Google Backs Minnesota Game Startup That Diagnosis ADHD

CogCubed, Minnesota Startup, startup news, Google

CogCubed is a Minnesota based startup that is using an interactive video game platform to help diagnose Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a disorder which has affected 5.4 million children since 2007, according to the CDC.

CogCubed uses gaming platform Sifteo, which debuted two years ago. Sifteo is a set of interactive blocks with small screens on them. Developers have programmed them to do a variety of things.

In the case of CogCubed, Minneapolis child psychiatrist Monika Heller and her game developer husband Kurt Roots invented a game where children use one cube as a mallet to hit a gopher that appears on the other three cubes, according to a report in the Star Trubune.

As the game continues, obstacles such as birds and other animals start appearing on the other screens. The player must continue to focus on the gopher.

Roots and Heller have incorporated 70 different data points in the game to discern things like when the player’s attention drifts and if the player is fidgeting. The couple told the Star Tribune that the game can even help improve a child’s attention span.

While a clinical diagnosis would still require a psychiatrist, Heller is hopeful that they can get CogCubed into homes to help parents with an early diagnosis.

“Six to 12 months is the average waiting period to see a child/adolescent psychiatrist [for a comprehensive evaluation],” she said.. “How phenomenal would it be if Mom could have an assessment tool at home?”

CogCubed is awaiting FDA approval for a version of the game that can be used as a diagnostic tool.

They also have data from a study that validates Roots’ and Hellers’ claims. The study at the University of Minnesota matched a psychiatrist’s diagnosis 75% of the time. The current standard, a computer test called “The Continuous Performance Test,” is accurate about 62% of the time according to Heller.

CogCubed has raised $20,000 from Google. They’re also a finalist in the Minnesota Cup.

You can find out more about CogCubed here at

Photo: StarTribune


Memphis Woman Takes Her Startup Pink Robin Avenue From 48 Hour Launch To Black Enterprise Pitch Finals

Pink Robin Avenue, Memphis Startup,Danielle Inez,Black Enterprise Entrepreneur Conference,startupIn 10 days thousands of entrepreneurs will convene in Columbus Ohio for the biggest celebration of African American entrepreneurship in the country. The Black Enterprise Entrepreneur’s Conference and Expo is four days of celebrating startups, and small businesses led by some of the brightest entrepreneurs in the country.

Names like Robert Johnson (BET), Daymond John (Fubu/Shark Tank) and Magic Johnson are staples within the pages of Black Enterprise Magazine and in the halls of the conference in years past, and present.

One of the biggest attractions at the conference is the Elevator Pitch Competition. Entrepreneurs with new startups and small businesses have 60 seconds to pitch a vetting panel and if selected, a panel of judges on site at the conference. 10 semifinalists have been selected from across the country. Those semifinalists will have 60 seconds to pitch the judges. Then, they will eliminate five of the semifinalists and the remaining five will pitch the judges for 30 seconds. After the 30 second pitches, there is a Q&A session with the judges and then one entrepreneur will win $10,000 to help grow their company.

Danielle Inez, Memphis native and founder of Pink Robin Avenue, has been selected as one of the ten semifinalists. Her startup is a tech hybrid that allows users to order everything they need for the perfect party online and in one box. Their favors, decorations, theme pieces, and everything else they need for the perfect event is then delivered to their home.

Inez initially pitched the concept in Memphis at the Upstart 48 Hour Launch in December. Her idea was quickly chosen to develop out over the 48 hour hackathon. By Sunday afternoon she had won the weekend competition. Early feedback recognized how valuable Pink Robin Avenue would be, especially for busy people.

The founder is also key to the success of Pink Robin Avenue. Inez owns a PR company that specializes in high profile, luxury and celebrity events. Inez also spent part of her career as a wedding planner with exquisit taste and is incredibly organized with an eye for design, and detail that many people are just too busy to notice.

danielle2Inez is a busy woman. She spends her days tending to the details of her PR firm, diPR which includes a mixed portfolio of clients that touch the luxury world, celebrities and even non profit organizations. She spends another full time jobs’ worth of hours working on Pink Robin Avenue.

