Shark Tank Startup From Utah Wins National Small Business Video Contest

You may have seen Kisstixx on ABC’s Shark Tank. The innovative new lip balms that have some kind of attraction, secret formula that makes kissing more compatible, was able to garner a $200,000 investment from Mark Cuban.  When Cuban is asked about Shark Tank startups that he really likes, he often references Kissstix.

The Utah Valley University student founders of Kisstixx, Dallas Robinson and Mike Buonomo, shared their story via video in a small business contest and were one of four winners selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“We are so proud of Dallas and Mike. They are the quintessential entrepreneurs; innovative, driven, disciplined and always learning,” said Shauna Theobald, director of UVU’s Woodbury School of Business Entrepreneurship Institute to “In spite of their rapid ascent into the national spotlight, they remain committed to connecting and collaborating with other startups and with proven mentors. They’ve demonstrated the power of leveraging the resources and networks of the UVU startup community.”

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Utah Startup CompleteSpeech Wins $100k For Building A Better Retainer


An orthodintic/speech pathology startup in Salt Lake City Utah has come home with the $100,000 prize in Utah’s 2012 Springboard Business Competition.

Dan Smith and Dave Larsen, the founders of CompleteSpeech won the competition for their patented retainer called the SmartPalete.

SmartPalete is an orthodontic retainer that has electronic sensors built into the plate. Those sensors record the movements of the tongue and mouth when the patient is talking.

Speech Pathologists can take the recordings made with the SmartPalate retainer and analyze them. They can also use the recordings to show the patient the movements of the mouth and tongue while they are speaking.

The prize is a mix of $50,000 in cash and the other $50,000 in valuable business services. The competition doesn’t stop there though. Smith and Larsen will compete three more times over the next year to win up to $250,000 more in cash and prizes and the honor of being the state champions.

CompleteSpeech beat out a field of over 1,000 initial entrants and then 12 finalists with a tough field of judges including Fraser Bullock, managing director of Sorenson Capital; Amy Anderson, chief executive officer of Mediconnect; and SkullCandy CEO Jeremy Andrus.

“If you have a good idea, you need to plan it out (and) get all the resources that you can around you,” said Larsen, chief executive officer of CompleteSpeech told ksl.comYou need to believe in yourself and go do it.”

Groupon To Go Head To Head Against Square On Mobile Transactions

Groupon the daily deals site is reportedly interested in entering the Mobile Commerce field to compete with the likes of Square and most recently PayPal. The company who is embroiled in controversy in almost anything it does, from how it reports it’s profits to how it stock raises, wants to handle your money.

Business Insider is reporting that it’ll charge 1.8% transaction fee and a $0.15 per transaction charge for payments that they process. Whereas Square charges 2.75% with no per transaction fee and  PayPal Here charges 2.7%, also with no transaction fee. In a risky move, Groupon will provide not only the device that retailers can charge customers, but also an iPod Touch to take the payments with. Like Yahoo, which recently made waves by releasing a semi browser for the web, and an iOS application, Groupon which keeps failing and is being mishandled would rather throw as many things against a wall and see what sticks versus fixing what’s wrong and instead is trying to hide from this.

Source: Business Insider

28 Startups Compete For Best of The Buzz In Washington DC, 3 Are Victorious

We’re now bringing you coverage from both TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2012 and CapitalConnection 12/TechBUZZ in Washington DC.

Today in the nation’s capital 28 different companies did four minute pitches to a packed house vying for “Best of the BUZZ”. Those three companies will head to the Main Stage tomorrow afternoon to compete in the TechBuzz Showdown.

In this contest the audience is given the power to vote via the Disruptathon app.

The 28 companies were:

AakinaTek, LLC

Aardvark Sensors

Activity Rocket LLC


Augaroo, Inc.

Barrel of Jobs


CloudeAssurance, Inc.








Kapta Systems

Kinergy Health, LLC


My Design


RideLeads Inc.


Speek Inc.

Syllabuster, Inc.

By audience vote the three “Best of BUZZ” at this years TechBUZZ 12 are:


Augaroo is building a next generation real time big data visualization system called Zoomdata. The system processes real-time data streams and generates tactile, interactive visualizations on web and mobile denies. Through Zoomdata, which is currently beta testing, users can experience data analysis in an entirely new way. was the winter of the Startup America TechBUZZ Challenge Contest earlier this month. They won the coveted 28th presenter spot in today’s competition.  Cont3nt is a real-time marketplace for entrepreneurial media and visual journalism. The platform allows video journalists to monetize their content in new disruptive ways without having to “know somebody”.

