Boston Augmented Reality Startup PAR Works Gets Two Big SXSW Honors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See more of our team coverage of SXSW 2013 here


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

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

But what is ZoomTilt?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Boston Military Startup: RallyPoint Raises $1.55 Million

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

RallyPoint co-founders Yinon Weiss and Aaron Kletzing (photo:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Check out RallyPoint here

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

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

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

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

We got a chance to interview Slater earlier this year.

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

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

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

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


Check out PingUp here

Source: TNW

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Boston Techstars Grad: Testive Raises $500,000 Seed

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Burlington MA Startup: Acquia Raises $30 Million

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

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

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

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

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


Check out Acquia here

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MassChallenge Startups Have Created Thousands Of Jobs

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

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

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

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


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Nashville: Jumpstart Foundry’s Marcus Whitney Named CTO Of The Year By Nashville Technology Council

Marcus Whitney, Jumpstart Foundry, Nashville startups,accelerator,Moontoast, Boston startup,startup,startups,startup news


Marcus Whitney is a renaissance man of sorts when it comes to entrepreneurism and startups in Nashville and Boston Massachusetts. Some of his credentials include being an advisor and curriculum lead at Nashville’s Jumpstart Foundry accelerator where he traditionally fires up the troops on day one. He is also an advisor to several Nashville area startups, co-founder of and an overall leader in Nashville’s startup community.

It’s actually for his day job though, as the CTO of social marketing, commerce and analytics startup Moontoast that has earned him the title of CTO Of The Year by the Nashville Technology Council.

Moontoast was founded in 2008 as a social knowledge base provider that eventually led to the social marketing and analytics suite that they employ today to companies big and small including some on the Fortune 500. Their stable of top-shelf clients include branding power house Proctor & Gamble, Ford, Kirkland’s, and Universal.  Even Nashville country powerhouse record label Big Machine records uses Moontoast, you may have heard of their superstar Taylor Swift.

Whitney has grown to become an expert in the world of social and email engagement. Prior to starting Moontoast in 2008 he spent the previous four years of his career as Director of Technology and Partner at Emma. Emma is an email marketing firm that uses creative, out of the box approaches, to again engage their over 10,000 customers.

Whitney’s energetic personality and real life experiences have led him to be engaging in person as well. In different discussions with Whitney we’ve talked about how he and his team at Jumpstart Foundry are able to pull the real entrepreneur and founder out of a startup. Some startups come into the three month accelerator program with a great idea and a horrible pitch. Whitney is able to pull the real message out which has actually led to follow on funding for several program startups.

Whitney’s latest startup is a regional tech blog focused on high growth potential startups and technology in the southeast. They’re centralizing out of Nashville at the moment with plans to rapidly expand across the south east in the same way that Silicon Prairie news covers the Silicon Prairie.

Whitney was honored at the annual Nasvhille Technology Council Awards on October 23.


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Get Paid To Get Things Done With Boston Startup TaskUp INTERVIEW

Taskup,Boston startup,startup,startups,startup interviewWant to get things done the old fashioned way? You pay somebody to do them. Want good results? Pay for them. Got bad results? Make them pay. These basic principles are what guides Boston startup TaskUp to be the first web and mobile based task list startup with cash incentives.

TaskUp co-founders Divesh Gidwani and Andrei Oprisan use two basic ideas to fuel their startup:

1. monetary rewards the customers upon timely task completion and
2. penalties when tasks become ‘overdue’.

It doesn’t get much simpler than that folks.  Incentivize the task list with money. Gidwani and Oprisan are no strangers to this task space. They realize there are a good 250 other startups toying around in the same space.  On their blog Gidwani says “Motivating people to get shit done with cash rewards just might do the trick.”

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

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Boston Startup: BRIGHTdriver Has Mobile Games Even The Driver Can Play

BRIGHTdriver,Boston startup,startup,startup interview, Dog Patch Labs,app,iosDo you get bored in the car? Sure you do,everybody does. Now in a lot of states, it’s illegal to do anything on your smartphone that requires you to actually hold the phone. Playing Angry Birds at a stop light is a little too risky, you don’t want to get a ticket, or cause an accident.

Well there’s got to be a way to play games in the car without actually holding the phone. A Boston startup incubating at Dog Patch Labs, called BRIGHTdriver has the answer, audio games.

BRIGHTdrivers unique and fun games are audio based and don’t require you to actually hold the phone to play. BRIGHTdrivers audio games are as safe as talking hands free on your mobile phone or yelling out the answers to the dj’s trivia question on the radio.

