Plated Raises $5 Million Series A to Bring You Dinner

dinner in a box

New York-based startup Plated has raised $5 million in a Series A to expand their dinner delivery system. According to Crunchbase, the round was led by ff Venture Capital with participation from Lerer Ventures, Founder Collective, and Great Oaks Venture Capital. ff Venture Capital and Founder Collective both participated in the company’s $1.4 million seed round last year.

Plated also participated in the Techstars New York 2013 class.

Founded in 2012 by Nick Taranto and Josh Hix, Plated doesn’t just send you a box of food. Each week the site offers 7 chef-designed recipes. Pick your recipe(s), and Plated ships to you on your region’s delivery day. All food is as locally sourced as possible, so some recipes vary by region. When you get your box, the ingredients are ready to go with recipe cards that outline the cooking process.

Users can order as many or as few recipes as they’d like each week. You can buy a la carte, for $15 a plate, or join for a monthly fee plus $12 a plate. When you select a recipe, the page tells you what will come in your box, what you need to have at home, and what pots/pans you need to use. It also alerts you to any potential allergies or intolerances.

The beauty of Plated is that it provides fresh, sustainable food, but it also seeks to teach people how to cook. But, if you’re already a pro in the kitchen, the recipes sent right to your door take some of the pressure out of experimenting with new things. For busy founders and entrepreneurs who want to stay healthy, Plated offers the option–at least a few nights a week.

At the moment Plated already delivers to 80% of the continental US. (I was ecstatic to see it delivers in Nashville! The husband will be so excited to see something besides alfredo on our next date night.) While current plans for the capital weren’t announced, you can imagine continued expansion in delivery locations is in the works.

Plated isn’t the only New York startup delivering dinner in a box. In-town rival Blue Apron has raised $8 million and offers a similar service via a weekly subscription model.

The Series A brings Plated’s total funds raised to $7 million.

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Chicago Startup Retrofit Raises A Series B To Make Us Healthier


There are quite a few fitness startups cropping up.

Apps like RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal monitor your exercise or diet. Sites like Daily Burn offer subscription access to fitness classes. And, of course, there’s wearable tech. Fitbit, Fuelband, and Atlas are just a few examples of the tech you can wear to monitor activity levels.

Chicago-based Retrofit aims to take weight loss to the corporate level, offering employees of large companies like Google and discounted rates to try the program. Retrofit incorporates some of the startups mentioned above, specifically Fitbit, as well as one-on-one coaching sessions with a dietitian, exercise physiologist, and behavior coach.

There are plenty of weight loss programs that focus on corporate clients. Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig both have corporate arms and years of brand recognition. So, what makes Retrofit any different?

According to the Retrofit team: results.

In their first 12 month “cohort,” more than 90% of participants lost significant weight. The average weight loss was almost 20 pounds, which equals a 9% of overall body weight.

On the heels of that success, Retrofit announced a $5 million Series B on Friday. The round is led by Cambia Health Solutions, but includes participation from previous investor Draper Fisher Jurvetson. This announcement brings Retrofit’s total funds raised to $15 million.

“Retrofit is thrilled to announce additional venture funding from Cambia Health Solutions and DFJ,” Retrofit CEO Jeff Hyman said in a statement. “These two companies prioritize investments based on creating value through the innovative use of technology.”

It’s true that tech and wellness are seeing some interesting mergers these days. Data mania is growing, and everyone wants to be able to measure success. I find Retrofit particularly interesting because it merges that data (through Fitbit) with real human interaction. The digital coaching sessions can help make sense of the data and create actionable plans for improvement. By putting the program in a corporate environment, participants might also have the built-in support system of colleagues going through the same experience.

However, like any fitness program, there are some other things to consider.

For one thing, most of the participants were male. Most weight loss programs are marketed to and used by women, so this is a huge win for Retrofit. It also skews the results a little bit, because men lose weight faster than women.

Second, the true success of weight loss doesn’t come at the end of the program. It comes a year or two later, when participants are still at their goal weight. Let’s face it. For most people, the actual losing weight isn’t very hard, especially if you have the right program, support, and motivation all aligned. The real challenge is keeping the weight off so you’re not in a yo-yo of weight loss and gain.

