Indiana’s Snappening Brings Event Planning to Your Phone


event planning apps


Three-year-old Indianapolis company Snappening has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $20,000. The company will use money from the flexible funding campaign to develop an app to go along with their current website.

In 2011, Crystal Grave agreed to help a friend plan her wedding. With plenty of experience in corporate event planning, she expected it to be no problem.

incontent3For Crystal, the process wasn’t too troubling, but she soon realized that an average consumer would find it impossibly hard to navigate. Without something as simple as a comprehensive database of venues, someone with no knowledge of the industry could waste days in research and still not find what they needed.

In answer to the problem, Crystal created Focused mainly in Indiana (for now!) the site helps you find a venue and/or an event planner for any type of event.

As the company grows, a mobile app seems the next logical step. So, in coordination with Indiegogo’s International Women’s Day initiative, Crystal launched a crowdfunding campaign.

The mobile app will bring the same search engine users experience on the website. It will also help you locate venues nearby using the GPS on your phone and allow users to connect with several potential venues at once.

Through the mobile app, Snappening also wants to expand nationally and across vendor categories.

Event planning is a $6 billion/year industry, and that doesn’t really even cover the average party planner who is looking to plan a party or wedding. While there are tons of apps to help plan and prepare, nothing quite covers the niche Crystal and Snappening are shooting for. They’ve spent 3 years slowly building their presence in Indiana and gaining revenue through premium memberships and advertisements.

Now with a proven business model and lots of experience, they’ve put themselves in a good position to grow bigger and bigger. Check out their Indiegogo campaign and see what you think.

Indianapolis-based Bloomerang Helps Nonprofits Keep Their Donors



Nonprofits and philanthropy are a topic of conversation lately. This week it was announced that Mark Zuckerberg is America’s Top Philanthropist in 2013, with $970 million in donations last year.

Unfortunately for most nonprofits, though, it can be hard to recruit donors, and even harder to keep them.

That’s where Indiana startup Bloomerang comes in. They help nonprofits retain donors, which saves money that can be used to actually fulfill the mission.

Check out our Q&A with Bloomerang below:

What is your startup called?


Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Our Co-Founder & CEO is Jay Love, a 30-year veteran in the technology sector and a legend in the nonprofit sector. He created eTapestry in the 1990s, the first ever cloud-based donor management product, which was acquired by Blackbaud in 2007.

The three remaining co-founders were lead product managers and engineers at eTapestry, so they brought a unique perspective on user experience and functionality to Bloomerang.

What’s the story behind your idea?

Jay Love was attending sitting in the audience at a nonprofit conference keynote luncheon. The speaker was Dr. Adrian Sargeant, the Robert F. Hartsook Professor of Fundraising at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and one of the foremost exerts on donor loyalty in the world. 

Following the presentation, Jay asked Adrian out for lunch. During their discussion, he asked Adrian whether he thought all of his research on donor retention was making a difference in the nonprofit world. Adrian paused before finally answering “No, I don’t believe it is.” That’s when Jay knew that his next nonprofit technology venture needed to have a focus on retention and loyalty.

Where are you based?

Indianapolis, Indiana

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

Indianapolis has always been supportive of startups. Monthly Verge meetups attract hundreds of startup enthusiasts, who now have homes to call their own at Developer Town. We have The Speak Easy, one of the premiere co-working spots in the state, and TechPoint, an organization dedicated to economic development and advocacy. ExactTarget, Compendium and Aprimo, three of the most recent tech success stories, got their start in Indianapolis, while a recent Startup Weekend Indianapolis winner went on to place 2nd in the Global Startup Battle.

What problem do you solve?

In 2013, the Fundraising Effectiveness Project released the findings from their yearly study on year-to-year fundraising results. They found that nonprofits, on average, only retain 39% of donors. In other words, six out of every ten donors who make a gift in year one do not make a gift in year two. Because the cost of acquiring those donations is typically greater than the donation amount itself, nonprofits with low retention rates find themselves on a gift acquisition treadmill with ever-diminishing returns.

Further exacerbating this problem are the technology options currently available to nonprofits. The three leading donor management applications on the market facilitate and encourage a culture of acquisition, rather than retention. 

Because our software is focused on retaining your current donors, rather than acquiring new ones, our customers are able to increase their donor retention percentages and bring in more revenue annually.

Why now?

