SoftBank’s Joe Medved And Mercury Fund’s Blair Garrou To Speak At Everywhere Else Cincinnati

Today’s been a big day for Everywhere Else Cincinnati. Earlier this morning we announced that Greatist founder Derek Flanzraich had joined the already amazing line up for the conference taking place in Cincinnati September 29-October 1st.

The Everywhere Else conference series is aimed at startups “everywhere else,” cities across America where startups are fueling the new economy. Startups in areas that aren’t traditional tech hubs, like Silicon Valley, often have a common set of challenges including access to capital, access to talent, and not knowing which resources are available to tap into.

At Everywhere Else Cincinnati, startups, angel investors, and VC’s from everywhere else will be able to learn and collaborate with like minded people in similar situations. We’ve compiled an amazing list of national speakers who will offer a range of discussions from starting up everywhere else, to raising money everywhere else, to accelerating everywhere else, and even what VC’s and angel investors are looking for when they turn to startups everywhere else.

After our huge conference in Memphis last February, a theme kept recurring: the need to “Start Where U Are.” This conference will help startups realize that in most cases starting where they are is the best scenario for them and the community.

We already have VC’s from some of the nation’s most respected firms attending or speaking at the conference. Two more of those VC’s, Soft Bank Capital’s Joe Medved and Mercury Fund’s Manging Partner Blair Garrou, will share their insight into what VC’s are looking for and how startups, who often have the odds stacked against them in the first place, can make sure they look good and ready in front of investor.

Both VC’s are distinguished in their fields, have an active role in their startup communities and advisory roles with their startups. Both investors have also been on the Business Journal‘s 40 under 40 in addition to other great accomplishments.

Joel Medved, Blair Garrou, Soft Bank Capital, Mercury Fund, EE Cincinnati, Everywhere Else CincinnatiJoe Medved joined SoftBank Capital in 2005. He’s been investing in digital media companies for over nine years, from seed through growth stage.  He focuses on supporting primarily Seed and Series A stage companies with special interests including consumer and enterprise mobile, gaming, and social marketing.

Prior to joining SoftBank Capital, Joe was an Associate with Constellation Ventures, a media and communications venture capital fund under Bear Stearns Asset Management. Prior to Constellation Ventures, he was an Associate and Analyst for the Technology, Media and Telecommunications Group with JPMorgan Investment Banking.

In 2011, Joe was selected by the Boston Business Journal for its 40 Under 40 class. He is Co-Founder of the Digital Media VC/Corp Dev Connection, a group that brings together active investors and corporate development professionals from large corporations focused on digital media.  Joe is also Chairman Emeritus of the New England Venture Network (NEVN), one of the largest venture capital organizations on the East Coast.

blairgarrouBlair Garrou is a co-founder and Managing Director of the Mercury Fund (formerly DFJ Mercury). The Houston-based VC firm makes investments in technology and energy where they even support their own accelerator called Surge.  Garrou’s reach to accelerators doesn’t end there, though. He is a big believer in the accelerator model and is a mentor at The Brandery and often speaks to other accelerator cohorts across the country.

Prior to co-founding the Mercury Fund, Blair was the CEO of Intermat, Inc., a leader in product information management software (acq. by IHS). Before Intermat, Blair was a Principal of Genesis Park LP, a Houston-based venture capital and private equity firm, where he focused on the firm’s software investments, including Intermat, FuelQuest (acq. by Saracen Energy), and SAT Corporation (acq. by Invensys). Prior to Genesis Park, Blair helped launch and was the Director of Operations for the Houston Technology Center (HTC), the largest technology incubator in the state of Texas, and he led the formation of the Houston Angel Network, one of the largest and most active angel investment organizations in the U.S. Previously, Blair was an investment banker with BMO Nesbitt Burns, and an auditor with Deloitte & Touche. Blair is a licensed CPA in the state of Texas. He received a B.S. in Management with special attainments in Commerce from Washington & Lee University.