To be fair, most of Retrofit’s clients lost the majority of the weight in the first 6 months and spent the next 6 months maintaining and losing a little more. The year-long program (as opposed to a few months) could carry huge benefits on the road to weight maintenance.

With a successful trial run behind them, and an infusion of cash, Retrofit has plenty of time to continue to improve it’s product. While the company is targeting corporate clients, you don’t have to work for a big company to utilize the service. Check out Retrofit here for more info.

You Raised Some Capital! Now What?

dollar signsCapital is precious—and must be treated as such. Below are three points companies should consider when allocating their funds in hopes of growing their businesses:

Hire Quality over Quantity

Many startups operate under the myth that their people should be paid a minimal amount, or even receive no salary for a period of time, in exchange for the larger payoff down the road. That may be fine for founders or executives that have other means to ride out the early days, but the reality is that most employees still need to “put food on their tables.”

It’s better to pay a smaller group of employees more money than to hire a larger number of folks on the cheap. That is, hire quality over quantity. Why? For starters, people who are paid less, even if they’ve bought into the startup opportunity, generally become dissatisfied sooner than later. Secondly, larger groups tend to work more slowly, bogged down by more meetings and lack of consensus.

While it sounds contradictory, smaller teams—especially top talent paid well—can deliver bigger results. Not only are they more motivated and productive, they also are forced to be more creative, they decide and act more quickly, and they build stronger bonds. All of this translates to a greater return on investment for the business over the long-term.

Keep Pitching the Company

When building a management team, many companies seek strong business development talent in one or more individuals. That’s fine, however in the early stages of startup, these leaders should remain focused on effectively pitching the company to raise more money—versus trying to drive sales.

After all, startup companies are typically small and not ready to take on tons of new business. Additional fundraising will enable a company to develop and market its product(s) sooner and then scale to handle increased business and revenue opportunities.

Investing in leaders with exceptional presentation and relationship-building skills is extremely valuable to a startup company, helping to succinctly get the desired message across to other potential stakeholders.

Launch Sooner than Later

A simple, reliable product today is better than a full-featured one tomorrow. Too many startup companies hold off launching their product(s) while trying to incorporate every last feature and functionality.

Not only does this delay time-to-market, but more complex products tend to have an increased number of “bugs” and support issues, which ultimately eats into existing capital more quickly.

Focus on a minimal number of features that will lead to the launch of a robust product sooner than later. And then use your remaining capital—not to mention revenue from the faster, successful initial release of your product—to incrementally add features and functionality.

While the above may seem obvious to most, many companies continue to take steps in the opposite direction when allocating their capital, only to find themselves struggling to stretch out their funds. The smartest, most successful startup companies tend to more efficiently manage their capital in these key areas.

Vijay Nadkarni is founder, president, and CEO of Mobiplex, Inc.

Top 10 Fundraising Fails (Infographic)


There are a lot of startups these days. With the explosion of accelerators, more and more companies secure seed funding, which helps them build out their products and business models. After that initial small investment is done, though, it’s time to raise the real money.

We all know this song and dance: raising capital is hard. It’s hard no matter who you are or what your company is doing. (Well, okay. If Mark Zuckerberg ever wanted to start another company, he probably wouldn’t hurt for investors.)

For most of us, though, raising funds is hard work. So, it’s probably a good idea for founders not to make rookie mistakes that will hurt their chances even more. How does the rookie founder avoid rookie mistakes, you ask?

The Founder Institute, an early stage accelerator, developed this infographic to outline some of those mistakes. The number 10 mistake is failing to use charts and graphs in your presentation. While this seems like such an unimportant detail, the rise of–well–infographics shows us that visually displaying data is important. In the case of investors, who may be unfamiliar with your industry, these charts and graphs can help them easily grasp your points.

Another mistake is not connecting the financials to your story. This happens a lot in demo day presentations. A founder is humming right along, drawing the audience in with a compelling story. Then, boom, out of nowhere they’re talking money. Weaving that information into your story is crucial to keeping everyone engaged.