Speek is a simplified conference calling ervice which leverages modern web services and VOIP/Telephony takeaways. Speek users will be able to own a “Spek” line which may be shared via a personal URL. Speek leverages viral growth principals and will offer free and premium services.

TechBUZZ kicked off today in Washington DC with a keynote from Founder and CEO of Opower Dan Yates. Tonight will be an evening of festivities celebrating the “Sterling Companies” alumni of the 25 year Capital Connection program.

Tomorrow there will be pitches on the main stage by companies who are a little further along then the ones today. They may come seeking funding, they could also be pre-IPO. No matter what, Nibletz the voice of startups everywhere else, will bring you all the action.

Tomorrow rounds out with a keynote by America Online founder Steve Case. Later tomorrow evening is a TechCocktail DC Sessions event with Startup America CEO Scott Case (no relation).


Arizona Military Startup: AlphaStripe Wins Austin Startup AppSumo’s Lean Startup Challenge

alphastripe,lean startup,startup,military startup,We’re starting to see more and more great stories of one startup from “everywhere else” helping another startup from “everywhere else”. That’s the case here with the story of Arizon based Military Startup AlphaStripe.

AlphaStripe provides a multimedia platform for military veterans and participants in wars and conflict situations to record and share their stories.  The Arizona startup is made up of several ASU entrepreneurs, two of which were previous founders of ASU Edison startup companies.

We’re fortunate at to have two former military people on staff. One of our co-founders and Editor at Large, Brent Fishman, was active duty military and said:

“As a former soldier in the United States Army, I can understand the need for something like AlphaStripe. When we come back from a deployment and settle into civilian life, AlphaStripe will help those who have been through it, cope by being able to share and relive those moments with other troops and our families”.

Our Florida based east coast editor Alex Smith, who served in combat on two tours to Iraq and one to Afghanistan,  as a United States Marine, added:

” Peace of mind. When it comes to deployments, many of us hold on to the memories as long as we can and unfortunately PTSD keeps those negative memories playing on constant loop. To have a platform such as the one above, I feel that the user would benefit from not only sharing their life experiences with others that can relate, but also with the healing progress that many Armed service men and women that have undiagnosed cases of PTSD”

Smith, who was diagnosed with PTSD, often deals with it by talking about his experiences in the military as often as he can. He takes great pride, when we are at conventions and other events, to sync up with those mobile, wireless and technology companies that are either founded by former military people or who’s technology has aided the military.

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Syracuse Startups: StartFast Venture Accelerator Announces 2012 Class

StartFast Venture Accelerator in Syracuse New York is preparing for the summer 2012 session which starts this Tuesday. They’ve selected 9 startups to participate out of over 300 applications from startups world wide.

Fewer than 3% of the entrants were selected for the session, making it harder to get into StartFast Ventuer Accelerator than it is to get into Harvard.  It’s the first venture backed accelerator program in Upstate New York. Upstate Venture Connect, the Seed Capital Fund of CNY, CenterState CEO and The Tech Garden participated in the funding of the accelerator program, among others.

The nine startups selected encompass a variety of startup ideas including link aggregation,photos, mobile payments, mobile safety and more.

“Each of these teams has a big vision. We are counting on them to work tirelessly, accept coaching and demonstrate impressive execution in the marketplace.” StartFast Manager Nasir Ali said in a statement.  “With the help of our investors and more than 80 mentors who have volunteered to work with these companies, our goal is to showcase nine awesome investment opportunities on August 16 Investor Day,” Chuck Storman the other StartFast Manager added.

See the nine startups selected after the break
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New Mexico Startup: Cute Cribs Wins StartupNation’s Mommy Competition

startup competition, cutecribs, nibletz, ladybug in conjunction with and Sam’s club have announced the top 200 Leading Moms in Business. These mommy owned businesses are successful, with great product, execution and innovation. The contest saw over 350,000 votes, which showed the great interest in these powerful ladies that can manage a household, raising children and owning a thriving business.

“There’s been a sea change among moms as they’ve come to realize that adding entrepreneurship to their lives brings exhilaration and immense gratification, not to mention supplemental—sometimes primary—income to their families in these dicey economic times,” says Rich Sloan, chief startupologist and co-founder of StartupNation.