Medved and Garrou join this already amazing list of speakers

  • Naithan Jones, Founder AgLocal
  • Derek Flanzraich, Founder Greatist
  • Andrew Warner, Founder Mixergy
  • Andy Sparks, Co-Founder Mattermark
  • Wil Schroter, Founder Fundable
  • Jake Stutzman, Founder
  • Jonathon Perrelli, Managing Director, Fortify Ventures
  • Justin Gutwein, Filmmaker and Entrepreneur
  • Mark Hasebroock, Founder Dundee Venture Capital
  • Jason Healy, Founder Blu
  • John Bracken, Founder Evite and Speek
  • Dave Knox, CMO Rockfish, co-founder Brandery
  • Patrick Woods, Managing Director a>m ventures
  • Sarah Ware, Founder Markerly
  • John T. Meyer, Founder
  • Raghu Betina, Managing Patner The Starter League
  • Ryan O’Connell, VP Influence & Company
  • Blake Miller, Managing Director Think Big Accelerator
  • Michael Bergman, Founder Repp.


Startups hurry only 4 Startup Village Booths left at the early bird discount rate!



20 Over 20: One Of The Coolest Hackathons We’ve Heard About

20over20, Dallas startups, Dialexa, hackathonStarting now and culminating with a four day hackathon beginning at noon on Thursday, September 19th, the 20 Over 20 hackathon is looking to solve problems that have been lingering, unsolved for the last twenty years.

The hackathon was jointly created by Dialexa ( and Dallas Venture Partners ( Co-CEO and founder of Dialexa, Mark Haidar told Nibletz: “With all the technology we’ve seen in the internet age over the last 20, years there are still problems out there that can be solved.”

That’s what they intend to do during the hackathon. Dialexa is already solving big problems ranging from surveillance at a Nigerian naval base to GPS tracking to building 3D tooth models from 2D scans. All problems that Haidar’s company has solved with technology.

Do you have a problem that’s been nagging at you that could be solved with technology? You can submit that problem now, here. On the evening of Wednesday September 18th, the 20 Over 20 team will select the 20 Over 20 Problems. From there, the preselected teams will have 18 hours to decide which of the problems they want to solve. If you submitted a problem and your problem is selected, you’ll receive a $20 gift card.

If you choose to participate on one of the teams, you’ll be competing for a $10,000 cash prize, winner takes all. The teams will work from noon on September 19th through 4pm on September 22. Each team will have 20 minutes to present their solution and 10 minutes for Q&A. The winning team will be incorporated free of charge by law firm Strasburger and Price. The prize money will be a $10,000 common stock equity investment for 2% to DVP.

Teams will be judged on four criteria:

  • How well does the idea solve the problem that was identified?
  • What level of disruption of innovation does the idea bring to the problem’s market?
  • Current operational functionality.
  • Technical feasibility of product roadmap

Stay tuned to Nibletz for more information on 20 Over 20. You can submit a problem and register a team here at



Dallas Startup Be Pawsitive, Buy One Give One For Dogs!

BePawsitive, Dallas startup, Texas Startup, Social Entrepreneurship, startup interview

Buy one give one charities have become one of the most popular forms of social entrepreneurship. I don’t mind buying my family Toms, because I know I’m doing my little part for charity in my already busy life.  Over the past couple of years, monthly subscription box startups have become equally popular.

Now Dallas-based entrepreneur Travis Watson has put both concepts together in a startup he calls Be Pawsitive.  Be Pawsitive is a monthly subscription box of organic treats for your favorite canine companion. The “home baked” treats taste great to dogs, and they’re good for them as well.  But, in addition to your dog, when you sign up for Be Pawsitive, the same box will be sent to an animal shelter so those dogs can enjoy the treats. For every purchased box, one is donated.


“After learning that more than 3 million dogs end up in shelters across the country each year, I felt compelled to do whatever I could to help,” Watson said in a statement. “The treats we donate not only provide a healthy snack for the dogs but also help with obedience training to get them ready for new homes, and also serve as an “ice breaker” for the dog and potential adopter during their first meeting. The treats are really making a difference.”

Treats come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors including; The Original, Rise and Shine, Cheesy-Berry, Pizza Party, Power Berry, Banana Split, Pumpkin Pie, Relax, and Iron Dog.  In addition to the delicious snacks, Be Pawsitive also tries to include other things for their canine customers like toys and for their first box a $25 gift certificate to Rover, another startup that helps dog owners find experienced pet sitters.

Check out our interview with Watson below:

EE-FORENTREPRENEURSWhat is your startup called?