Although relatively new to the startup space, Inez has been an entrepreneur her entire life. She got a taste of entrepreneurism and non profits when she started a company focusing on mentoring with her mother. Inez put herself through college helping people plan weddings, events and eventually pivoting that business to the PR company.

Now Inez is ecstatic that a magazine that’s been inspiring her since high school has selected her in the contest. “I’m amazed! I’ve followed the contest for a couple of years and I’ve read the magazine since high school. I’m so happy to be able to represent my city and my network of entrepreneurs from the main stage.” Inez told in an interview.

Inez brings a well versed pitch with a bubbly personality, and she knows her stuff, but above all she’s a fierce competitor; “I’m extremely competitive, so first and foremost, I wanna win! This is also an incredible opportunity for exposure for my business and myself; I plan to plant the seed for potentially valuable connections. Last – but certainly not least – I hope to inspire someone else to step out of their comfort zone and take advantage of the platforms that can help grow their business.”

Inez is one of the founding members of Memphis’ Upstart program. Upstart is initiative set in place by Launch Your City and focuses on empowering women entrepreneurs. Elizabeth Lemmonds is the Chief Relationship Office for Launch Your City and the Director for Upstart. She’s been working closely with Inez since December.

” Ever since Danielle brought Pink Robin Avenue into the Launchpad and to our female founder 48 Hour Launch, I’ve been impressed with both her concept and her sheer tenacity. This remarkable opportunity is a testament to both. I’m proud to have worked with her and look forward to the huge things ahead for Pink Robin Avenue!” Lemmonds told us.

Inez’ Pink Robin Avenue and other startups like Mentor Me, currently accelerating in the Seed Hatchery program are a testament to the fast success Upstart Memphis has seen.

The finals for the Black Entreprise Elevator Pitch contest are bitter sweet for Inez who will miss Seed Hatchery’s Demo Day while she is pitching in Columbus at the Black Enterprise Event. “I can’t believe I’m going to miss Brittany’s pitch (Mentor Me), Brit’sbusinss has evolved into something that seems incredibly profitable”. Mentor Me was one of the other startups selected to build out at that Upstart 48 Hour Launch event where Pink Robin Avenue was born.

Here’s Pink Robin Avenue’s second ever pitch at 48 Hour Launch.

Check out Pink Robin Avenue here.

We’ve been tracking Inez and Pink Robin Avenue since day 1 find out more here at


5 Startups In Alabama Competing For $100,000 As Part Of Launch Pad Competition

Alabama Launchpad,Alabama startups,startup newsAlabama’s startup supporters have put their money where there mouth is as the current  Alabama Launch Pad competition prepares to come to a close late next week.

Alabama’s Launch Pad competition began in 2005 and gives early stage startups and small businesses a chance to compete for much needed funding that can help spark a company to the next level.

The current competition saw 12 startups compete in a pitch off style competition on March 3rd which initially cut the number of teams down to 7. They then had another “market assessment” which narrowed the field to five. Those five remaining teams will compete in a finale on May 3rd which will determine how much of the $100,000 prize each team will get.

“Our goal is to really feed the pipeline for early stage startups. Having just one competition per year is not enough,” Angela Wier told the Birmingham Business Journal. “What we would like to do is run a pre-seed four times per year, but we can’t leap to that overnight.”

The Economic Development Partnership Of Alabama raises the Launch Pad prize money from the private sector, the Alabama Research Alliance and seven Alabama Universities.

Launch Pad Programs Director Greg Sheek is hopeful that they will raise additional funds to run another program this year, possibly targeting “speed up” startups.

One of the challenges that Sheek and Wier are working with is that 50% of the money coming out of the Birmingham based Central Alabama Angel Network is going to out of state companies. Both are hoping to curb that by giving more companies access to programming that will prepare them better for pitching investor.

“We want to get in a place where we’d like to prepare more and more companies to pitch to the investment community and keep them right here,” Wier said.

Alabama ranks as one of the friendliest cities to small business, read that story here!

NJ Startup PoetCode Wins “Most Fundable Startup At Startupalooza 2013

PoetCode, New Jersey Startup,Startupalooza,startups,startup competitionThe “Most Fundable Startup” award at the 2013 STARTUPALOOZA in New York City has been given to PoetCode, the New Jersey-based creative content company behind the breakthrough eBook and Massively Multiplayer Online game (MMO) in one, Dynasty of the Magi. PoetCode was selected as the winner of a group of 25 aspiring entrepreneurs.