When you combine a lack of donor retention insights, high subscription costs and feature homogeneity, many nonprofits feel trapped by their current providers and unable to unlock the true potential within their databases. We felt the time was right for a new entry to the marketplace, and so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

In January, 2014 we signed our 250th customer and hired our 19th employee. Our revenue growth rate in 2013 was over 5,000% of 2012 ($6,700 to $395,232.40).

What are your next milestones?

We expect to have 34 employees and 500 customers by the end of 2014.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

You can find us at and socially at and


Startups In The Fastlane: Velocity Startup GreekPull

FastlaneVelocityCrowdfunding is everywhere, there’s crowdfunding for your startup, crowdfunding for your movie, crowdfunding for the things you want and even crowdfunding for college money. Now, thanks to a San Diego startup that’s accelerating at Velocity in Indiana, there is crowdfunding for your fraternity or sorority.

Back in the olden days, before computers, internet, and crowdfunding, fraternities and sororities that were working on a project would have fundraisers, cash boxes, collection jars, and a treasurer to collect all the money. Then you had to trust that the treasurer didn’t spend the fraternity’s money on his own stash of brew and other college accoutrements.

Greekpull, San Diego startup, Indiana startup, Velocity Indiana, AcceleratorGreekPull is working on a crowdfunding platform for fraternities and sororities that eliminates all these problems, makes it super easy for members to raise money for projects, and then securely collects the money so it can’t be squandered on the frivolous. Now when a sorority or a fraternity wants to hold a big clean-up project, restore a building, or buy toys for local needy kids the money is there. They can even use the funds for special events like spring formals and dances.

We got a chance to talk with AJ Agrawal about GreekPull and their team’s experience at Velocity. They’ll be graduating at the end of the month and think making the move from San Diego to Jeffersonville, Indiana was one of the best choices they’ve ever made. Check out the interview below.

What is the name of your startup?


What accelerator are you in?

Velocity Accelerator

When is demo day/investor day/graduation?

August 29th, 2013

Where is your startup originally from?

San Diego, CA

Tell us about your current team?

Eghosa Aihie- The Hustler: In charge of sales and marketing

AJ Agrawal- The Visionary: In charge of product development and investor relations

What does your startup do?

We’re a crowdfunding platform for Fraternities and Sororities

What are your goals for the accelerator program?

To complete our next seed round of $350,000

What’s one thing you’ve learned in the accelerator?

Never edit your product without talking to customers first, you’ll save a lot of time and money.

What’s the hardest piece of advice you’ve had to stomach so far?

Always being ready to pivot. It feels like your starting completely over when you pivot and sometimes it’s hard to stomach that it’s all part of the learning process.

What is your goal for the day after demo day?

To further conversation with potential investors and customers.

Why did you choose this accelerator?

Over half the National Fraternities and Sororities are located in Indianapolis, so we are in an ideal location to get customer feedback.

If you relocated for the accelerator are you staying in your new city?

Yes, however, we will most likely move a little closer to Indianapolis.

What’s one thing you learned about an accelerator that you didn’t know when you applied?

We’ve been amazed how nice the people in Jeffersonville have been to us. Coming from San Diego, we were unsure what to expect heading into Southern Indiana. Overall, the connections we have made has been priceless, and we look forward to staying in touch with all the people we have met.

Where can people find out more?



Angie’s List Acquires Denver Startup BrightNest

BrightNest, Denver startup, Angie's List, Indiana startup

On Friday it was announced that Indiana-based Angie’s list, the worlds largest referral startup, has acquired Denver startup BrightNest.

BrightNest was founded in 2011 in Denver’s River North Arts District.  The startup is a community-based platform centered around homeowners. They offer tips, tools, and ideas that they say will “shape up your home and simplify your life.”

While Angie’s List is a great place to find a handyman to change a door, over the years their offerings have evolved to include contractors, carpenters, and other service people who can help complete long renovation projects and bigger home improvements.

With  BrightNest incorporated into the Angie’s List site, home owners will be able to get suggestions for projects and then find the people they need to work on the projects.

“The only way to transform the local services industry is to solve real problems in a bigger, better, and new way,” Angie’s List Chief Executive Officer Bill Oesterle said in a statement. “With two million members and more than 18 years in this space, no one has better data on local service providers than Angie’s List. BrightNest adds a user-friendly front end and personalized member experience to our marketplace platform which is built on rules, tools and transparency.”