The number one rookie fundraising mistake? Projecting $1 billion in revenue for year 5. Founders throw out big numbers like this because they think investors like to hear it. Investors do like big numbers, but they also prefer projections to be somewhat realistic. To put it in perspective, eight years after founding Twitter has yet to reach $1 billion in revenue. Facebook did it in 6 years. Google did it in 5 years, but if you’re the next Google, fundraising shouldn’t be too difficult anyway.

Check out the infographic for the whole top 10 fundraising fails:


Mobile Makes It Big In The 3rd Quarter


By now most of us are aware that the future of the Internet is in mobile. According to the Pew Research Center, 56% of Americans have a cell phone. Well over half of them use their phones to access the Internet, and a full 34% use their phones for Internet access more often than they do a desktop or laptop. Worldwide, it is estimated there are already more than 1 billion smartphones in use, and that number’s growing.

That’s the definition of a big market.

That market explains why mobile had its biggest quarter of fundraising ever. CB Insights is reporting that venture deals to mobile companies passed $1 billion dollars in the third quarter of 2013. Exactly a year ago, in the third quarter of 2012, mobile deals almost hit a billion before seeing a sudden drop in the first quarter of this year. Since then, deal flow rose steadily to the $1.12 billion dollars invested in the last 3 months.

Given the $1 billion dollar sale of Instagram to Facebook, you might expect social or photos to have raised the most money. They did garner 4% and 3% each, which is nothing to sneeze at, with numbers that big. However, the biggest winners this quarter were customer relationship management, business analytics, and mobile payments. These three combined garnered 1/5 of all the deals closed.

Who are the VC’s doling out this money? CB Insights looked at mobile deals for the whole year, and 500 Startups comes out on top as the most active mobile investor with 20 deals closed so far this year. Andreesen Horowitz and Google Ventures round out the top three.

This quarter marks the first time mobile deals surpassed those for healthcare. However, mobile-focused healthcare startups still netted 4% of that $1.12 billion.

Our phones and tablets have already become less like novelty devices and more like sturdy workhorse for our work and personal lives. This quarter may mark the first time VC financing reaches $1 billion, but we’re guessing it won’t be the last.

Read the whole CB Insights report and tell us what you think.

Tackk Wants to Prove Tech Can Be Done Anywhere


Crain’s Cleveland Business Journal is reporting that Cleveland-based Tackk recently received $1.2 million dollars in a funding round led by ff Venture Capital out of New York. The 1-year-old startup helps users create simple web pages, a la Tumblr. In fact, Tumblr-size success is the exact mark they’re shooting for.

“We invest in companies where we think they can change the behavior of millions of people. I can see absolutely no reason why you can’t have millions of people using this,” John Frankel of ff Venture Capital told the Cleveland Business Journal.

“Ridiculously simple creation + sharing,” it says on the Tackk homepage. And, it is just that simple. The homepage allows you to drag and drop pictures, edit text, and play with colors, fonts, and backgrounds without even creating an account. (Registration is required if you want your Tackk up longer than a week.) The Tackkboard allows you browse Tackks on a variety of topics, and you can like and share your favorites.

Despite the comparisons to Tumblr, Tackk isn’t necessarily seeking to become a huge social network. CEO Christopher Celeste told TechCrunch’s Anthony Ha that they were more interested in helping people create and tag content, then push it out through whatever social media or physical way they desire.

The recent seed round will be used build out a mobile platform and make it easier to browse Tackks.

According to the Business Journal, investors suggested the team move to New York to complete the next stage of development. The team said no way, and they are now building what they hope is the next great content creation tool right at home in Cleveland.

As the voice of startups everywhere else, we at Nibletz think that’s a great decision, but it’s not one that every company makes. I asked Eric Bockmuller why he would want to stay in Cleveland, when all the money is telling him to move.

Our founding team was born and raised in Cleveland, we have a connection with the city that I think only fellow Clevelanders understand. We see an opportunity to create something special that typically doesn’t happen here. We know it may be more of a challenge, but we understand that we’re not just building a great Cleveland company. We’re building a great company that lives in Cleveland but impacts the whole world.