Donna Fisher, the founder of Cute Cribs, came out victorious among the other 200 mom owned businesses which were all still winners. Cute Cribs is based in Albuquerque New Mexico and was born in 2006 out of Fishers need to find the perfect crib for an adorable little girl.

All of the Cute Cribs are custom painted and can be designed to match any room decor. Fisher will even add the baby’s name and birth information to the crib. Fisher says all a customer needs to do is submit a picture and they’ll take care of the rest.  Fisher and her company can even match other nursery fixtures like changing tables, chests of drawers and other must haves for your new baby.

The designs themselves can come from designs Fisher has done before or custom designed for the new baby. Some of her popular designs include a jet theme, ladybug, frog, trains and more.

Fisher’s cribs and other baby furniture exceed federal safety regulations.

Fisher is a military wife an admitted that changing jobs every three years as her husband moved about was a tough job in itself. Now, when her husband gets re-assigned she can move Cute Cribs to the new location.


Check out Cute Cribs at

Check out the Startupnation  Leading Moms In Business competition here

Nibletz is the voice of #startups “everywhere else” check out these new stories

We’re on a sneaker strapped nationwide road trip, check it out and support us here 

Boston Startups: MassChallenge Downplays Voter Fraud

When you’re dealing with a gigantic pool of potential web based, software and technology startups, you know in the back of your mind that there are coders within the pool capable of “fixing the system”. While many hosts of startup competitions are hopeful that fraud won’t occur they still do their best to block it from happening. MassChallenge unfortunately wasn’t able to stop some voter fraud in the public vote.

In a blog post on May 3rd MassChallenge wrote:

Some MassChallenge 2012 entrants have contacted us regarding inappropriate use of the public voting function of the Startup Profiles. Throughout the application period some users have engaged in vote fraud and, just as the deadline was about to pass last night, several users used scripts to down-vote many of the other startup profiles. These folks seem to think that the best way to get ahead with their startup is to invent success by falsely boosting their public voting score.

MassChallenge used a public vote to narrow the pool of potential startups in the contest from 1200 to just 300. MassChallenge CEO John Hawthorne declined to comment to the Boston Herald this past monday on what he called an “inappropriate use of the public voting function.”

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Roanoke Startup: Lujure Wins Tech Excellence Award

The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council held their annual awards banquet this week honoring local companies, and startups in the technology space.

A startup called Lujure Media LLC took home the council’s rising star award which recognizes the hard work of a locally based startup. Lujure has a web based application that allows Facebook users with fan pages to customize them quickly and easily.

Lujure also blogs about the business and semantics of Facebook and delivers information that is important to their customers. Lujure is a premium (paid) Facebook tool and according to they have thousands of paying customers.

Lujure has generated over $400,000 in revenue in its first year. Their web application helps companies make their fan pages in less than 30 seconds.  It’s a simple drag and drop method of putting together a Fan Page. Lujure has a number of different plans which are really based on two things.

The first factor in which plan you should take is how familiar you are with Facebook and Fan pages. This also takes into consideration either how much time you have to maintain your page and how much hand holding you need. Lujure has several plans from free to $3,000 per month. Obviously $3,000 a month may be a lot of money but Lujure gives you all the bells and whistles and does a lot of the work for you.

The other factor is how many enhancements you want.

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Greenville Startups: 12 Software Startups Headed To Greenville SC For NEXT Big Thing

Greenville’s startup community is looking to make their place on the map more defined this summer as 12 software startups head there for the NEXT Big Thing.  The three month incubation program will happen at Greenville’s NEXT Center. Journalwatchdog is equating it to ” a sort of a Rocky Mountain Boulder, Colo., in the Blue Ridge foothills”

Kevin Survance former Chief Technology Officer for MapQuest is heading to the NEXT Big Thing to work on a new mobile app for smartphones this summer. Survance told “It has all the marks of putting Greenville on the map as a technology hub…But it won’t happen overnight”

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NY Startup: We Talk With Three Ring The Winners Of Best Education Startup At New York Tech Day

At the recent New York tech day a startup called Three Ring walked away with the best education startup award. In short three ring provides a platform that makes it incredibly easy to digitize students work. The backbone of the Three Ring system functions as a portfolio or digital filing cabinet.

