2 Memphis Startups, Mobilizer And Boosterville Get Attention From Major Press

Boosterville, Mobilizer, Memphis startups, TechCrunch, GigaOMWhile nibletz has a pretty large following and people love us because we’re the voice of startups everywhere else, getting attention from the major tech and startup players is a big deal for all startups. This week two Memphis startups were fortunate enough to catch the eyes of TechCrunch and GigaOm.

Mobilizer, a recent graduate of the Memphis based ZeroTo510 accelerator, and recently named to the Tennessee TENN, was featured in TechCrunch on Saturday evening.The company has found a way to make ambulatory patients in hospitals more mobile.

As company co-founder and CEO James Bell told me a few months ago, after major surgery getting up and walking around is a very important part of recovery. That’s why as soon as you are able, doctors like for patients to walk to other parts of the hospital for testing and therapy. The problem in the past was that all of the equipment tied to a patient recovering from surgery often requires more than one technician to accompany the patients on these walks. Often taking technicians away from other duties.

Marston-1With the Mobilizer product, one technician can accompany the patient as the walk through the hospital allowing the other technicians to tend to other patients and even saving hospitals money on over-staffing.

Boosterville, a spring 2013 graduate of the Memphis based Seed Hatchery accelerator was featured in GigaOM earlier this week.  The company, founded by Pam Cooper and her husband, and founding CTO of Cha-Cha, Tom Cooper, has a better way of school fundraising. Pam Cooper had previously built up a large cleaning business in Indiana. When she met her husband Tom six years ago they knew they would eventually collaborate on a startup.

Boosterville is that startup. The company offers a mobile wallet app that is tied in to local merchants that are automagically kicking back money for fundraising. The user selects the participating merchant that they want to patronize and checkout using Boosterville. The merchant is paid and a portion of the payment is forwarded onto the school or charity.

GigaOm featured Boosterville as part of a story about startups that are changing the way schools can do fundraising, trading in wrapping paper, pizza kits and World’s Finest Chocolate bars, for an easy to use mobile app.

Find out more about Boosterville here Mobilizer is on the web here.


Starbucks Paying The Way For Mobile Payments

Starbucks, Mobile Wallet, Mobile Payments, Startups, Boosterville

No one will ever own a computer in their home.

No one will ever put a phone in their car.

No one will ever need Microsoft Word on their phone.

No one will ever pay for things using their phone.

All of those statements have been proven wrong by technology. The last one–proven wrong both by technology and by America’s favorite coffee shop, Starbucks.

Through their mobile app and their easy to use pay-at-counter system, Starbucks is now reporting that 1 in 10 purchases is paid for by mobile app, the company’s Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman reported during their earnings call on Friday. In addition to the growth of paying by mobile, loyalty cards were up 30% year over year, which is also tied into their mobile app.

This is great news for startups like Dwolla, Boosterville, Paytango and the countless others that are relying on people moving from physical wallet to digital wallet.

Starbucks is leading the way in terms of mobile payments at huge retail chains, but Paypal is actually breaking into the mainstream as well. Paypal account holders can now integrate their Paypal Mobile app with a phone pin (set up in app) and pay for their purchases at the checkout at places like Home Depot, Champs, Babies R Us, Dollar General and several other retail establishments.

Some entrepreneurs, like Boosterville CEO and co-founder Pam Cooper, are integrating mobile services a la Starbucks. With the Boosterville app, mobile wallet and loyalty & rewards are being integrated for fundraising.

While mobile payments are on the rise, startups like PayTango are taking it to another level with biometric wallets. Services like PayTango, which is currently beta testing in Pittsburgh and California, allow users to pay for things using their finger print. At CES earlier this year we met with a startup that is hoping to use retina scanning technology for payments as well.

Sometimes all it takes is one big name (Starbucks) to adopt a technology. Before too long, even grandma will think it’s normal to pay from her phone.


Indiana Couple Pitches Their Startup, Boosterville, At Seed Hatchery Demo Day

boostervilleAttracting great talent to an accelerator that doesn’t have the name Techstars or YCombinator in it can be a difficult task. Attracting great talent that’s already had success in the startup space can be even more daunting. That’s what happened in the case of Indiana startup Boosterville.

I actually met Pam Cooper the CEO and co-founder of Boosterville, while it was still called Sodbuster, on Brad Feld’s Hacker News alternative site, the startup hub. Pam and I quickly became friends. It was then I learned that she was a little more “seasoned” than other founders, having started a very successful small business in Indiana. Her quick wit and thought provoking questions made it easy to interact with her on an online platform.

Pam decided that despite a failed attempt at Indianapolis startup conference “Powder Keg” her and her co-founder/CTO husband, Tom Cooper, would make the trek to Memphis for everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference. At the same time we were accepting applications for Seed Hatchery and I quickly introduced her to the organizations leader, Eric Mathews, and they got in.