Angie’s List also announced the national rollout of its new communication and scheduling tools. In the second quarter, Angie’s List processed more than 116,000 transactions on its marketplace platform. This represents a tiny fraction of the total transactions that flow through Angie’s List. “We’ve been quietly transforming the way local service is transacted, and we are now in a position to scale it. We will put the platform everywhere our members want it to be, including web, mobile ,and call center,” said Oesterle.

In the new marketplace, Angie’s List can monitor and evaluate each transaction as it progresses through to completion. “If a transaction gets stuck at any point, we are going to step in and fix it,” said Oesterle. “We have the critical mass and the relationships with local service providers that allow us to change service outcomes.”

BrightNest Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Justin Anthony echoed Oesterle’s statement. “We’re excited to join a trusted brand and help facilitate the solution to make it even easier to hire local service providers. Our tools and interactive content allow us to tailor a custom experience for every member because no two homes and no two homeowners are exactly alike.”

Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, Angie’s List acquired basically all of the assets of BrightNest for $2.65 million in cash. The cash value included $2.15 million at closing and $0.5 million payable at the one-year anniversary of closing, subject to certain performance criteria. Angie’s List funded the acquisition with existing cash. In addition, Angie’s List will grant options to purchase $3.65 million of Angie’s List common stock to the members of the BrightNest team, all of whom have been retained by Angie’s List. The transaction closed on August 2, 2013.


How To Nail Your Next VC Pitch

Tony Monteleone, Indiana startup, startup grind, nailing VC pitchIt doesn’t matter how world changing your idea is; if you need money to make it happen, but ruin your opportunities in front of potential venture capitalists, it’s not going to make it off the ground. Venture capitalists are a unique bunch and pitching to them requires a unique strategy. There are four main categories that you need to perfect in order to really nail it, and a few things to note in each one.

The Prep Work

Before you ever step foot in the room to give your pitch, you’ve got plenty of homework to do. Knowing your audience is a key component of nailing a pitch. If you’re pitching to a VC firm, know who they are and what they’ve invested in previously. If you’re working with an angel investor, know who that person is and what he or she does.

Remember, not all money is good money. You’re interviewing the VC as much as they’re interviewing you. Come prepared with questions. A seasoned investor will be able to bring more to provide you with industry knowledge, introductions, and connections. Don’t just take money to take money.

Opening Statement

When you’re putting together your presentation, it shouldn’t be any more than eight slides. Avoid using tools like Prezi—investors are going to jump into your pitch with questions whenever they want, and you may have to skip quickly to another slide to make a point that you planned to make later. Make it easy on yourself by using a presentation tool like keynote or PowerPoint, which has more flexibility.

Your opening statement should convey your idea in two sentences or less, just like an elevator pitch. This is your first and biggest opportunity to say everything you need to without confusing anyone. Being clear, precise, and simple can’t be overstated. There’s no reason to overcomplicate the issue in your opener, or for that matter, anywhere else in your presentation.

After your opening statement, tell a story that helps your audience understand the problem you’re trying to solve. Get creative, and make them feel the pain of the problem. The rest of your pitch will show how you plan to solve it.

If you don’t have a clue where to start for your statement, there are tools out there to help. Harvard Business School created an elevator pitch builder that walks you through a simple and easy method for building a pitch. Founder Institute developed a MadLibs method for developing your pitch. These are two of the best resources available for getting a solid start.

The Team

Frequently, a VC may not be investing in your idea as much as in your team. Highlight the team in your presentation by showing the kind of things they bring to the table, and show what makes them unique. Frequently, a good team can take a mediocre idea and do incredible things with it. At the same time, a weak team can completely ruin a great idea. Show them why your team wins.

The Context

There are five primary points that need to be covered in your pitch presentation.

  1. The idea. This is your opportunity to elaborate more on the opening statement and discuss the idea behind what you’re trying to do.
  2. Your solutions. Why is your solution best, and why is it going to work now?
  3. Traction and validation. If you have a product already built, talk about customers or conversations with experts. Anything that will validate the need or want for the product is key in showcasing your idea. You have to have proof that you’ve done your research and development. If you’ve made a single dollar doing this, make note of it. This is also your opportunity to be honest with them. If you have a weakness (and you do), bring it up. Whether it’s the team, industry, or lack of money, point it out before an investor does.
  4. The future. How will your idea change the industry? Focus on the positive changes here.
  5. What you need. You’re in front of VCs for a reason. They don’t know what’s in your mind. Come right out and ask for exactly what you need. That isn’t just how much you need, though. Talk about what the deal structure looks like. It’s always good to talk with a startup attorney before pitching. They’ll help put together a deal structure among other things.