The second part of his answer was surprising: talent.

Many startups tell us it is hard to recruit good talent outside of Silicon Valley, but Bockmuller doesn’t see it that way. With tons of talented students graduating from the universities in and around Cleveland, the Tackk team is seeing many who are willing to stay at home and build the next great tech company.

Bockmuller also acknowledges that there will be challenges. Without success stories going before them, they have fewer mentors and examples than you find in the Valley. It’s also more time consuming to meet with investors when that meeting involves a flight. But Bockmuller is an entrepreneurs and has a cheerful answer for these challenges:

There will always be the questions around talent, money and scalability being based in Cleveland and we believe the opportunity to overcome those questions is now with Tackk…it only takes one to change a region.

Go check out Tackk and keep up with them on Twitter.

Funding Friday: It Is Possible to Raise Money Everywhere Else


The common theme in the startup world is that it’s very hard to raise money outside of Silicon Valley. But, let’s be real here. It’s really hard to raise money inside the Valley, too. No one said entrepreneurship was easy, and sometimes the best things are difficult to accomplish.

Sometimes, though, it’s nice to see other companies doing it. Whether it’s a seed round or an IPO filing, watching other companies succeed can be a good reminder than we can, too.

With that in mind, here are 5 companies from everywhere else that raised money recently*:

  1. GROUNDFLOOR, based in North Carolina, raised $125,000 in a seed round. Founders Brian Dally and Nick Bhargava are building a new way to invest, starting with real estate. “The banks aren’t invited, but you are,” it says on the website. The two men have plenty of experience between them, and if you’re interested in investments, you should check them out.
  2. Traxo announced a $4.2 million Series A on the company blog last week. Part social network, part travel itinerary, the Dallas-based company is looking to make the travel process easier.
  3. KidsLink calls itself a “family management tool.” Parents can aggregate and organize essential documents and receive alerts about milestones and seasonal events. The team at KidsLink sees their product as a great solution for the lack of technology in most medical and educational institutions. The Atlanta-based company announced $1 million in funding.
  4. Nextly offers a new browsing solution for online content. You can follow streams and save pages to your collection. The Boston-based startup is a well-designed competitor to StumbleUpon. The $600k in another seed round, and are already backed by prominent angel investors like Dharmesh Shah of Hubspot.
  5. NoWait is an iPad app that allows restaurants to text customers when their table is ready. With offices in Pittsburgh, New York, and (soon) Austin, they are definitely everywhere else. The company raised a $1.9 million Series A.

So, take heart, founders everywhere else. With a great solution and a great team, it is possible to raise money outside of Silicon Valley. However, as these founders probably know, raising money just means the work can get started.

*All funding news and most numbers came from the Mattermark newsletter.

Mark Cuban Shows Variety In Portfolio With Latest Startup Investments

Mark Cuban, Fiscal Note, Ranku, Funding, startup

Some may think that Mark Cuban’s investment strategy is all over the place, but teh truth of the matter is it goes hand in hand with his varied background. Cuban’s career crosses a variety of industries, all of which were self taught.

Cuban began his career as a self taught computer salesman who didn’t  even own a computer. From here his next big accolade is selling to Yahoo, starting HDTv (now axs). Now he’s also a NBA franchise owner, shark on ABC’s Shark Tank, dancer on Dancing With The Stars, startup investor, philanthropist, and more. With all of that in mind Cuban is still just one of the guys, just ask anyone that knows him or frequents places he likes to hang out.

Cuban’s investment portfolio encompasses lots of industries. He’s invested in things that touch his TV business like Tivli and One Condition. He’s also invested in app selling company Apptopia, multilingual analytics firm Linquasys. and local rewards startup Badgy. That doesn’t even scratch the surface of Cuban’s portfolio; you can find more of his investments here.

Cuban’s two most recent statup investments are equally diverse.

After meeting Kim Taylor at the Kaplan accelerator program for edtech startups, Cuban led a $500,000 round for Ranku. Taylor also happened to be one of the featured entrepreneurs on Bravo’s reality show about startups called Startups: Silicon Valley.