With Dynasty of the Magi, PoetCode has created the first dual-platform interactive experience that allows the gamer/reader to shape the outcome of the eleven eBook fantasy series. This ecosystem of hybrid storytelling that PoetCode has developed has been named liMMO, short for Literary Immersive Massive Multiplayer Online Game.

The Dynasty of the Magi trial version for iPad was launched on the App Store in December of 2012. The app is now in the process of being updated based on user feedback and has an expected App Store and Google Play Store release in early summer 2013.

As a result of their STARTUPALOOZA win, PoetCode will be a Featured Entrepreneur Guest at The Yale Club New York’s Private Equity Forum on Thursday, May 2nd. The New York Private Equity Forum is America’s premier business funding conference for early and later-stage companies seeking growth capital.

Dynasty of the Magi was also awarded the Publishing Innovations Awards’ Best Transmedia Project of 2012, as well as the Quality, Excellence, Design (QED) seal that serves as the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval™” for eBooks.

Visit the Dynasty of the Magi Website

Startup Front has something brewing for startups just outside of Chicago.

SXSW13: Hatch Finalists Announced

Hatch Pitch,SXSWi,sxsw13,startup village, startup americaWhile there will be hundreds of startups vying to pitch anyone with a pulse during SXSWi 2013, Hatch, the official pitch contest as part of Startup Village has announced the finalists.  Each company will present a four minute business plan to a panel of corporate, angel, and venture investor judges in front of the SXSW audience on March 10, 2013 from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM at the Hilton Austin Downtown in Austin, TX. The audience will also weigh in with comments and votes using mobile and web tools.

These twelve companies were chosen from around the world to participate in the competition. Each will receive one-on-one coaching from mentors to refine their presentations in preparation for the competition. Applicants were evaluated based on factors such as: How revolutionary the idea is. The impact it will make on the world. The problem it solves and for whom. The market opportunity. The unique advantage of the startup founders and team.

Founders compete to win prizes and gain recognition to take their startup to the next stage. The judges will determine in which companies they would invest their virtual $1M. Last year’s winner, Distil, announced a substantial seed investment led by HATCH judge Frankel of ff Venture Capital.

The finalists are:

Future Ad Labs
GeriJoy Inc.
Ginkgotree, Inc.
Lynx Laboratories
MobileX Labs
Pervasive Group Inc.
Reactor Labs
Reality Mogul

Hatch is presented by the Houston Technology Center, one of Forbes’ “Twelve Business Incubators Changing The World”. It’s a collaborative effort between Houston and Austin’s thriving startup communities.

You can find out more about the Hatch Pitch Competition here.

Did you see the startup pitches at 2013? Don’t miss 2014, tickets on sale now at 2013 prices, click here

Portland Opens Up Applications For Startup PDX: Challenge

Startup PDX Challenge, Portland startup, startup accelerator, startup incubatorPortland Oregon’s Portland Development Commission has kicked off a new initiative to lure startups to the Central Eastside part of town. The new program called the Startup PDX Challenge is a non-equity based grant program that will give up to six startups $10,000 grants and free office space for a year in what once served as Mayor Charlie Hale’s campaign office.

The office space is located in what most people in Portland know as “Produce Row”. It’s for the most part, an industrial area that the city is trying to revitalize with new types of restaurants, businesses and now technology startups.

There are several equity based tech incubators in the Portland area. This program is the first of it’s kind where the money comes with no strings attached (other than working in the office space). The PDC has a budget of $150,000 for the project which includes the grant money as well as money to make improvements to the building where the startups will be housed. In consideration for the improvements the landlord is not charging the tenant startups rent this year.

In addition to the cash and office space, startups selected for the program will also have access to services donated by Portland area law firms, accountants and human resources services according to Oregon Live.

The Startup PDX challenge has already lined up several sponsors including; Perkins Coie; Davis Wright Tremaine LLP; Perkins & Co; Trupp HR; Xenium; Lewis & Clark Bank; Business Accelerator at Portland State University; Pie; Portland Seed Fund; Technology Association of Oregon; Portland Development Commission; Oregon Entrepreneur Network and Transfer Online.