Currently BRIGHTdriver offers three titles. Volley, is their pub style trivia game. Careoke is BRIGHTdriver’s sing-a-long Karaoke game and Best Mile is a game that challenges you to drive your best (and safest) mile. They have plans to introduce more games as the platform gets off the ground.

BRIGHTdriver’s platform is set up to allow you to play by yourself or against others on the BRIGHTdriver network.

The BRIGHTdriver team has taken to Kickstarter to help fund their official launch. You can donate to their Kickstarter campaign here and get cool perks like early access to this exciting new platform

We got a chance to talk with BRIGHTdriver founder Matt Albrecht about his unique new spin on mobile gaming. Check out the interview below.

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Boston 500 Startups Startup: Privy To Make Online Advertising Easier And Transparent

Privy,Boston startup,500 startups,startup,startups,startup interview, founder interviewBy now every new business owner knows that they need to have some kind of internet presence. Many also know that they need to advertise online. After business owners decide they need to advertise online, where to go and what to do often becomes a headache.

Google’s AdWords product is typically one of the easiest points of entry into online advertising. If you live in a small or medium sized market AdWords can work perfectly for you. However, when you get into larger cities, signing up and using AdWords can be a shot in the dark.

AdWords algorithm based advertising can be confusing to someone with very little online experience. Naturally, the more money you put into a platform like AdWords the better your conversions will be. Or at least that’s what many advertisers think.

When a company with a new online presence sprinkles in social media and other possible revenue streams, the overall plan can become a disorganized mess. It doesn’t take long to lose track of where your ad dollars are going, and how different efforts are paying off.

Boston startup Privy is creating a much easier online advertising platform to use and understand. Privy’s founder Ben Jabbawy is hoping to add a layer of transparency to online advertising that hasn’t existed before.  Jabbawy wants to make it easy for local businesses to buy online advertising and know exactly how many customers they get for every dollar they spend.

Sounds easy enough right?

Dave McClure liked the concept enough to bring Privy out to Mountain View California for the current session of 500 Startups. We got a chance to talk to Jabbawy about Privy, his hometown of Boston and what makes advertising work.  Check out the interview below.

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Boston Startup: Nyopoly, Negotiate Your Price On The Hottest Styles

While most online shopping sites would die at the thought of having one singular customer, a new Boston startup called Nyopoly prides itself on making customers feel that way. Nyopoly is a new online shopping site that pairs consumers who like high fashion, chic, luxury items with retailers. From there the customer negotiates one on one with the seller for the best possible price.  Nyopoly’s co-founder Joe Shartzer tells us that it’s this one one one negotiating that led to the name Nyopoly.

Shartzer tells us that Nyopoly’s process is easy and natural because it occurs between a single buyer and seller.

Nyopoly brings their members curated, trendy must have accessories, jewelry, watches, handbags and a more. Their site is going through a major remodel which will reopen on November 5th. They’ll be adding women’s fashion to their totally redesigned site.

We got a chance to talk with Shartzer, who is the company’s marketing guru. Check out the interview below.

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Boston TechStars Startup: Saverr Offers Coupons From Receipts, You Know The Things You Actually Buy

The intuitiveness of the algorithms used to deliver Google adsense and Amazon suggestions can seem eerily close to home, but even as good as they are they still sometimes miss grasping what you are really looking for and what you really want to buy.  Proximity based coupon apps are great but unless they are generic in nature it’s hard to say what you’re going to buy.

That’s why Boston startup, and Techstars alum, Saverr offers the best couponing proposition to the coupon user. Saverr gives you coupons based on what you actually buy based on what you actually bought using your receipt.

You know those machines that set next to the register tape at Target and the grocery store? You know the ones that spit out the coupons at the end of your visit? Well Saverr is giving you that machine, inside your phone. Pretty bad ass huh?

Saverr uses your actual receipt, the entire receipt, to give you coupons on the items that you just bought. Most likely you are going to buy them again right?

Saverr,Boston Startup,Israeli startup,Techstars,Techstars Startup,startup,startups,startup interviewThe idea came about when the Israeli team was trying to create a shopping discovery app of sorts. What they quickly found wasn’t that the world needed another discovery app, but the world needed a money saving app. Their proprietary receipt scanning technology is the back bone of their app.

The best part for the consumer is since Saverr is working on the manufacturer coupon side of the world, you can get coupons based on receipts from all types of stores. You’re not relegated to the store that you’re currently shopping in.

We got a chance to talk to the Saverr team which relocated to Boston for Techstars and is staying around for a while. Check out the interview below:

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