Ranku ranks colleges by the success its graduates have with finding jobs rather than how they rank on the US News & World Report list. Obviously this is a much more relevant way to rank schools for students headed into college.

On Wednesday evening TechCrunch’s Anthony Ha reported that Cuban has also backed legislation tracking and prediction startup FiscalNote.  The $1.2 million dollar round will help the startup continue working on new technologies to support their original model.

FiscalNote provides a service to businesses that keeps them up to date with legislation across all 50 states that may affect their business. Co-Founder and CEO Tim Hwang told Ha that many businesses are affected by these changes in legislation and for a business to keep up with them they would need a large staff hitting refresh on all 50 states websites continuously. Beyond that they would need to decode that legislation and see how it really affected their business. FiscalNote’s algorithm does all of that for them.

For more on Mark Cuban and his  startup investments check this out.


St. Louis Startup Aisle411 Raises $6.3M Series A

Aisle411, startup news, funding, St. Louis startupThe St. Louis startup that’s changing the in-store experience for everyone has just closed a massive series A round. Aisle411 is an interactive indoor mapping startup for grocery stores and other places where you need to locate things on an indoor map.

The St. Louis based startup has raised $10M since its launch in 2008.

This latest round of funding came from Google’s Don Doge, Plug & Play Ventures of Silicon Valley, Cultivation Capital and St. Louis ArchAngels. In addition to the funding the company already has some big partnerships in place including one with Walgreens, Home Depot, Schnucks, and Stop and Save.

While people immediately recognize the need for Aisle411, the company is still working on aggressively building scale and going global.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in demand from the retail market for our services,” Nathan Pettyjohn, founder and CEO of aisle411, said in a statement. “The investment round allows us to aggressively scale to a growing list of global retail partners.”

You can check out Aisle411 here.;


Chicago Startup DoggyLoot Gets Just That

DoggyLoot, Chicago Startup, startup news, funding

Doggyloot, an internal project at Chicago’s Sandbox, a startup incubator of sorts, has just closed a $2.5 million dollar round. The company was founded in 2011 and already has 700,000 subscribers according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

Doggyloot subscribers get access to flash sales on products they need for their animals. It’s a modern day complete with all of the things that are making e-commerce startups successful in 2013. To add to that success the company is led by former Orbitz guy Jeff Eckerling.

Eckerling said they will use the money to “crank up the company’s technology, especially mobile apps and more personalized targeting of its offers, and to step up advertising to attract more subscribers. ”

Although was one of the biggest victims of the dot com bubble, the pet industry is stronger than it’s ever been. It’s a $50 billion dollar a year industry with that doubling over the last decade. closed in November of 2000.  “There are over 50 million households in the U.S. with dogs. That’s more than have kids under 18,” Eckerling said.

He’s no stranger to the flash sales market either. He developed the flash travel site BonVoyou which was acquired by HauteLook.

Peter Krasilovski, an analyst with BIA/Kelsey told Crain’s “Newspaper sites get thousands of visitors from pets. We have a luxury culture for pet owners. There are dog biscuit stores popping up all over. But we all saw the big flameout of Is it time to revisit, maybe? It might be a good niche opportunity.”

Check out DoggyLoot here.


2 Gener8tor Startups Raise Over $600,000 In Seed Funding

WeMontage, Quietyme, Gener8tor, Wisconsin, Startup Accelerator, Accelerator, FundingWisconsin’s duel city accelerator, Gener8tor, is producing startups in both Madison and Milwaukee Wisconsin. Two of their Winter 2013 graduates (Madison program), WeMontage has just closed out a $310,000 seed round. Quietyme has raised a $300,000 seed round.

The Greater Milwaukee Business Journal reports that the startup that allows users to turn their mobile pics into actual wallpaper, received their funding from Angels On The Water LLC, Gener8tor and an “undisclosed”  Wisconsin based angel investment fund as well as several private investors.