Be Pawsitive

What does your company do?

We sell a monthly subscription box for dogs. The box is full of our delicious oven baked dog treats and a few other fun dog items. Each box of treats we sell provides a box of treats we donate to animal shelters and rescue organizations across the country. We operate with a Buy One, Give One business model. Each month customers get a new treat flavor in their box as well as other sponsored products (ex. gift cards, dog toys, misc dog stuff).

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Travis Watson (me) is the founder of Be Pawsitive. I have a background in design and finance. I graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington with a BBA in Management in 2009.

Where are you based?

Dallas, Texas

What problem do you solve?

Each year over 3 million dogs will enter into animal shelters across the country. We are working to help make their (shelter dogs) lives better and increase adoption rates. Our treats are used during obedience training to help dogs get ready for new homes. Dogs that are leash trained and obedient get adopted faster. Our treats also act as an ice breaker during the first meet and greet with a shelter dog and person(s) looking to adopt. Some of these dogs come from abusive past or are just a little scared being in an environment with so much going on. Being able to give the dog a treat shows that your intentions are good and allows the dog to feel more comfortable and hopefully leads to a long term relationship with those people. And finally they are a healthy snack for the dogs. Many of our treats provide additional nutrients and are packed with healthy ingredients. We are also working to raise awareness to adopt instead of buy from a breeder or pet store. The over supply of shelter dogs can be lessened with more people adopting.

Why does it matter?

People have a special connection with dogs and we want to provide a way for them to reward their own dog with amazing dog treats and also provide them with a way to help other dogs out.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

We had a successful launch of our website on June 1st and have been gaining traction within the subscription box (for dogs) market.

What are your next milestones?

Our next big push will be a mix of online marketing, social media engagement, and grass roots marketing. We hope to keep gaining new relationships with shelters and rescue organizations that will benefit from our treat donations.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

twitter @bepawsitive


Check out this startup, it’s Fitbit for dogs.

If You’re Serious About Email Ditch Mailbox For Boxer, Launching Today

Boxer, Taskbox, Austin startup, Mailbox app, sxsw, relaunch, startup launch

Earlier this year the startup world was abuzz about the brand new Mailbox app. You remember, the one that made you download a countdown timer, and for most, wait several days before getting your hands on the app. However, people who get high volumes of email, quickly saw that Mailbox was a hype machine. The hype got so loud they quickly got acquired by the team at DropBox.

While all that was going on, tens of thousands of people descended upon Austin, Texas, for the annual Woodstock of startups, SXSW Interactive. It was there, at the Capital Factory and then on one of the startup stages, we found Taskbox. 

boxericonsmWe got to hear about the meat and potatoes baked into Taskbox during a pitch session focused on startups that were immune to the series A crunch. All the startups in that pitch session had an investment ask at the end of their decks, but we were just longing for a really good email app designed for people that actually get email.

Taskbox proved to be that app. In fact, the Taskbox team accelerated at Capital Factory which just happens to be founded by Joshua Baer, who made most of his fortune in–you guessed it–email.

After downloading, I discovered immediately that the team behind Taskbox had loaded the app with easy to use features, an appealing UX/UI, and had actually considered people who received a lot of email.

I receive anywhere from 350-500 fresh email messages a day that can’t be marked as spam. If I factor in “spam,” we’re closer to 1000.



So Andrew Eye tipped me off a few weeks ago. He told me that during SXSW he had met  Xoogler Jason Shellen. Shellen has a very strong background having worked with Google, AOL, and his own startup Brizzly. During their time together at SXSW, Shellen told Eye that he was working on something new called Boxer. Boxer had even simpler, easy to understand features. The Taskbox team quickly acquired Boxer and brought Shellen on as head of product.


Shellen helped the Taskbox team revamp the UI by flattening it and adding some features that I’m really excited about, like the ability to “like” an email. This feature will let the writer know “Hey, I’m not ignoring you.” Sometimes that’s all you need to say in an email: message received and understood! It’s like a 10-4 button.