Cover these topics, and you’ll nail the VC pitch. Make your points quickly, and don’t get frazzled. Remove any buzzwords from your presentation entirely, and don’t take yourself too seriously. And limit name-dropping. Just because you hung out with Mark Cuban at the Super Bowl doesn’t mean they’ll invest in your idea. Have fun, be passionate, and bring it home.

Tony Monteleone(@StartupTonyis a serial entrepreneur and does Business Development for PERQ, a measured marketing software and services company that specializes in increasing online and in store traffic for businesses. He also serves as the Indianapolis Chapter Director for Startup Grind.


Indy Startup Adproval Simplifies Direct Advertising For Any Blogger [VIDEO]

Adproval, Matthew Anderson, Indiana startup, startup interview

Most of our readers know I’m into my 7th year as a full time blogger. Both of the new media startups I’ve founded produced fresh content six days a week. After creating Nibletz in the summer of 2011, I sold Thedroidguy the following spring to concentrate on Nibletz full time.

Like many of the serial entrepreneurs we’ve profiled here at Nibletz, I learned a lot of lessons from my previous startup, and at the same time brought with me habits from my previous startup as well.

With a new media startup (in a lot of cases a fancy schmancy word for blog), or as a full time blogger, and now one with a staff, people often wonder how we do it. There are so many people out there that think they can buy a $1.99 domain name, activate Word Press, and be in business. Well as Indianapolis startup Adproval’s, founder Mathew Anderson talks about in the video below, it’s not that easy. A lot of bloggers either stop blogging altogether or move to part time blogging because they can’t figure out how to monetize.

In 2013 there are so many different things involved in monetization, the least lucrative of those is ad networks. Through both sites we’ve tried just about every available ad network. Now with tech focused sites we’re at an even bigger loss because most of our readers are trained not to click network ads. With advertising though, the trick is to be engaging and to capture the attention of the reader. That’s why our state and local partnerships are the best way to reach an engaged audience of millions across the site and social media.

But attracting those partnerships takes a lot of time.

Even with a permanent Managing Editor on board and a co-founder picking up a lot of the backend work, I spend a lot of time working on direct sales.  Anderson is hoping to solve that problem, not just for us but for everyone.  Anderson explains his “aha moment” in his conversation with Nick Tippmann in the video below, and he shared a lot about it in our interview with him back in November.

Adproval provides a platform that makes it easy to reach targeted direct advertisers for whatever your niche in blogging is.

Are you blogging recipes, kite flying, paintball, or even tech? Adproval helps you set up their system to reach those advertisers or sponsors that will engage the audience.

At Thedroidguy we used one of the biggest and best ad networks in the world, outside of Google AdSense. Still, an Android-focused blog, we would get huge skyscraper or interstitial ads for macaroni and cheese, cleaning product,s and Brita water filters. As internet sensation Sweet Brown would say, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Here at Nibletz for instance, the best ads would be for startup lawyers, PR firms catering to startups, accelerators, startup conferences, the latest mobile technology, incubators, and coworking spaces. Our readers don’t care about Velveeta Shells & Cheese; they’re still eating Ramen noodles.

Adproval’s knack for connecting bloggers with the sponsors and advertisers that will fill these needs and actually get eyeballs is making the Indianapolis-based company successful.

Check out our video interview with Anderson below and for more info visit


BlueBridge Digital Founder Talks About One Year Journey From College To 15 Employees

BlueBridge Digital, Indiana startup,startup interviewLast year Santiago Jaramillo was a senior in college. From his dorm room, he created a business building apps for other businesses. What happened over the next year is a story much more common to Silicon Valley and New York than Indiana. Jaramillo took that app-building business and turned it into his startup: BlueBridge Digital, a company that does “apps as a service”.

BlueBridge Digital is an app development company that specializes in three verticals: travel and tourism, higher education, and religious institutions. Their clients include Gatlinburg, Tennessee, University of Arkansas, and several well known large churches.

One of the biggest things that sets BlueBridge Digital apart from other app development houses is their subscription model. They charge their clients a monthly fee rather than making them come out of pocket with one big payment, something that often times prevents companies in their verticals from going forward with their app projects.