While turning your mobile pics into decals, stickers, wallpaper and other forms of art is nothing new, WeMontage has found a way to does it in a way that’s better for the wall and looks better overall. Unlike their competition, WeMontage uses  “premium high-tac adhesive, fabric-based wall covering, which adheres to textured walls, while not damaging the wall or paint,” the company told the Business Journal.

We are excited to have closed our seed capital round and are working hard to build a premium brand for WeMontage and acquire new customers,” said James Oliver, Jr., founder and CEO. “Since closing the seed round, we’ve been able to hire an outstanding software developer, Chris Schmitz, from Green Bay, as technical co-founder.”

Quietyme has developed a technology that allows hospitals, hotels, nursing homes and property owners to monitor the quality of indoor environments like noise, temperature, humidity and water leaks, the Business Journal reported on Wednesday.

In addition to Gener*tor and Angels On The Water LLC, American Family Insurance, KSFI Partners LLC and a private investor participated in this round. The startup previously received $20,000 in seed capital from Gener8tor at the on-set of the program.

“Hospitals and hotels now have an unprecedented tool that can put a spotlight on when and where customer sleep experiences are in jeopardy,” said CEO John Bialk in a press release. “Just imagine how special you feel when a front desk manager or nurse recognizes that your sleep may have been disrupted. By being proactive about disruptions, businesses can demonstrate their sincere commitment to a high-quality customer experience.”

Find out more about Gener8tor here.



ShareThis, The Social Sharing Startup With Cincy Ties, Closes $30 Million Dollar Round

ShareThis, Silcon Valley, Cincinnati Startup, Cintrifuse, FundingShareThis, one of the most successful startups to come out of Cincinnati, has just announced the closing of a $30 million dollar round of venture funding.

The company, now based in Paolo Alto, has created a platform that makes it incredibly easy to share any kind of content across over 120 different social channels. ShareThis claims that they touch the lives of 95 percent of U.S. internet users across 2 million publisher sites. Whenever you’re cruising a website like AllthingsD, Cosmopolitan or any of the Food Network sites and you see the little green sharing icon that’s ShareThis.

The company was founded by native Cincinnatian Tim Schigel who before he founded ShareThis was the director of Blue Chip Venture Company, a Cincinnati based firm which participated in the startups latest round. Schigel is also the founder of the public/private partnership Cintrifuse that’s supporting downtown Cincinnati’s startup movement.

Back in April when ShareThis acquired Socialize they opened up a funding round and raised $23 million dollars. They left the round open and took another $7 million dollars before closing the round.

In addition to Blue Chip Venture Company, Blair Garrou of the Mercury Fund , Heidi Rozen of Draper Fisher Juverston and T-Venture also participated in this round. All of the investors had previously invested in the company.

Come see Cincinnati’s amazing startup community for yourself during this national startup conference!


CincyTech Closes Biggest Fund To Date

CincyTech, Funding, Cincinnati startups, Everywhere Else

CincyTech, the public/private partnership, seed stage investor, and pillar of the Cincinnati startup community, has reportedly raised it’s largest fund to date. Earlier this month The Cincinnati Business Courier reported that CincyTech has closed on a $10.8 million dollar fund.

CincyTech Fund III, LLC combines a $5 million Ohio Third Frontier investment with $5.9 million raised by CincyTech from Southwest Ohio partners.

Like CincyTech Funds I and II LLC, Fund III will invest in companies focused on information technology and bioscience that are based in or willing to move to Southwest Ohio. The fund has the capacity to invest in at least 15 companies.

“Over the last five years there has been a significant increase in seed stage investment activity in the Cincinnati region. CincyTech Fund III will enable us to continue to invest in entrepreneurs in Southwest Ohio to create jobs and wealth to propel our region forward,” said Bob Coy, president of CincyTech.

CincyTech has a variety of investors that have participated in Fund III, including eight local institutions and 51 individual investors.

“The number of individual investors in Fund III represents a dramatic increase from the nine individual investors in Fund II. These individuals are the foundation of the larger seed stage investment syndicates that we organize for our portfolio companies. Based upon our past investment experience, for every dollar invested in a startup from Fund III, an additional $3 will be invested by other investors in the seed round prior to an investment by an institutional venture capital fund,” said Coy.