Other features include:

  • Powerful swipe gestures to help triage, respond, and manage on-the-go
  • Inline profile images & helpful contact cards
  • Works with all your existing email accounts (including Gmail, Exchange, Yahoo and more)
  • Dropbox integration for adding files to email from the cloud
  • Adds elements of social tools to email to make email more fun and like-able again

While the Taskbox team had a great product to start with, in reforming and launching under the Boxer name, they’re going t take email to yet another level. They also added more heavyweights to their founding dream team. Adam Cianfichi. formerly with Accuvant and Ciphent, and Ian Ragsdale who worked with Baer on OtherInbox and also Skylist, round out the new Boxer team. Andrew is the CEO, Adam heads up Design, Ian runs Engineering, and Jason runs Product.

The app is gesture based (yes like Mailbox), but what you can do with the gestures is infinitely more powerful. You can swipe to earmark an email for a set later date, you can archive it, like it, use a quick response or add it to the “to do” list. They’ve also integrated a favorites list and the ability to call up all email exchanges between you and another person with a click of a button. It’s almost like a mobile email based CRM.

Currently, Boxer is only available for iOS. Find out more here at

Now read: Am I the only one on earth who thinks Mailbox Sucks?


Texas’ Cowtown Angels Announces Largest Investment To Date

Cowtown Angels, Dallas Startup, Wisegate, Startup FundingThe Fort Worth Texas based Cowtown Angels, part of TECH Fort Worth have announced their fourth and largest investment to date. Cowtown has invested $620,000 into Wisegate Inc.  This was also the first time that Cowtown Angels have led a round of financing.

The Cowtown Angels members have invested $1,415,000 in four companies to date and currently have two more deals under consideration. In addition to Wisegate, members have invested:

$345,000 in PerioSciences, which has developed a line of antioxidant oral care products

$125,000 in National Dental Implant, developing a non-surgical tooth replacement for non-functional teeth

$325,000 in Inview Technology Corporation, a developer of compressive sensing cameras.

Wisegate is an online community designed to enable IT professionals to exchange ideas and solve problems. The company was founded in 2007 and is generating revenue from their $3,000 annual memberships. Wisegate CEO told the Austin Business Journal that the company has “thousands of members”

Cowtown Angels were the lead investor in a $2.8 million dollar round with 23 participants.  They previously raised $461,000 in 2011 and $900,000 in 2010.

TECH Fort Worth receives applications of companies who want to “pitch” to Cowtown Angels members at their monthly meetings, presents the qualified applicants to the Angels’ screening committee and helps companies selected by the screening committee prepare their presentations. Angel members decide individually whether they want to invest in a company.

“I see this investment as validation for our idea that there was a need for a local angel network,” said Darlene Ryan, Executive Director of TECH Fort Worth.  “We believe that the Cowtown Angels program increases the amount of entrepreneurial activity here and helps the entire community.”

There are currently 20 members in the Cowtown Angel network.

Have you seen Dialexa, one of the coolest startups in Texas.



Techstars Opens In Austin, Mashing The Best Of Texas’ Startup World

Techstars,Techstars Austin, CapitalFactory, StartupsSome may be surprised to find out that Techstars has no “official” presence in Austin. What??? That’s right, even though they throw one of the best parties at SXSW and you can find most of the Techstars team roaming about during the festival they’ve had no real presence.

Until now.

Techstars announced via their blog that they are going to take up residency in the already epically awesome Capital Factory (home to DreamIt Austin as well), and begin an official Techstars cohort in August.

That’s not all though. They are bringing over TechStars Cloud Director, Jason Seats, from San Antonio to run the program. Seats sold his company Slicehost to Rackspace and has since been involved with Techstars. He’s also part of the StartupGrind program.  Having a Techstars class in an environment like Capital Factory gives the young startups a huge advantage. Austinpreneurs are always hanging out at Capital Factory, in addition to the huge mentor network Techstars already has to offer.

David Cohen announced the new Techstars program this morning and also opened up the application process.

“Forbes and Bloomberg have been calling Austin the No. 1Boomtown and the best place for your startup for years now, and Google recently chose it as the second city to receive the fastest Internet on the planet. TechStars exists to put the best mentors and the best entrepreneurs together in the best startup communities so Austin is a natural next stop for us. We will run our first program starting this August and applications are open as of today!” Cohen said in the blog post.

Here’s the application for Techstars Austin

Speaking of Austin here’s over 40 startup stories from SXSW 2013.