By focusing on just three main verticals, making their service accessible to businesses, and offering superior customer service, Jaramillo’s startup is cash flow positive and employs 15 people, just a year out of college.

Jaramillo told Nibletz co-founder Nick Tippmann in an interview that one of the biggest keys to his success was focusing on sales and getting people to actually pay for his services. This made it easier to attract a great team of established co-founders, great employees, and more clients. With all that in mind, Jaramillo was able to bootstrap BlueBridge Digital to revenue.

Check out the video interview below and for more visit

37 signals founder Jason Fried talks about product design.


When Sh!t Hits The Fan, There’s Indiana Startup Evacua

Evacua, Indiana startup, innovation showcase, startup,startup interview

Bloomington, Indiana startup Evacua is a platform/marketplace for people when sh!t hits the fan. What kind of sh!t? How about evacuations.

Often times when an evacuation is necessary, nobody is prepared. That lack of preparation makes an evacuation take 10x as long as it would if more people were ready. Hurricanes, wildfires, and floods are just a few of the disasters that can displace you and your family. If you had a safety network in your back pocket ,you would breathe easier and know that anything dictating an evacuation would be more manageable.

Evacua is a network of verified travelers, companies, and transportation providers that can quickly pool resources together during an evacuation.

Evacua isn’t just about natural disasters and what you would think of as traditional “evacuations.” It’s an emergency travel safety net. If you were on a business trip and your wife went into labor or you had a death in the family, Evacua members would have access to last minute travel without the huge cost of paying commercially for it.

The startup accelerated at RunUp Labs, the travel industry accelerator based out of Bloomington, Indiana’s SproutBox. The idea is to quickly connect its members to be mobilized and ready travel companies and providers at a moment’s notice. At the same time, they are also working on the rideshare model for aircraft.

“Simultaneously, we are fixing the ride sharing model for aircrafts. By using a low cost to entry, we can appeal to a broader base of travelers. During emergencies, this base of travelers is more flexible with price, destination, and departure times, allowing for more likely matches of flights and passengers,” the company says on it’s AngelList profile.

Nibletz’ Nick Tippmann was in Indiana for the Innovation Showcase last week where he got to spend some time with Mike Beckwith the General Manager and co-founder of Evacua. Check out our video interview below and for more info visit



NW Indiana Startup Just Food Brings Real Food To Feeding Tubes

Just Food, Indiana startup,startupsIt’s hard enough for someone that has to be fed via feeding tube. Typically they get corn syrup based mixtures packed with artificial ingredients mixed with vitamins and nutrients they need to survive. While the food used in feeding tubes is doing the job it’s not necessarily “good” for the patient.

Now, a North West Indiana startup called Just Food is hoping to bring better food to the feeding tube. They resorted to indiegogo for a crowdfunding campaign for $10,000 to help get the project off the ground. With 22 days to go as of the writing of this story, Just Food has already past their goal.

While some people already blend foods for their feeding tubes it can be a long process and if the foods aren’t blended right they don’t have the same effects. Just Food blends the food mixtures for the patients at a cost of roughly $4 per meal. Several researchers and doctors have praised using real food over formula for feeding tubes.

“The patients I see with feeding tubes who follow a blended diet tend to be healthier than those who are fed 100% formula” -Dr. Beth Madonna, a pediatric surgeon and advisor to Just Food said.

The Just Food mixtures contain whole grains, lean protein, fruit, vegetables, healthy fats, spice and liquid.  Each Just Food meal is a complete meal of just 7 ingredients.

Just Food isn’t looking to replace people’s personally blended foods, but their packages are better than resorting to formula when the patient and their caretakers get too busy to blend up some food. Just Food is ready to go when it’s shipped and is ready to use. “Many in the medical community believe that a blended diet is (1) too hard on the families, (2) puts the patient at risk for contamination, (3) formula is just fine, (4) will clog the tube. Just Food addresses (and negates!) all these beliefs. ” Just Food said on their indiegogo page.

So how did Just Food come about?

“I started Just Food when my son, AJ, couldn’t tolerate any of the commercially available tube-feeding formulas, despite the fact that he had no allergies,” said Julie Bombacino, Founder, Just Food said in a statement. “When I started blending AJ’s meals from 100-percent real food, he started to thrive; he stopped vomiting daily, began to gain weight and the color came back to his skin – he was just a happier and healthier kid. My ultimate goal with Just Food is that people with feeding tubes know that real food is not only possible, but easier to obtain than ever before.”