Applications are due April 4th and can be filled out here.

Kauffman Foundation Follows Hackanooga’s Footsteps With “Hacking The Gigabit City”


Over the course of last week’s The Startup Conference people saw that Tennessee was a contender in the startup and entrepreneurial space. What some may not realize is that it Chattanooga Tennessee that was the first to offer wall to wall gigabit Ethernet.

Two years ago Chattanooga, the city known for it’s choo-choo, became “The Gig City”. As the gig came online, Chattanooga’s startup leaders like Launch Tennessee CEO Charlie Brock, and CoLab founder Sheldon Grizzle quickly embraced the high speed Internet and developed several startup focused initiatives around it. All the while Google was still vetting out locations.

The first such initiative was The Gig Tank a hybrid accelerator that welcomed not only a cohort of startup teams but students as well. The program ran the entire summer last year and resulted in a student team winning $50,000 and a startup team, Banyan, winning another $100,000 and relocating (at their own accord) to Chattanooga.

This fall the Gig City welcomed a hackathon event that drew developers and hackers from across the country. The event was intimately known as Hackanooga.

Now with its big budget roll out almost complete, Kansas City is starting to embrace some of the ideas already tried and proven in Chattanooga.

Deep rooted startup supporters, the Mozilla Foundation and the Kauffman Foundation have teamed up to bring a hackathon to America’s newest gigabit city, Kansas City.

Both organizations continue to support the efforts in Chattanooga as well.

The Kansas City event is being held March 22-24, 2013. During the 54 hour period participants will hack together apps utilizing and taking advantage of Kansas City’s gigabit fiber

“We are looking for hackers to use the speed of the Google Fiber network to build applications that push the tech envelope forward,” said Cameron Cushman, manager in Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. “We are trying to invent the future, and Kansas City is at the forefront of ultra-high-speed internet access. This event is for people who want to work and build something that can truly help others and improve lives.”

The event will begin on Friday, March 22 with dinner and rapid-fire project pitches, culminating with the formation of teams in specific areas, including health care, public safety, education and gaming. The next two days will be focused on designing, creating, making and building. The event concludes on Sunday, March 24 with demos of the applications to a panel of judges.
The applications created during the event could evolve into a submission to the Mozilla Ignite Challenge, which on April 3 will award $250,000 of seed money and mentorship to help the most promising projects get off the ground.

They are offering scholarship for free travel to Kansas City to a limited number of hacker, for consideration you need to apply here by February 26, 2013.

Ft. Lauderdale Startup: clearCi Makes Finals In Upstart Competition

clearCi,Ft. Lauderdale startup,Florida startup,startup competition, Upstart 2012Last month we covered Ft. Lauderdale startup clearCi by way of our content partners at StarTropica. ClearCi simplifies competitive intelligence, which for any company, can be a big factor in their success.

Back in the 70’s  and 80’s “competitive intelligence” may have been viewed as spying, however it’s common practice in today’s business world, in fact if you’re not doing it you could end up losing customers, and an overall grip on your business. The problem though, is in the fact that there is so much competitive intelligence available. clearCi makes it easy for companies both big and small to streamline their competitive intelligence and find the most important information available, to make decisions.

The young Ft. Lauderdale company is making in impact in South Florida, and now across the country. They’ve been selected as a finalist in not one but four categories in the upcoming 2012 Up-Start Cloud Awards.  The finals for the awards will be held in San Francisco on December 12th where Emmanuel Trenche and clearCi’s founder and CEO, Joe Levy, will be on hand to help garner votes and pitch their startup.

“The first round was entirely based on gaining votes from our customer base and general public,” said Emmanuel Trenche, VP of Marketing Communications at clearCi. “Going up against Microsoft, Dell and SIlicon Valley startups made us think creatively to stand out.”

clearCi was selected as a finalist in the following categories:

Best Cloud Business Intelligence/Analytice
Best Big Data Solution
Best Cloud Service Provider
Best Industry Application


Check out clearCi here

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Iowa City Startup: Ready To Go In America Wins Dream Big Contest

Ready To Go In America, Iowa Startup,startup,startups,startup competitionA startup that provides a pocket guide and mobile app for international students visiting the United States has won the Iowa “Creative Corridor’s Dream Big Contest”.