No Really Dialexa Is The Most Bad Ass Startup In Dallas

Dialexa,Dallas starutp,startup,TechCrunch DisruptThis year marked my third trip to TechCrunch Disrupt NYC and my 7th trip to a TechCrunch Disrupt event overall. Typically we expect to see some cool big data startups, social mobile startups, food startups and over the last two years, hardware startups. I don’t think in all the startup events I’ve ever been too, I’ve seen anything quite like Dialexa.

Dialexa is a startup themselves, but what they actually are is a technology development company. The company, formed by entrepreneurs Mark Haidar and Scott Harper, Dialexa was founded upon recognizing a huge market demand for innovative and scalable technology solutions. Mark and Scott serve as Co-CEOs jointly spearheading operations, strategy, local and international sales, product development and engineering for clients and Dialexa Labs.

Harper and Haidar met each other at 2GO Software where Haidar was the CTO and Harper joined as Head of Operations. 2GO was the recipient of the 2010 Honeywell Scanning and Mobility ISV Partner Of The Year.

Prior to meeting at 2GO, the founders had a multitude of experience in technology and starting companies. Previously Mark led the development of a state of the art research and development project for the US Army Tank Automotive Research Development Engineering Center (TARDEC).  He was able to successfully research, design, develop, and validate an original service-oriented intra and inter-vehicle communication system for transportation, robotic, and military systems. This technology enhances each vehicle’s situation assessment and awareness in military combat situations and has the potential to help create safer and more efficient highway systems. Scott previously started a web based marketplace for tutors in the college tutoring market, a web based suite of software tools that helped non-profit organizations enable their supporters to give money for free, and was part of an initiative to start up a bank focused on the medical community that heavily leveraged technology and eventually led to the buyout attempt of a several hundred million dollar bank.

So what are they working on at Dialexa? Oh just little stuff like:

A surveillance and protection system for the Nigerian navy. The Nigerian navy is losing $6 billion dollars a year in crude oil. They don’t have the man power or equipment to cover their entire shoreline. Dialexa is developing a system using drones, small submarines, cameras and a monitoring system to alert the navy when people, or machines are stealing their oil.

They also have a GPS system in the works that will allow someone to track anything. The system can track packages, people, kids, money in armored cars, etc. What’s unique about this system is it’s designed to require just a charge once a week and works through a variety of mobile systems.

They also have a system in development that will print 3D teeth from 2D scans. Haidar told us in an interview the entire process of evaluating a tooth for surgery could take months. Now it is down to just hours.

Haidar credits the team they’ve assembled to the success they’ve had so far and the team continues growing. No project or startup is too big or too small for Dialexa. They even have your general mobile startups within their portfolio of companies that they are helping take to market.

Watch our video interview with Mark Haidar below and for more information visit

We’ve got over 25 more startup stories from TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 here at the voice of startups everywhere else.


ooWorldcoop (Our Own World Cooperative) Wants To Be The First Online Social Market Place Co-Op [video]

Ooworldcoop,OneSpark,Texas Startup,startup interview,startup,co-opooWorldcoop is testing the waters in a new space in the social marketplace realm. Founder Anthony Tyson, has created the first ever social online market place co-op. Like any other co-op that means that the user base or membership will actually own the co-op together. While Tyson will always be the “founder” or “creator” he won’t be the owner, everyone will.

Co-Op models have been around for many years. Group buying co-ops are the most popular kinds of co-ops that still exist in the offline world today. Most cities have a grocery store or local produce store co-op. In that case, the members vote on what kind of items to buy and at what prices. They also dictate buying power with strength in numbers. The biggest benefit for the overall business in this case is that vendors know exactly what the buyers will buy.

In the case of the online co-op, after operating expenses, members will vote on where the co-op can spend its money. Profits will be reinvested, with member guidance, to offer more and better services to members.

A co-op also means that the accounting will be transparent to any co-op member.

Membership is free and comes with an easy to design and customize account/profile.

While may accept direct donations, most of the cooperative’s revenues will come from service/transaction fees and advertising. Surplus revenues will be used for various member programs such as affiliate commissions, education grants, micro and mini grants, and other programs voted on by the membership. We hope these will include affordable, renewable energy sources, affordable housing programs, and access to healthy food and clean water.