You can check out Just Food on Indeigogo here and on their website here.

This startup could be world changing, but what about all the other “world changing” startups.


Indiana Startup Stacked Labs Takes To Kickstarter With Their Go Go Gadget iPhone Case System

GoStacked,StackedLabs,Indiana StartupIndiana startup Stacked Labs, headed by Ryan Lantz is taking to Kickstarter with one of the most ingenious iPhone accessories I’ve ever seen. I was originally going to title this story “Indiana Startup Stacked Labs Takes To Kickstarter To Take On Mophie” but once I spent a little time on their website at, their product is about so much more than charging.

GoStacked is an interchangeable iPhone case system, now we’re not talking about pink cases, neon cases or rhinestones, we’re talking abut accessorizing your iPhone with things you could really use.  The GoStacked system features a protective case with a port where you can slide in a GoStacked card.

Right now, Stacked Labs is prepared to launch with a GoSolar card and a GoBattery card for those that need charging power on the go. The cards are much more easy to manage when you’re on the go. Three or four cards will actually fit in your pocket. GoStacked has just about answered the call as to what to do when your JuicePack runs out.

With the GoStacked modular system you could in essence by three battery cards and insure your phone will never lose charge.

Now in the infamous words of the late great Billy Mays, “that’s not all”.

StackedLabs is working on developing some other really cool cards. These new card ideas include:

A wifi booster card
Key Fob to interact with your car
Hard Drive
NFC Reader
FM Transmitter

We hear there may be even more ideas beyond those.

Stacked Labs is an Indiana startup focused on technology to help people with their every day needs. It’s founded by brothers Ryan and Troy Lantz. Who have the technical and business backgrounds to pull something like this off.

Right now they are a little over 20% of the way to their $75,000 kickstarter goal. I’d fund the whole thing if I could, the GoStacked case system adds just about every function you could ever want for your iPhone in one modular system.

You can support GoStacked on Kickstarter here and find out more about them here.

What else is going on with Indiana startups find out here at The Voice Of Startups Everywhere Else.

Tourize Gamifys Sign Up Process With Madness In March

Tourize,Indiana Startup,startupIndiana startup Tourize is working on a new way to travel.  Where most travel apps focus on booking flights or hotels cheaply, Andrew Heil, founder of Tourize, wants to put the “tour” back into travel.

“We believe that often times knowledge is missing as each tourist experiences a new attraction or is planning a new trip.’ Heil told in an interview. They’re currently accelerating in the “RunUp Labs, the travel technology accelerator which runs through demo day on May 10th.

RunUp Labs is part of a new wave of vertical accelerators, that many accelerator proponents feel is the model to go with. This accelerator only caters to startups in the travel sector and as such they can refine their mentors.

” It’s been great.  My team and I have been working around the clock and of course learning a whole lot.” Heil said about RunUp Labs and the program they offer.

So how do you get people to sign up for a beta of a startup that’s doing things differently, especially if you’re based “everywhere else”. Well you do what it takes to create excitement and buzz and in the case of Tourize that means taking advantage of the NCAA tournament with their Madness in March sign up promotion.

Heil said “I thought if “Hipster” could get 10k signups with just a launch page and mailbox app could make a que of 600k signups, certainly I could make madness in march happen!”

“And it’s starting to – we launched on Sunday 3/24 and have already passed 1,000 page views rather quickly in the first 5 hours.  We’ve continued to that rate and are at 2,500 page views in the first 36 hours.  After reaching out to people who have signed up, people are interested in the hype of a new way to travel and of course, being part of the tournament!” Heil continued.

Tourize is tweeting out the tournament stats via their Twitter feed @tourizeapp.

They will shortly narrow down the field to see who the final four early adopters of Tourize are.

You can find out more about Tourize here.

Thinking about an accelerator check out these startup accelerator stories.

Seed Hatchery Announces 6 Team Class Of 2013

Seed Hatchery, Accelerator, Memphis Startup, Indiana Startup, startup newsMemphis’ tech startup accelerator program, now in it’s third year, Seed Hatchery, has unveiled the six startup teams participating in it’s 2013 cohort. The cohort will begin next week on February 8th and end with a Demo Day during the legendary Memphis in May Barbecue Festival.  The applications were plentiful and this years class features five local startups as well as one startup from Indiana. Also new for Seed Hatchery, and a growing trend across America, three of the startups are led by women.

