathe.

A Boston startup called GeckoCap is hoping to help kids get back into a regular habit of using their inhalers and telling their parents and loved ones when they do.

Using the companies patent pending technology, a connected cap is placed on the top of the Albuterol cartridge on an inhaler. This cap has sensors, a transmitter and cool LED lights. The cap also keeps kids honest about their inhaler use and keeps a log of when it’s used and what the conditions at that time were.

All of the data collected from the GeckoCap can then be distributed to a child’s pediatric team and their parents.

We caught up with GeckoCap at Eureka Park 2013 at CES 2013. Check out the video interview below:

Oh my nearly 2000 have bought tickets to the biggest startup conference in the country everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference. 

NMX 2013 Interview With Boston Startup UberVu

Ubervu,NMX 2013, Startup Interview, Interview video.CES 2013,startups everywhere elseBoston startup Ubervu is a new social media dashboard startup. Sure there are a lot of startups in the space however what sets Ubervu apart is their intelligence layer.

Ubervu finds what people are saying about companies across the social web. They take that information and convert it into easy to understand usable data to get companies engaged with their customers.

Ubervu’s VP of Marketing Dragos Llinca tells nibletz in an interview:”People talk about companies and products online every day. We monitor and analyze those public conversations. We then use smart methodologies to come up with ways for brands to send more relevant messages to more relevant and influential people, at the most relevant time.”

We caught up with Ubervu’s social media marketing & community manager Elisabeth Michaud at NMX 2013. Check out our video interview here:

Here’s the rest of our interview with Llinca:

Read More…

Boston Military Startup: RallyPoint Raises $1.55 Million

Rallypoint, Boston startup, Military startup,startup,startup news

RallyPoint co-founders Yinon Weiss and Aaron Kletzing (photo: time.com)

A Boston startup called RallyPoint has just announced that they’ve raised $1 million dollars from angels in Boston, Washington DC and London reports the Boston Business Journal.

The military focused startup bills itself as “LinkedIn for military”. Currently serving members of the armed forces can create an individual profile and grow their professional network within the military. It’s a great way to connect service men and women with others they may have served with at different bases and on different tours. It’s also a great way to keep up with those folks as service men and women move about the country and around the world.

RallyPoint officially launched on Veterans day with a warm reception across the country. In fact, there’s been a major push to encourage military men and women to become entrepreneurs and launch their own startups.

Earlier this year Techstars held a “Patriot Bootcamp” in Washington DC which recruited military men and women to have a three day crash course in entrepreneurship and starting up at Georgetown University.

Startup America also launched a veteran’s initiative on Veterans day, spearheaded by a leadership team which includes veteran and Apprentice 2 star Kelly Perdew alongside other influencers in the military startup community.

Since launching earlier this year RallyPoint has raised a total of $1.55 million dollars. They raises $550,000 prior to launch back in April. In October they won $100,000 as part of the MassChallenge program and now they’ve raised another $1 million dollars.

“Some of the new investment funds will help us spread the word to active U.S. military personnel about RallyPoint’s value proposition, accelerate RallyPoint member acquisition, and also expand our efforts to partner with trusted employers, academic institutions, and brands to connect them more precisely and cost effectively with the right service members at the right time,”  RallyPoint CEO Yinon Weiss told the Boston Herald.


Check out RallyPoint here

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Boston Startup Pingup That Allows Consumers To Text Businesses Raises $4M

Pingup,Boston startup,startup newsA Boston area startup called Pingup aims to help cure the frustration from dealing with customer service agents and being put on hold by resorting to text messages. PingUp allows consumers to text businesses messages pertaining to their accounts and the nature of the company’s business.

For example, a cable company could use PingUp to allow their customers to text simple items like “Cancel HBO” or “Add Showtime” they could even go further and assist in scheduling appointments or set up a call back time so that the customer doesn’t have to wait.

The company was founded when co-founder and CEO Mark Slater had to spend an ungodly amount of time holding with his cable company for a question that required no more than two minutes to handle. It’s those kind of issues that drive call center frustration and customer frustration up.

We got a chance to interview Slater earlier this year.

PingUp has signed up over 550 businesses in the Boston area where it initially rolled out. They also have apps in both the Apple iTunes App Store and the Google Play store.