From the Certificate of Formation of, ‘… The purposes for organizing are, but are not limited to, to empower, support and encourage individuals to improve their quality of life and increase their earning potential; to promote, encourage and support the growth of micro-businesses and other business opportunities; to promote other worthy human endeavors including, but not limited to, arts and culture, scientific research, education, and human rights; to boost local communities while building a global community based on cooperation, collaboration and sharing; and to lessen the burdens of government. Tyson said on their OneSpark profile page.

How did people respond to this new kind of startup? Well out a crowd-funding festival they loved it. Although they didn’t finish in the top three when all was said and done on Sunday, ooWorldcoop was the biggest mover on Saturday.

We ran into Tyson’s partner Seth who filled us in, check out the video below and for more info visit

Check out more OneSpark coverage here.


Startup Grinding Into San Antonio

Startup Grind,Startup Grind San Antonio,startup,startup event,startup commnityStartup Grind is one of the fastest growing startup movements in the country. The Mountain View based organization is “fostering entrepreneurship through story telling” at localized “fireside chat” style events.

Startup Grind was founded by Derek Anderson and his quickly grown to 40 chapters across the country. One of the latest chapters to join was Startup Grind Philly which we reported on last week.

Each city’s chapter of Startup Grind tries to attract top tier speakers, giving their local entrepreneurs and startup communities access to higher profile speakers’ than you would find at other events.

San Antonio is the newest chapter to join Startup Grind, and their first event is just under two weeks away. The April 23rd inaugural Startup Grind San Antonio event will happen at Geekdom in downtown San Antonio.

Jason Seats the cofounder of SliceHost and Managing Director of TechStars Cloud (which graduates this Thursday), is the fireside chat for the first event. The May speaer will be David Spencer, founder of OnBoard Systems. Pat Condon cofounder of Rackspace is on deck for June.

This month’s event will begin at 6pm with pizza and beer and the fireside chat with Jason Seats will kick off at 7pm. There will also be an interactive Q&A session. Early bird tickets are still available for just $10 at this link.

You can find out more about Startup Grind in your area here.

Startup founders including Jermaine Dupri talk about “Why Atlanta”


Dallas Entrepreneur Launches HealthSparx Web Series On Startups & Innovation

HealtSparx,Michael Walsh,Dallas Startup,Health startup,startup podcast


Dallas based entrepreneur Michael Walsh has been extremely busy lately. First off, his Austin Texas based startup, Cariloop, just launched. We interviewed Walsh about his startup that uses the “Expedia” model for geriatric care back in January.

Walsh also just recently launched a new web series called “HealthSparx”. This online web based radio show deals with the intersection of three important industries: health, technology and business.

Each webisode runs about 30 minutes and features commentary, information and an interview with an influential person in health or technology.

Healthsparx is already on it’s fourth webisode.

Episode #1 English majors rock as much as mechanical engineers

Episode #2 How IT plumbing will help healthcare

Episode #3 Every little bit helps in healthcare

Episode #4 Creating the perfect social and private experience

Walsh explains the three big reasons he decided to launch HealthSparx:

1. There is seriously so much cool stuff going on in healthcare right now that no one knows about, and that’s thanks to the innovative entrepreneurs and technology that are finally giving this industry the makeover it so desperately needs. Make no mistake, this makeover is going to take a LONG time for us to really see how great it looks, but we will get there…I am sure of it! I want to share these great stories from across the country and make people more aware of the cool products and services being born. If you have one of these stories for me, go submit your info to me on the “Be A Guest” page, I want to hear from you!


2. No easy way to say this, so I’ll just level with you…Healthcare has gotten ridiculously confusing. This confusion is affecting everyone – you, your business, your employees, on and on. I want to pull the curtain back a bit on what’s going on so you might finally make heads or tails of it. Maybe here, in the HealthSparx community, we can even come up with some things that the “powers that be” aren’t thinking about.


3. I love entrepreneurship – I love talking about entrepreneurs, I love helping entrepreneurs, and I love trying to light a spark within an entrepreneur who doesn’t yet know they are an entrepreneur. So, I’m going to do just that, bring people on the show that might be able to help someone else build that amazing idea they’ve been thinking about. This might include developers, designers, lawyers, financial advisors, investors, accelerators or any other people who think they know what it takes to bring a product or service to life. Take this information, digest it, and if possible, make something happen with it!