Ready to Go In America came away with the $5,000 prize in the contest last Thursday after pitching to a panel of judges. This moved the startup into the next round where they will be competing against other Iowa startups for $10,000 this time around.

The startup was founded by Jeff Owens, Mekinda Mekinda and Bobby Schlichting. Mekinda is an international student currently enrolled in a program at Kirkwood Community College. Owens is a senior informatics and art major at the University of Iowa and Schlicting is a farmer and entrepreneur from Vinton Iowa.

“It’s unreal,” Owens said to Iowa City Area Development. “There was so much competition. I was surprised to win, and having so many people supporting our idea makes me even more excited about it.”

“This is a dream coming true,” said Mekinda, who is orignially from Cameroon. “I’ve always heard the USA is a country of dreams. Now I know it is truly a reality.“

Ready To Go In America beat out 32 other entrepreneurs who competed in the contest that garnered over 10,000 votes. The top five startups in the voting competition squared off in front of the judges and an audience of nearly 100.

While Ready To Go In America was the official winner the judges also liked the pitch and presentation from high school student Eli Shepherd. Shepherd has found an environmentally friendly way to produce skateboards and apparel. He told the judges during his pitch that he needed $300 to fund the buying of equipment to produce his skateboard decks. The judges put the $300 together on their own to help Shepherd get his startup off the ground.

“Seeing so many people and organizations come together to support our region’s entrepreneurs has made the Creative Corridor Dream Big contest an inspiring project to be part of,” said Amanda Styron of Seed Here Studio, the group coordinating the contest and event. “We had a great night at the Live Pitch + Tech Brew! It was the perfect way to wrap-up the contest. I’m totally inspired by our growing community. It was a great night to get inspired, connect with the community and celebrate going big.”

The lead sponsor for the statewide contest is the Iowa Banker’s Association. Iowa is a hub of startup excitement. There are a lot of great startups including Ashton Kutcher backed Dwolla, in the state of Iowa.


Source: Iowa City Area Development

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AngelHack, World’s Biggest Hackathon Coming To DC And We Have Free Tickets

Angelhack, Angelhack dc, startup,startups,startup event, hackathon, Anton Gelman, Cont3ntThe old days, picturing a dark room filled with pocket protectors, broken glasses and keyboards are long gone. The hackathon has become a big part of our culture in the startup world. It seems like everyone with a pulse on technology has found the way to create a hackathon to design this, hack this, break into this, vet this, or program that. Microsoft recently held a huge hackathon on their Windows 8 platform. Startup Weekend holds several hackathons every week.

None of these hackathons can parallel the enormous size, booty (prize stash), resources and sponsors of Angelhack.

Angelhack is going down this weekend in 11 cities with 2500 hackers and one gigantic Angelhack crown. Hackers, coders, developers, founders and entrepreneurs will converge on Tel Aviv, Paris, London, Washington DC, Boston, Toronto, Los Angeles, Seattle, Santiago and San Francisco for one crazy weekend of hacking.

The event kicks off at 9:00am on Saturday morning and runs through 5:00pm Sunday night. This hackathon isn’t for the weak at heart though. This isn’t a turn the lights off at midnight and come back at 8am kind of hackathon. Angelhack will run continuously  all weekend long.

Angelhack is one of the most critically acclaimed hackathons in the world because of the creativity and startups that it helps create. All 11 locations will narrow the field down to 25 teams from around the world. These 25 teams will win six weeks of mentorship and be flown to Silicon Valley where they’ll show off their finished products to media, investors and other startups. In the past 30% of the finalists have found enough funding to continue building out their companies.

Our good friend Anton Gelman, the CEO and co-founder of Cont3nt is the Washington DC AngelHack coordinator and he’s given nibletz 35 free tickets to the event. Just go to this link to get your ticket and enter the word “nibletz” you’ll instantly save the $60 off the hackathon ticket price and be ready to go.

Gelman told our friends at DC’s

“Over the summer, I happened to be in New York and decided to check out AngelHack New York. Crazy enough, I won! They sent us to San Francisco in the following month to compete with other winners from other countries. It was probably one of the coolest events I’ve been to, and then I thought, this was such an amazing experience in New York, why can’t we have one in D.C.? So I arranged a few meetings, made a few phone calls, and was able to convince them to host an event here in D.C. And here we are, the first AngelHack competition is going to happen this weekend!”