Seed Hatchery teams will receive seed funding as well as an intense mentor driven program designed to cultivate their idea stage businesses and turn them into viable companies/products.

This year’s Seed Hatchery program will be full time. It also features teams that have been heavily vested in the Memphis startup ecosystem driven by the efforts of Launch Your City/Launch Memphis. Most of the teams, prior to even applying to Seed Hatchery, elected to participate in the Startup Village as part of the upcoming, The Startup Conference.

Here are the teams: is led by Brittanny Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick pitched her startup at the Upstart Memphis 48 Hour Launch in December. Fitzpatrick has been working for the Ronald McDonald House in conjunction with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, which led her to developing this idea. is essentially a system for matching mentors with mentees. Every year mentor organizations are faced with a problem stemming from mismatched mentors and mentees. This problem actually takes up more time and resources than originally matching mentors. will be an algorithm based platform that matches mentors with mentees in a more efficient way.


IncreaseIF plans to match provides cost-analysis software to help scientific researchers figure out which in-house resources should be used. Several factors go into the decision making process for evaluating using an outsourced firm by scientific researchers. These factors include cost, quality, delivery responsiveness, technology and cycle turn around time.

IncreaseIF, where the IF stands for, impact factor, will help automate these decision making processes and speed up the time of scientific research. The startup is led by software engineer Scott Finney, a Memphis local who’s been dabbling in the startup scene and anxious to push forward with this new idea.


Kangaroo is another local startup co-founded by CEO Nick Redmond and Rachel Hurley, one of the three startups featuring a female founder. Hurley is very active in the Memphis local music scene where the passion for this startup came about.  She’s constantly promoting singer songwriters and local bands through venues in town.  Redmond is one of the songwriters and founders of Star & Micey a local band which was named the number one band to see live  in Tennessee by Paste Magazine.

The idea is to create a social network around bands and music.  Sure that idea has been done a hundred times but Hurley and Redmond are putting a brand new spin on it by incorporating geocaching. With Kangaroo they plan to create a platform where touring bands and bands in town can leave behind hidden treasures. Fans can also turn around and leave tokens of appreciation for their favorite bands

“We want to abolish the limited creativity and loss of the personal touch with social media today. Connecting with fans is the only problem musicians have, and this is a huge opportunity to connect people and musicians in a active, real-time environment. From seeking out left behind items by musicians, to taking their personalized walking tours, to following them across a coast, this app and site allows the fans the most hands on experience in social media.” Hurley said.

ScrewPulp Publishing

ScrewPulp is an exciting startup for Memphis. It was originally pitched at the 48 Hour Launch event in June of 2012, the same 48 Hour launch that attracted to Memphis in the first place.

At the event, founder Richard Billings described the problems with self publishing. Self publishers live off reviews, ratings and recommendations which are impossible to drive in any organized way.  Screw Pulp allows authors to give their book away to the first 100 readers, in exchange for a review (good or bad), rating or recommendation. Once the engagement is made the “promo copy” of the book is the readers to keep.

After the first 100 books Screw Pulp goes with a sliding payment scale increasing the cost of the book while it gains popularity. Billings has become a fixture in the local startup scene. Since pitching ScrewPulp in that 48 Hour launch he has been to subsequent launch events where he’s provided feedback and mentorship. They also won the “Risk City” challenge in November as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week in November. That contest involved the startups pitching their idea to Federal Court Judge John Fowlkes in open court.


Sodbuster is the startup that is relocating from Indiana. This startup has a different spin when it comes to founders. The husband and wife team of Tom and Pam Cooper both graduated from college in the early 80’s. They both have had long and prosperous careers in their field. Now they’re going all in on their social entrepreneurship startup.

The team has the benefit of Tom’s 30+ years of experience in programming running the gamut of programming languages from COBOL to C++ and newer languages like HTML 5 and Ruby on Rails.

Sodbuster is reinventing the way local nonprofits connect to their communities to communicate and raise money. They plan on doing this with a new e-newsletter format.


Musistic was founded by Justin Olita, Vince Rogers and CTO Brian Wentzloff. This Memphis based startup wants to become the universal place for musicians to connect in a social network type setting. Once the musicians are matched up through an algorithm the platform will offer the tools necessary to collaborate with each other across the internet and even save the recordings.