Local institutions that have committed to invest in Fund III include Castellini Foundation, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, The Christ Hospital, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.

CincyTech has invested in $15.3 million dollars in 43 portfolio companies, including ChoreMonster, Impulcity, Lisnr, VenturePax, Ahalogy and many more.

Speaking of Cincinnati, this huge national conference for startups everywhere else is in Cincinnati Sep 29- October 1.



$600,000 Investment In GigTank Startup WeCounsel Proves Accelerators Still Work

WeCounsel, Chattanooga startup, GigTank, UltraGroup, Funding

WeCounsel CEO Harrison Tyner pitches at GigTank demo day (photo: NMI 2013)

Just last week we were in Chattanooga for the GigTank accelerator’s second demo day. GigTank debuted last year, right on the heels of Chattanooga becoming the first (sorry KC) city with 1gb ethernet to all residential and business addresses.  This year’s cohort came literally from across the globe with startups from Bulgaria, India and the Cayman Islands choosing to spend the summer in Tennessee.

During the two day celebration of startups in Chattanooga, there was a lot of hush hush talk about accelerators in general. It’s actually a common discussion, whether or not accelerators are worth the time and money. Many think the 3-4 month model isn’t enough time to build real companies, and with accelerators all over the country, there may be an accelerator bubble.

Another struggle is attracting investors. Outreach is tremendously important for an accelerator. Sure you can invite the same 50-100 investors on the VC academy list of VC Pro database, and they may come. But often the startups presenting aren’t in their investment wheelhouse. For accelerators not in their first season, the investors have seen the same PowerPoint template presented over and over again .

Accelerators and their demo days get interesting when you include anyone who’s interested into the startup community. Entrepreneurs come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and so do startup supporters. CoLab and GigTank director Sheldon Grizzle is very good at bringing the whole community together around entrepreneurial events. On the eve of the GigTank demo day, there was an event called Fireside Talks which included entrepreneurs 20 and under working on a variety of projects.

UltraGroup is not one of your typical startup investors.  UltraGroup is a healthcare company that specializes in behavioral health programs.  They provide outpatient care at 40 rural hospitals across eight states, according to the TimesFreePress. They are based in Chattanooga.

WeCounsel is a GigTank startup that went through the most recent cohort, graduating  last week. They offer an online platform  that allows therapists to take notes, coordinate scheduling, share documents, store client records and interact with colleagues. They are also based in Chattanooga, and one of three local startups in this year’s GigTank Cohort.

WeCounsel co-founder and CEO Harrison Tyner told Nibletz by phone that UltraGroup was on their radar to talk with earlier this summer.

“Relationships we built at the GigTank made our talks with UltraGroup progress even further,” he said. He went on to say that without the GigTank helping them iterate their idea to perfection and mentorship from others in the GigTank’s network, they would not have been ready for UltraGroup’s $600,000 investment reported Wednesday.

“None of this would have been possible for us without the GigTank. It’s been the best thing to happen to our startup,” Tyner said.

Tyner  and his co-founders Riley Draper and Joshua Goldberg are all originally from Chattanooga and will stay there to grow WeCounsel. Currently they are still operating out of CoLab but plan on moving to their own office in about a month.

“Chattanooga continues to prove that it’s a great city for entrepreneurship,” Tyner said. By staying in Chattanooga, they will be able to work closely with UltraGroup and continue to work with the mentors and leaders they formed relationship with at GigTank.

When the GigTank presentations kicked off, Toni Gamayel co-founder and CEO of Banyan took the stage. His company, which has designed a collaboration platform for researchers, won $100,000 from Alcatel Lucent at last year’s demo day. Shortly after demo day the company went home to Tampa, Florida, where Gamayel has been a fixture in the startup community.  He told a story about coming up to visit during the winter last year and realizing that Chattanooga was on its way up. With that realization entire team loaded up a Uhaul and moved back to town.

For more info on WeCounsel visit them online here.

Check out more GigTank coverage here.