Did we mention that Angelhack offers $650,000 in cash and prizes. If you’re anywhere within 300 miles of Washington DC, your plans for this weekend are now set.


Get a free ticket to Angelhack from nibletz click here  

Source: InTheCapital

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Baltimore Startup bytelion Introducing Crowdfunding Platform For 6 Minority, Veteran Or Women Led Startups At A Time

A software company in Maryland called bytelion is planning on unveiling a new crowdfunding platform by the end of this month.  The new platform, called Select 6, is different from every other crowdfunding platform in a couple of key ways.

First off Select 6 is specifically targeting startups and ideas from minorities, women and veterans. These startups are sometimes overlooked by other traditional capital or skipped over on other crowdfunding sites with thousands of projects at a time.

Select 6 will feature 6 startups or ideas at a time. Rather than going to a site like Kickstarter or Indiegogo with thousands and thousands of projects, Select 6 will select six different startups to get funded and after those specific ideas and startups have either reached a time limit or raised their allotted funds, the next six will start the funding process.

Those 6 startups or idea, founders, which Select 6 calls pilots, will also participate in the S6 Startup Accelerator

Crowdfunding is one of the most exciting social innovations to empower creative and socially-minded entrepreneurs in recent years, Select 6 will be the first to channel this medium to provide more resources, exposure to professional mentors, and access to institutionalized funding that many minority, women, and veterans have a hard time finding when they start a business.

Even though minority and women-led ventures statistically perform the same or better year over year when compared to all startups that are angel-funded, a staggeringly low number of angel investors and startup accelerator programs nation-wide have MWV’s in mind or in their programs.

The mission of Select 6 is to help MWV-led startups create success stories in the marketplace and community; To share the education, experience and entertainment that is entrepreneurship & innovation with the public; To create sound investments in promising startups that can scale and expand.

Howard Cheng, founder and Chief Entrepreneur of Select 6, is emphatic about one thing: “We want to help MWV entrepreneurs and innovators find their wings and take flight with the help of diverse communities because we believe in their potential and tenacity. Entrepreneurship and innovation are key engines of economic and community growth, and Select 6 is our solution to addressing a national concern of creating value and jobs in the marketplace.”

Bytelion’s CEO, Terrance McGregor shares: “We are excited to work with Select 6 to develop such a meaningful platform for MWVs. We will continue to serve as a resource for Select 6 and S6 Pilots to get lean in their web development and startup approach. Staying lean and agile is the only way to go for SMEs because we can’t anticipate and predict everything, but we help clients get from idea to product faster with daily incremental improvements and updates that they can track and control. Time after time, we see that going lean speeds up the development process and keeps costs under control.”


Sign up for Select 6’s LaunchRock here

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Startup Maryland Announces 8 “Pitch Across Maryland” Finalists

Startup Maryland, StartupMD, Baltimore startup,Pitch Across Maryland,startup,startups, startup newsWe’ve been covering the Startup Maryland “Pitch Across Maryland” bus trip since it started in September. Why, because we’re originally from Maryland,( not because Mike Binko has thanked, us mentioned us or even retweeted us) regardless though it’s one of the best entrepreneur and startup activities we’ve seen. The “Pitch Across Maryland” bus tour was created by Mike Binko along with Julie Lenzer Kirk. The bus made stops all across Maryland from as far east as Ocean City/Salisbury and as far west as the mountains.

Along the way, they scooped up over 160 startup pitches. In an earlier article we reported that Binko was expecting around 50 pitches. What ended up happening is nothing short of spectacular. Not only did over 160 startups pitch, other startups came out to the bus stops to party and participate in the festivities and even Governor Martin O’Malley came out. When O’Malley came out though, he was also required to pitch.

Now Startup Maryland has announced the 8 finalists. These 8 finalists were chosen by a panel of entrepreneur and investor experts and they will now pitch at the 2012 Entrepreneur Expo on Tuesday,

Here they are:

Imagine IPD (Innovative Product Designs)

Founder and Executive Design Manager Raymond Cooper, has come up with a new wind turbine that he says is going to “solve so many more problems and issues with energy, it’s far  beyond what many people initially thought it would be”. Cooper has patented his turbine.