We learned through the vetting process that Tom was actually the founding CTO of question and answer site Cha-Cha. He also has a long resume of engineering work at several successful startups and companies. The Cooper’s have done well. They’ve got kids in college, a rather large home in Indiana, oh and Tom has his own plane as well. So why come all the way to Memphis for an accelerator?Great question, the answer: For the accelerator.

From day one both Pam and Tom dove head first into the curriculum, learning, sharing and development that is offered through the Seed Hatchery program.  They took criticism like the best of them, often times from leaders and mentors that didn’t have even a fraction of the startup experience that Tom had. Both Cooper’s have said over and over again how much they’ve learned here in Memphis.

“I really didn’t know what to expect, so we went for it and Seed Hatchery was the best thing we’ve done for our company” Tom told us in an interview.

During the accelerator the coopers went through a name change, a huge pivot and even worked hand in hand with MBA students for discovery, and to help refine their product.

Boosterville combines digital wallet with loyalty and rewards and all for the benefit of schools and non profits. Using Dwolla, another midwest startup, as their mobile wallet conduit, users sign up for a school they want to donate to. From there they can see a list of merchants in their community that use the Boosterville platform. When they make a purchase at one of the establishments in the program, they check out using their phone, the merchant gets paid, the school gets a donation and Boosterville takes a small cut.

“Putting children who are now grown, through school I’ve seen my share of wrapping paper and World’s Finest Chocolate Bars”, Pam loves to tell anyone who will listen. Of course we all agree.

The company is a great mesh of Pam’s community minded nature and business savvy, with Tom’s over three decades of programming experience.

What’s next for Boosterville, well while Tom has an open invitation to return full time to his engineering job in Indiana, they are going to continue to raise money and bring Boosterville to live.

Check out their investor day pitch video below:


Find out more about Boosterville here at boosterville.com

We’ve got more Seed Hatchery coverage here. 


Indy Couple Getting Their Grit & Grind On At Memphis’ Seed Hatchery Accelerator

Boosterville,Tom Cooper,Pam Cooper,Seed Hatchery,Memphis Startup,Indianapolis startup Memphis’ Seed Hatchery accelerator is less than a month away from demo day for their third cohort of startups. This years class has some major standouts and Boosterville is one of them.

Boosterville was founded as Sodbuster by married couple Pam and Tom Cooper. The Cooper’s hale from Indianapolis Indiana and they are the only “out of town” team for this years Seed Hatchery class. I met Pam Cooper on Brad Feld’s alternative to Hacker News, the Startup Revolution Hub. Meeting woman entrepreneurs is nothing new these days however Pam and Tom admittedly have adult children, sometimes older than the other founders on the Startup Revolution Hub, and the other founders at Seed Hatchery.

I quickly struck up an online friendship with Pam that resulted in her presenting at the startup conference and facilitated an introduction into the Seed Hatchery program.

What makes the Coopers even more interesting is that Tom is the founding CTO of Cha-Cha and has been a distinguished CTO for the last 30 years. While I wouldn’t call them “startup rich” the Cooper’s have done well. Pam founded a successful cleaning business. Tom has hit a few doubles and triples in his career. Tom enjoys flying his prop plane when he can pull away from the computer screen.

That’s what makes Cooper’s truly unique. They aren’t in the Seed Hatchery program for the seed investment (which of course helps any startup, Boosterville included), they are in it for the grit and grind and the whirlwind business training that happens during a three month, intensive accelerator program.

While Pam sometimes jokes about being the “class mom” with this year’s Seed Hatchery, they work with the best of them, until late hours of the night and back again first thing in the morning. Tom made arrangements with his development job in Indianapolis to work from Memphis every morning before working on Boosterville.

So what is Boosterville?

It’s a new platform that combines the mobile wallet with a loyalty and rewards type program that benefits local schools. Pam and Tom grew tired of neighborhood kids hitting them up with the same popcorn tins, wrapping paper and World’s Finest Chocolate bars. The school fundraiser was destined for a disruption.

Boosterville has partnered with Peabody Elementary in mid-town Memphis and merchants in the Overton Square and Cooper Young neighborhoods for their beta testing.

The Boosterville mobile app is tied in with local merchants and local schools who have agreed to give a kickback to the school of the user’s choice when they checkout with the Boosterville mobile wallet. The Cooper’s live on the cusp of new technology, and to that end, where others have used Paypal or Google Wallet for checkout, Boosterville uses fellow midwestern startup Dwolla as it’s wallet back bone.

Dwolla’s founder Ben Milne knows Tom well and is very enthusiastic about what Boosterville is doing.

Despite their age, and experience, Boosterville is treated the same way every other startup in the Seed Hatchery class is treated. They’ve been going up and down in the weekly rankings like every other startup and they went through a name change and a couple pivots during the past two months.

Boosterville will graduate from the Seed Hatchery program on demo day which is May 16th and will coincide with the Memphis in May festivities. For more info on Boosterville visit boosterville.com.

Find more startup news from the south east here.