Cab companies, restaurants and service businesses across Boston have responded well to PingUp and have already implemented the service. A few different cab companies allow customers to book their cabs using PingUp rather than having to talk to a dispatcher. This of course makes it much easier to insure that the cab is going to go to the right location.

Restaurants allow customers to use PingUp to make reservations or get on call ahead seating lists. Other businesses use the service for customer service issues.

PingUp has just raised $4 million dollars in an equity round led by original investor Avalon. They plan on using the capital to expand to other markets including New York and San Francisco. PingUp already offers service in Miami in addition to the Boston area where they are based.


Check out PingUp here

Source: TNW

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Boston Techstars Grad: Testive Raises $500,000 Seed

Testive,Techstars, Boston startup, startup news, funding newsA recent Boston Techstars startup graduate, Testive, has just announced a $500,000 seed round led by influential local investors.

Testive operates on the premise that SAT prep books suck and SAT prep classes are too expensive. Miro Kazzakoff, the startup’s founder says not only can Testive predict a high school students SAT score but also their method is more efficient.

“Somewhere between cheap, boring prep books and expensive classes is an opportunity to deliver online test prep that doesn’t suck,”  Kazakoff told the Boston Business Journal “Testive is building the tools that help students learn more efficiently and more enjoyably.”

Immediately following the Techstars Boston session the company moved into Dog Patch Labs an incubator/co-working space founded by Polaris Venture Partners and also in the same Microsoft building that houses the Boston Techstars program.  Several other high growth potential startups occupy the space and work in a collaborative environment.

Local angels; Jean Hammond (A Zipcar investor), Eileen Rudden (co-founder of LeanLaunch), Dharmesh Shah (co-founder of Hubspot) and Bill Warner (founder of Avid/ProTools), all participated in the round.

Kazakoff reports that over 10,000 students already use their SAT Habit software. Their software is based on Turbo Test, originally developed at MIT. The investment will go to continued development of the software. They plan on adding features to add in the preparation of the “writing” part of the SAT.


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Holiday Goodies: Lego Comes Through For 11 Year Old With Asperger’s

Lego, Asperger's Boy, James, HolidayFrom time to time I may drift on writing about startups during the holidays, one of my favorite times of the year. This is one of those times. I read a great story today found on consumerist.com.

Typically, theconsumerist.com works as a warning to buyers and consumers across the country and around the world. You usually find customer service worst practices, and read stories about big companies screwing over the lifeblood of their business.

Theconsumerist is also like a snopes.com for consumers of sorts.  Sometimes when you’ve heard of a deal that’s too good to be true or a big box store running an ad for something that doesn’t quite add up, you can get the real deal from theconsumerist.com. While a lot of their stories aren’t “good guy” stories it’s an important site to keep up with the consumer world around you.

Well they changed up today, probably in that holiday spirit, and reported about something over the top that Lego has done. Lego has been the reigning king of the building block world. If Apple designed building blocks, they would undoubtedly be legos.

Well an 11 year old Massachusetts boy with Asperger’s Syndrome developed a love for Legos. The blocks were a toy that he used as part of his social therapy.  A little over two years ago, James, saw a lego set he fell in love with, the Emerald Night Train Set. The set cost close to 100 dollars. It has over 1000 pieces and a working train when it’s all complete, with a motor.

After two years of saving birthday money, holiday money and allowance James finally had enough to get the beloved train set. But it turns out that the set had been discontinued. Once Lego discontinued the set the cost immediately doubled on Amazon and Ebay from collectors trying to make an extra buck. Of course no one is blaming them, that’s what happens with Lego sets. However $214 was out of James’ price range.

James took to emailing Lego, this is what he said:

“For two years I kept all the money I got for birthday and holiday gifts, some of my allowance and some money I got for participating in a research project. At last, a couple of months ago I had my $100 and was ready to buy the LEGO set of my dreams. My mom started looking for it online and could not find any. We checked the LEGO store in our area and they didn’t have it either.

I was completely crushed. You’ve stopped making it! I got another LEGO set, thinking I could forget about the Emerald Night, but every time I see it anywhere online I get very sad and disappointed. I still want the Emerald Night so badly, but there are none to be found. Do you have any at your corporate headquarters? Perhaps I could get one that way? If you have any other ideas, I would be happy to hear them. I have never wanted a LEGO set so badly ever in my life.”