Cooper says the turbine is bird friendly, and can produce 2 to 3x the amount of energy current turbines can produce.  According to Cooper the turbine can be scaled from large side to micro size.


Unbound Concepts

Unbound Concepts is the creator of “Book Leveler” an iOS app that allows the user to capture the ISBN number from a book. The app will then return the reading level of the book to the user. Now you don’t have to worry if the books you’re getting for your kid are too easy or too hard. With Book Leveler, if you’re on the fence about your kid reading a certain book you can quickly get the information you need to know, without reading the book.

Founder Katie Palencsar says that her startup is critical with the new “Common Core State Standards” which in a nutshell says that classroom material for all students needs to be matched according to reading level.


WooFound is a personalization tool that knows what you like and helps you find those things. We’ve actually covered WooFound here at nibletz before. WooFound is like hot or not for things. In his pitch video, founder Dan Sines says you can take things as wide ranging as beer and anthropology and say whether they are “me” or not “me”

Check out this other nibletz coverage of WooFound

Same Grain

Same Grain CEO Eric Eller is no stranger to pitching. Their company that counts executives from Apple, AOL, and Millennial Median in it’s pedigree, has already won pitch contests from the Washington Post and  the Start Right Business Plan Competition.

Same Grain is a social discovery tool available on the web, mobile or as a Facebook app which according to Eller lets you find and connect with people privately, that are just like you.

Same Grain is like for friends.


Koolspan is a digital security company. They manufacture a chip called the “Trust Chip” that is deployed in cell phones, smart phones, tablets, and computers. The chip has a suite of security and encryption apps on it that make securing data, voice and text easy and incredibly safe.

According to Greg Smith the company has already sold to Telefonica, Vodaphoen, T-Mobile Europe and they have their trust chip private labeled for AT&T. The company employs 25 people in their Bethesda Maryland headquarters.

Autonomy Engine (Debra Cancro)

This Carroll County startup is the creator of a mobile app called Hone Your Tone. It’s one of the most interesting pitches we’ve seen from the batch of Startup Maryland pitches. Hone Your Tone works in conjunction with a headset or lapel microphone and instantly gives feedback on the way you’re coming across.

This would be excellent when you’re in meetings or conference calls where you want to project a certain mood or tone in the call or meeting. You could also use it to practice speaking so that you don’t come off too arrogant or perhaps inexperienced.

For some Hone Your Tone could be the key to more sales, more closed deals, and better relationships.

SynAm Vaccine

This startup, founded by Carolyn Chen, is working on finding a vaccine for pneumonia.  According to Chen, pneumonia as we know it has 91 different strains. The current vaccines on the market only address a fraction of those strains. Chen’s new vaccine will cover all of them.

Pneumonia is the largest killer of children in the world with over 2 million. There are over 1 million senior hospitalizations a year in the US and over half of people with HIV/AIDS succumb to pneumonia.

SynAm believes they’ve created the first universal vaccine for pneumonia.

CoFounders Lab

CoFounders Lab may be a little late to the party. Shahab Kaviani’s startup is exactly what FounderSync in Cleveland is doing and to a degree what Founder Dating in the valley does. It’s the for founders. It’s the LinkedIn for entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for a CoFounder, CoFounders Lab may be the place for you.

Their success is going to come in product design, and how quickly they can scale.

Congratulations to these 8 startups. They’ll be pitching on Tuesday at the Entrepreneur Expo.

What do you think, tell us in the comments below via Facebook.

Here are my picks.

I am intrigued by Raymond Cooper’s pitch but for me to go all the way with that startup I would have to see the turbine and understand how it’s patentable and so scalable. If it’s even a fraction of as good as Cooper says it is he may do very very well.

I like Dan Sines from WooFound they’ve already raised money, have great advisors and are set to go.

What I’m most excited about though is the Hone Your Tone app. Communication is key and essential. I would love to use the app and practice speaking so the next time I am 1:1 with someone I can have the upper hand or when I’m speaking to a group of people.

Good luck to all the teams on Tuesday!