Teachers can use an iPhone or Android phone and take a photo or video of a student assignment. From there they can organize the entries by tags including student name, class, assignment and other core parts of the assignment which makes it incredibly easy to recall for later use.

Teachers can use the assignments stored in Three Ring to provide assessments of the students work, go over the assignment more in depth with students and easily recall assignments for things like parent teacher conferences.  Three Ring is currently in beta and only for teachers however Three Ring plans to incorporate a parent, student and administrator component.

In the future a parent module or student module could easily be the remedy for “the dog ate my homework”. The possibilities with all four components are endless. Later on, Three Ring could be a way for students to submit an assignment to a teacher once completed. Imagine uploading the assignment to Three Ring and even if the student couldn’t make it to school, got sick before class, or had to leave early for a football game an assignment could be turned in to a teachers Three Ring account and the student could still get credited on time.

There are several tools out there in the digital world for teachers. Three Ring makes is an extremely easy to use tool that can be adapted to several scenarios.

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Miami Startups: Herald Announces Winners For 2012 Business Plan Competition

The Miami Herald newspaper just announced the winners of their 14th annual business plan competition contest. The contest had several tracks including a high school track and the winners came from a variety of categories. Yes you read that correctly while many cities are just now working on their inaugural business plan competitions, and others have contests less than five years old, the Miami Herald has been promoting startups through the contest for fourteen years.

All of the contestants were judged by entrepreneurial experts from the Miami area as well as successful entrepreneurs, investors, consultants and academics. The Herald also has a “People’s Pick” category that was voted on by video. The contest is sponsored by Florida International Univerity’s Eugenio Pino and Family Global Entrepreneurship Center.

The winner of the community track was a winery experience for cruise ships called Blend Craft Wines. Blend Craft Wines also won the “People’s Pick” category, which was the first time in the last six years that the same startup has won both categories.

A mobile couponing Android app called Geopon won the FIU track in voting. Other startups that ranked in the top included: Agape Marine Ventures, LegalFileIt, BidThatProject and WedWu.

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Portland Startup: Interview With ShopMyPin, Winner Of Portland’s Startup Weekend

Vanessa VanPetten, Shopmypins, Startupweekend portland

26 year old Vanessa VanPetten emerged from the chaotic Portland Startup Weekend as the winner with shopmypins (photo: V. VanPetten)

Portland’s sixth startup weekend will go down in history as one of the craziest startup weekend’s ever. If you were checking up on Nibletz over the weekend you would have read this story about a man who was asked to leave Portland’s startup weekend. After he left he started tweeting that he was going to come back with explosives and guns. The organizers of the event increased security and had the event on a near lockdown for the rest of the weekend.

26 year old Vanessa VanPetten emerged from the action packed weekend as the winner with her new startup idea “Shop My Pins”. It wasn’t easy for VanPetten though, even with the disruption on Saturday she was still pitted against 16 other teams.

Game it up, a startup geared at teaching kids coding for video games won the award for “Outstanding Customer Validation”. “Outstanding Business Opportunity/Business Model” went to Matchable, which is a cell phone dating app. “Outstanding Execution” went to 15 year old Jackson Gariety for HashTraffic, a cross platform hashtag maker.

The Williamette Week reports that 15 year old Gariety and his HashTraffic were big hits and that Game It Up had already talked to Nintendo, Electronic Arts and IBM who had already started showing interest.

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Dallas Startup: Qwiqq Check Into The Things You Love And Buy; Is Great For Merchants Too

In 2012 using your mobile smartphone you can check into almost everything. You can check into venues, concerts, stores, malls, the music you like and the tv shows you love. Now you can check into the things you buy and love with Dallas’ Qwikk.

The Dallas startup, founded by John Phan and Jack Wrigley, launched in 2010, right as another startup focusing on things people like was starting to bubble. Yes I am referring to Pinterest. But here’s the deal. I’m a 30 something year old man and while I have a Pinterest account, I feel out of place on the network that is admittedly geared towards women.

Qwiqq isn’t like that. It’s about sharing the deal you just got or the great thing you just bought. Perusing Qwiqq is not about just beautiful dresses and recipes for cupcakes. Qwiqq’s intuitive and easy to navigate user interface allows you to post about anything. Categories include health, food, bar, fashion, beauty, arts and entertainment, sport, tech, pet, home and car. So yes dudes and geekettes can post about their favorite phone, computer or that sweet ride.

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