The shows are well produced and thought out and if you fit into one of HealthSparx categories feel free to apply to be a guest here.

There’s much more to Dallas than oil and JR, check out these Dallas startup stories here.

Dallas Startup Dormitup To Save College Bound Students Trips To Target

Dormitup,Dallas startup,startup,startup interviewAs the college school year starts to wind down next month, dumpsters will start filling to the brim with all the colorful stuff students purchased headed into the school year from Target. A lot of the housewares and dorm room goods will still be in new packaging. Why? Because gearing up for dorm life can be confusing. Often times it involves lots of trips to the store for things students are told they need but actually don’t.

Well two cousins, Sagar Hemani (Missouri University alumn) and Shanil Wazirali (Texas A&M alumn) have set out to make moving into the dorm much simpler.

Their new startup Dormitup just opened its doors and offers a great new way for students and parents to get everything they need for the dorm in one click (or two). Dormitup provides predetermined packages that are filled with the things students actually need for dorm life.

Inbound college students and their parents can go to Dormitup’s website and order everything in one package. They can also customize their dorm room packages by color. Then everything is delivered to their home (or dorm room) ready to go.  Students and parents can spend their last few weeks preparing for college, saying their good byes and having fun.

We got a chance to talk with Wazirali. Check out the interview below:

What is your startup, what does it do? offers a convenient, affordable, and exciting way for incoming college students to purchase their campus essentials! We focus on providing everything that an incoming college student needs and wants, while maintaining an affordable price and providing high quality products!

Our Story:

Entering college was an exciting moment for us! We were both convinced that the next four years were going to be the best years of our lives!

After receiving our room assignments, we started our research on what to bring to college. This was a tough process. We both felt the need to buy everything on the 3-4 checklists we could get our hands on. We didn’t know any better. All we kept hearing was to make sure to purchase Twin XL bedding. We didn’t even know what Twin XL meant. We dragged our parents from store-to-store trying to find the bare essentials. It wasn’t easy. We both spent nearly a week trying to find these essentials because everything was sold out in stores. Our parents were overwhelmed and extremely frustrated by this process. We don’t blame them; entering college was supposed to be an exciting moment, not a burden.

Just as we thought we purchased everything, we entered our rooms and noticed that they were completely empty. Our parents had to make 3-4 more trips to local retail stores just to make sure we were fully prepared and weren’t missing anything. Both of our parents spent nearly $700, countless amount of gas money, and valuable time through this process.

We knew there had to be a better solution to all this madness?

All throughout college we remembered this horrifying process and came together, wanting to save the lives of all students entering college. We didn’t want other incoming college students to experience what we went through. Upon graduating from college, we knew it was time to launch to provide incoming college students and their families a way to get all of their dorm room essentials, without having to waste time, money, and their sanities.

Where are you based?

Dallas, TX

What is the startup culture like where you are based?

More and more businesses are growing, especially by young entrepreneurs. It seems as if entrepreneurship is starting to be well accepted by people, and more and more people want to own their own businesses.

What problem does your startup solve?

We provide an enjoyable, hassle free, and affordable college shopping experience for parents and students. We do this by offering incoming college students the ability to choose between our four dorm room essentials packages, the opportunity to customize their essentials by the colors and styles of their choice, and the convenience to receive their customized dorm essentials package at their door steps.

What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?

We’ve faced many challenges throughout our startup process. We’ve struggled anywhere from developing the products, to bootstrapping how we market our company to the public, to developing partnerships. The only answer to how we’ve overcome these challenges is being diligent. We’ve conducted years of extensive research and spent many late nights working and scratching our heads to develop the right products and business structure. Our investors and mentors have instilled in us to start small, but dream big, and that’s what we’ve been following. It’s diligence and perseverance that has brought us to launch our website today.

What are some of the milestones your startup has achieved?

We have our own Dorm It Up brand of products, which students will love! We also have a partnership with a major University!

What are your next milestones?

To aim to create a word of mouth business and a well established brand. Our objective is to have people talking about Dorm It Up when they think of college shopping. We aim to develop more and more University partnerships throughout the years, provide the best customer service to our Dorm It Up members, and get our packages in the hands of as many incoming college students as possible!