Startup Maryland

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200 Startups Participate In Startup Maryland’s Pitch Across Maryland Bus Tour

Late this past summer Startup Maryland co-founders Mike Binko and Julie Lenzer Kirk announced that they would be holding a one of a kind bus tour across the state of Maryland in September. Binko and Lenzer Kirk were able to procure a giant tour bus, get it wrapped and outfitted with a video studio, work space and a place for startups to sit and talk as it caravaned across the state.

The trip began September 11th and ended on September 28th. The bus adventure started on Maryland’s eastern shore and continued all the way to the communities in Western Maryland.

“The Pitch Across Maryland tour, which ran from September 11 – 28, 2012, held celebration and promotional rallies at 25 stops throughout the state of Maryland,”  Lenzer Kirk, Startup Maryland Co-Chair said in a statement. “Culminating in the Last Stop, First Step party and celebration event at Merriweather Post Pavilion on September 28th this Tour has rightly placed the spotlight on the vitality in Maryland’s innovation economy.”

Both Lenzer Kirk and Binko are passionate about the startup community in the state of Maryland as is Howard County Executive and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Ken Ulman, who provided some financial backing for the trip.  When the bus tour was announced Binko was optimistic that 40-50 startups would use the onboard video studio to do pitch as part of a state wide contest. When all was said and done 168 startups actually did pitches. Maryland’s sitting Governor, Martin O’Malley also pitched on the bus. Binko told a group of Startup America regional champions in October that O’Malley had contacted the bus team and asked to come and take a tour. Admission to that tour was a pitch video.

“These videos are a testament to the strength, dedication and diversity of Maryland’s entrepreneurial community,” said Binko in a news release. “When we launched the Pitch Across Maryland tour we thought we might have 40-50 entrepreneurs join us on the Tour Bus and pitch, so 168 is phenomenal. Including all the rallies and events we held more than 200 startups actually participated in the tour.”

In addition to the 168 startups that pitched another 30 or so startups came out to the 25 stops that were on the bus trip. Some even volunteered to help.

All 168 pitches (not including the governors) are posted to YouTube where anyone can vote for their favorite pitch. A prize will be awarded to the entrepreneur with the most “view” votes after the voting closes on December 31st. Startup Maryland will announce 7 finalists next week on November 7th. Those finalists will have a chance to pitch during the entrepreneurial expo November 13th.

Members of the judging panel include serial entrepreneur peers as well as representatives from TEDCO, DBED, universities, incubators/accelerators and economic development agencies (EDAs).


Get warmed up for Tuesday and go vote for your favorite pitch here

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Denver Startup Appit Ventures Wins $50,000 In Business Plan Competition

AppitVentures,Denver startup,Colorado startup,startup,startups,competitionsThere are a fair amount of quality startups out there who’s purpose is to help startups. Take for instance. As the “voice of startups everywhere else” we’re providing news coverage and traction to startups across the nation and around the world that they may not otherwise get.

Appit Ventures, a Denver startup, is another great startup that fits in that category. Appit Ventures helps entrepreneurs write business plans, grow their business and get access to funding.  They also build custom mobile applications through a revenue sharing model. They also provide strategic consulting and post launch strategies.

The startup won $50,000 in Denver’s first ever JumpStart Biz Plan Awards.  In addition to the cash AppIt Ventures also receives free office space for a year at Galvanize a new hub/incubator for startups. Professional legal services provided by Polsinelli Shughart and tax services from Deloitte were part of the prize package as well.

Appit Ventures will also receive 60 hours of strategic marketing services fromDovetail Solutions, social media consulting from, and entrepreneurship mentoring from TiE Rockies.

“The quality of business plans presented in this inaugural program has been truly inspiring,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement. “Each of these entries further illustrates the strength and vitality of Denver’s small business climate. Our city has no shortage of promising entrepreneurial gems, and we are committed to helping our businesses grow and stay right here in our world-class city.”

Other JumpStart Biz Plan finalists were Big Mountain Robotics, Choozle, Fresh Takes Kitchen, Guerilla Gravity, Ibotta, One World Labs, Presm, The Uber Sausage and VertiFresh.

“Starting with over 150 companies and being selected to the top 10, we were honored,” said Jeff Macco co-founder of Appit Ventures. “Getting to the top three, we were humbled.”


Check out Appit Ventures here

Source: Denver Post

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