Lego originally wrote back thanking him for writing and explaining the set had been discontinued. However 2 days before his next birthday James received a mysterious box in the mail with the following note:

‘The Emerald Night Train is a wonderful set, so we can understand why it is your dream to own it. I commend your willpower and patience to save money for over two years just to purchase this. We have located an Emerald Night Train for you, James, and included it in this package! I am sure you will enjoy building it and cherish your time playing with the train. Fans like you are why we are so lucky as a company. Who knows, maybe you will be working for The LEGO Group one day! You certainly have the heart and passion for our bricks to do so! Happy building, James!”

Watch this heartwarming video of when James received the Lego set in the mail accompanied by a letter from Megan the Lego employee who fulfilled James’ wish (It’s ok to cry)

A PR person with Lego explained that after they discontinue a set of Lego’s the company holds onto a few for archives, museums etc. They were able to locate the Emerald train set and sent it to James free of charge. James had purchased a different set of Lego’s with the $100 he saved up.


Source: Consumerist

Go on, check out Lego’s site

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Burlington MA Startup: Acquia Raises $30 Million

Acquia,Boston startup,funding,startup newsBurlington startup, Acquia, provides enterprise tools based on the open source Drupal web platform. If you’re not familiar with Drupal, it’s the backbone architecture for such popular websites as The White House and the Economist. The platform was created by Dries Buytaert, who also serves as CTO for Acquia.

The startup has now picked up a cool $30 million dollar round led by Growth Capital and Goldman Sachs. Accolade Partners, North Bridge Venture Partners, Sigma Partners and Tenaya Capital also participated in the round.  They are looking to add between 120 and 140 new jobs within the next 12 months. They are also planning on using the money for more international expansion.

Acquia generated $21.8 million in revenue in 2011 according to the Boston Business Journal. CEO Tom Erickson plans to double that this year. They are also looking at a possible IPO within the next two years.

This latest round brings their total venture funding to $68.5 million since 2007. The company was founded by Buytaert and Vice President Jay Batson.

They currently employ 260 people. 140 of those work at the corporate office in Massachusetts. They also have offices in Washington DC, California, Amsterdam,Paris and Oxford England.


Check out Acquia here

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Techstars Now Taking Applications Via AngelList

Techstars,Angellist,startup acceleratorThe popular TechStars accelerator program announced last week on their blog that they are now taking applications via AngelList.

500 Startups was the first to go the route of using AngelList to allow startups to apply their program, with their current session. Traditionally to get into 500 startups accelerator program a startup had to be recommended internally. 500 Startups founder Dave McClure opened up the current session for general applications, but only using the AngelList platform.

TechStars is taking applications through their website and also through AngelList.

Techstars founder David Cohen does say that if you apply via AngelList and you’re selected for further evaluation you may need to answer some of the more specific questions found on the application on the Techstars website. However, applications are welcomed from either site.

Techstars is currently taking applications via AngelList and their website for their Boston program that starts February 25, 2013.   The early bird deadline for Boston applications is next Monday December 3rd and the final deadline is December 17th.

Applications are also open for the New York City 2013 cohort. The early bird application deadline is January 4, 2013 and the final deadline is January 18, 2013. That session begins April 2, 2013.


Techstars schedule

Techstars application via their website

Techstars application via Angellist

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MassChallenge Startups Have Created Thousands Of Jobs

MassChallenge,job creation,startups,startup,Boston startupMost people feel that the most important factor of the innovation and startup buzz is job creation. Startup America is one of the biggest proponents of startups leading to job creation. Most startup incubators and accelerators across the country pride themselves on preparing startups for job creation. One of the nation’s largest startup accelerators, MassChallenge, has been doing just that, creating jobs.

In a report with an accompanying infographic by Analogue Studio, MassChallenge has released their job creation figures over the last three years. The number is incredible.

According to their data, MassChallenge has created 2,912 new jobs. As MassChallenge reports, and we agree, these are “high impact” jobs. We’re not talking about the kind of jobs your neighborhood franchise entrepreneur is creating. MassChallenge startups are creating programming jobs, marketing jobs, business development jobs and more.

To date the 2010 MassChallenge class has created 1,060 new jobs. The 2011 class has created 1148 jobs and the 2012 class is well on their way having already created 704 jobs and the class hasn’t even been over for a month.


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