Basically imagine a guitar player in Memphis, a bass player in New Hampshire, a drummer in Los Angeles and a singer in Texas. All four musicians can meet up through Musistic where their interests, styles and experience will be matched. They can then jump right into performing together from the comfort of their own homes.

The problem is that there is no universal network for musicians to create, edit and share in real time and all startups for musicians are focusing only on selling and promoting the artist’s work.
Musistic will focus on the creation process” Rogers said.

For more info on Seed Hatchery visit here

Seed Hatchery startups will be featured at The Startup Conference, do you have your tickets yet? Get them here!

 Disclosure: In the interest of journalistic integrity I am compelled to disclose that while I hold no equity interest in any of the startups in the Seed Hatchery program I am a mentor for the program and also on the selection committee. 

Indianapolis Startup LabDoor Is The Consumer Reports For Medicine & Supplements

St. Louis born, young, serial entrepreneur Neil Thanedar has been flying under the radar lately while he’s been working on his latest startup project. We ran into him at one of the Verge Indy startup events in Indianapolis over the summer. While he couldn’t officially say what he was working on, he gave us a little taste off the record. We couldn’t wait until his idea came to fruition and we could take the wraps off. Well the time is now.

Thanedar moved to Indianapolis after meeting Scott Case at the legendary Mark Cuban Shark Tank Season 3 Premiere Party. Thanedar was working on a concept and in a 1:1 session Case, the two startup geniuses hashed out what’s become LabDoor today, an extremely easy to use “consumer reports for medicine and supplements”.

Thanedar, like his father, is a lifelong scientist and entrepreneur. Thanedar’s latest endeavor, LabDoor, is scientific at the core, but a consumer tool that will become invaluable over time.

In a nutshell what LabDoor does, is allows any consumer with their smartphone app, the ability to scan the barcode of pharmaceutical or supplement product A and compare it with pharmaceutical or supplement product B. How much different is that Albuteral inhaler than Ventolin or Proventil. What about Lipitor and it’s generic counterpart? What about the Vitamin B capsules from Walmart vs the Vitamin B capsules from CVS?

All of those are great questions you’ve probably wondered once or twice. Or at least you have your own similar questions.

LabDoor provides the easiest means to make sure you’re taking the right stuff.

We got a chance to talk with Thanedar who actually hurt our feelings earlier this week when he told us he though he was dead to us since he got accepted into the World Famous (valley based) Rock Health Accelerator. Actually we couldn’t be more proud of this brilliant entrepreneur, who is passionate about helping other founders anytime, anywhere.

Check out the interview below.

Read More…

Purdue Startup: FoundOps Wins Startup Bowl At Indy Powder Keg Conference

photo: TechCocktail

Last week downtown Indianapolis and Lucas Oil Field (home to this years Super Bowl) played host to the first Powder Keg conference.

Powder Keg piggybacked off Connections 12, ExactTarget’s annual conference for their digital marketers.

The signature event for this year’s Powder Keg conference was the first ever Startup Bowl. The Startup Bowl pitted 12 regional startups against each other in a traditional pitch contest. To put a very cool spin on it, conference organizer Matt Hunckler, held the Startup Bowl at Lucas Oil Field.

Derek Pacque and his startup CoatChex was among one of the 12 contestants. Pacque is somewhat of an Indy startup celebrity. He turned down a $200,000 investment from Mark Cuban in the first episode of Shark Tank Season 4.

Pacque’s mini celeb status wasn’t enough to thwart a duo of entrepreneurs from Purdue though. It was their startup, FindOPS, which took home a prize package worth $15,000.

FoundOPS founders, Jon Perl and Oren Shatken admit that their startup isn’t the sexiest. FoundOPS is a useful mobile app that offers route optimization, data collection and GPS tracking.

FoundOPS is in the hot enterprise space, targeting field services. Companies with field workers will take advantage of the many features found in FieldOPS mobile app.

What were the judges looking for?

“What’s their go-to-market strategy? Have they identified their market correctly? Where do they fit, versus their competition?” Judge Christopher Day, Managing Principal at the Nabudar Group told the Indianapolis Business Journal.

FoundOPS had all the components the judges pool were looking for. Startup America CEO and Founding CTO of, announced the winning team at the end of the event.


Source: IndyStar

Here’s more startup news from “everywhere else”

Speaking of conferences

Photo: TechCocktail