Who are your mentors and role models?

Our fathers and their third brother are our mentors and role models. They came from nothing and made themselves into successful businessmen. They have taught us the importance of working extremely hard with passion. Our mentors have also emphasized on being the start of something new and leading by example. They mentor us on a daily basis on what business decisions to make, how to be patient with business, how to make quick, yet intelligent decisions, and much more

What are some of the advantages/disadvantages growing your startup outside of Silicon Valley.

We’ve had the pleasure of having our family and friends, as well as our mentors to guide and support us on a daily basis here in Dallas, TX. We have all the resources we need here for our business.

What’s next for your startup?

We are marketing our eGift cards at this time, which allow parents to purchase eGift card packages, and let their graduate customize their package the way they want it. We are continuously working to develop new partnerships and find opportunities to market to parents and graduating high school seniors.

Where can people find out more?

Visit for any information. Our Facebook link is Find us on Twitter @dormitup

Now check out Austin startup Burpy

Houston Startup: Mrked Buy A Cell Phone Case, Teach A Girl To Read

Mrked,Houston startup,Texas startup,startup,startups,startup interviewI technically got out of the cell phone accessories writing business last year when we sold Thedroidguy, however in Austin at SXSW we met Akil Momin the founder of Mrked.

Mrked offers 5 stylish and protective collections of iPhone cases; Crayon Box, Double Dutch, Honor Roll, Classroom and Jungle Gym. Their protective cases have an element of style that you don’t find in run of the mill cases.

What makes Mrked worthy of the pages at the voice of startups everywhere else, is the social spin they put on their company.

The young Houston based startup set out when they built their accessory company to do something social with it. That’s why they partnered with Room To Read an organization that provides education to girls in Asian and African countries.

“We believe in investing in the future, this is why we are supporting the works of Room to Read to help provide access to quality education to girls in Asian and African countries. Education empowers and enlightens people of all genders, and this brings about positive changes in many areas. Statistics show that educated parents raise educated children and that mothers are especially influential in this process. Educated women are able to live productive and enjoyable lives and raise families that do the same. This means that providing girls with proper education is the single most vital tool in eradicating inequality and poverty in the short and long term.” Momin says on the company’s website. 

All three founders of Mrked have parents that migrated from South Asia to provide their sons with a better education. Mrked is their way of giving back.

You can check out the cases at Mrked here.

 Check out these other 60 startup stories from SXSW 2013

Cariloop The Expedia Model For Geriatric Care

Cariloop, Austin startup, Dallas startup,startup, startup interviewElder care and geriatric care are on the rise. As the baby boomer generation starts turning towards assisted living and geriatric care, the industry continues to grow. In 2013 we’re starting to see a new trend of somewhat computer savvy seniors, and their kids, turning to the internet to help find care and services.  We’re also at a time where more and more seniors are trying to prolong their independence by living at home. However, they still need resources.

Austin based Cariloop is a startup that is applying an Expedia like model to finding elder care and geriatric services.

Cariloop’s co-founder Michael Walsh tells us in an interview:

:Cariloop is a web-based platform designed to help geriatric care and service providers digitally market their capabilities. Cariloop’s search engine then allows anyone – healthcare professionals, consumers, patients – to get a more current, accurate snapshot of the providers in their area, reach out to them directly, or share their information with others…all in real-time.”

This gives users access to information that used to take months and months and hundreds of brochures to sift through. Now it’s all accessible at your fingertips and easily comparable.

Check out the rest of our interview with Walsh about this exciting new trend in elder care:

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BargainAdsPlus Is A Curated Smorgasboard Of Video Ads For Every Business

bargainadsplus, Houston startup,Texas startup,startup interviewsIf your business needs to get a video online, one place you may want to try is Sugar Land startup Bargainadsplus. This startup even describes themselves as “no business quite like us”. That’s because they offer video ads, video classifieds, ratings and more. Business owners benefit from having a place to put a variety of video ad content. Consumers benefit because theres no cost to peruse the listings on or connect with service providers.

Bargainadsplus also connects customers with daily deals without having to pay a middle man.

We got a chance to talk with Geoffrey Marlin, founder of Bargainadsplus. Check out our interview below.

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