Cariloop: The Expedia For Senior Care

Expedia for senior care

It’s going to happen to all of us.

There will come a day when our parents become dependents, and it becomes our job to care for them. Sometimes that means they will live with us, but it’s more than likely that we will need to find some kind of assisted living or retirement community. And, it’s possible those care options could be hundreds of miles from where we live.

Steve Theesfeld spent several years working for Sunrise Senior Living, and in that time he realized that it’s impossible for patients and family to get good, quality information about geriatric healthcare options. It wasn’t the organizations’ fault, necessarily. They often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing and branding, but they do it in outdated ways that end up being inaccessible.

With this understanding, Theesfeld founded Cariloop, described to me by CEO Michael Walsh as an “Expedia for senior care.”

Cariloop’s platform enables family members to get all the information they need about local options, pricing, and availability. They also provide direct access to the providers to facilitate easier admission.

Today the Cariloop team will pitch at the Health Wildcatters’ Demo Day. They’ve spent the last 3 months going through the accelerator, learning how hard it can be to build a business while essentially going back to school.

In true Texas form, Health Wildcatters takes its name from risk-taking oil entrepreneurs who take big chances in where they drill. This kind of mentality rubbed off on the Cariloop team.

“There is a good way to do things and a disruptive way to do things,” Walsh told us when we asked about the one thing he learned during the accelerator. “Entrepreneurs need to put everything they have into differentiating themselves, building something’s that better than everyone else’s, and sharing their passion with the world.”

After Demo Day, the team hopes to get some sleep. But, after THAT, they are already hard at work on some new features they will release in January. They’ve also signed a partnership with the Texas Organization of Residential Care Homes, which represents some 250-300 homes in the state.

For about Cariloop, check out the website and follow them on Twitter.

Dallas Startup Be Pawsitive, Buy One Give One For Dogs!

BePawsitive, Dallas startup, Texas Startup, Social Entrepreneurship, startup interview

Buy one give one charities have become one of the most popular forms of social entrepreneurship. I don’t mind buying my family Toms, because I know I’m doing my little part for charity in my already busy life.  Over the past couple of years, monthly subscription box startups have become equally popular.

Now Dallas-based entrepreneur Travis Watson has put both concepts together in a startup he calls Be Pawsitive.  Be Pawsitive is a monthly subscription box of organic treats for your favorite canine companion. The “home baked” treats taste great to dogs, and they’re good for them as well.  But, in addition to your dog, when you sign up for Be Pawsitive, the same box will be sent to an animal shelter so those dogs can enjoy the treats. For every purchased box, one is donated.


“After learning that more than 3 million dogs end up in shelters across the country each year, I felt compelled to do whatever I could to help,” Watson said in a statement. “The treats we donate not only provide a healthy snack for the dogs but also help with obedience training to get them ready for new homes, and also serve as an “ice breaker” for the dog and potential adopter during their first meeting. The treats are really making a difference.”

Treats come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors including; The Original, Rise and Shine, Cheesy-Berry, Pizza Party, Power Berry, Banana Split, Pumpkin Pie, Relax, and Iron Dog.  In addition to the delicious snacks, Be Pawsitive also tries to include other things for their canine customers like toys and for their first box a $25 gift certificate to Rover, another startup that helps dog owners find experienced pet sitters.

Check out our interview with Watson below:

EE-FORENTREPRENEURSWhat is your startup called?

Be Pawsitive

What does your company do?

We sell a monthly subscription box for dogs. The box is full of our delicious oven baked dog treats and a few other fun dog items. Each box of treats we sell provides a box of treats we donate to animal shelters and rescue organizations across the country. We operate with a Buy One, Give One business model. Each month customers get a new treat flavor in their box as well as other sponsored products (ex. gift cards, dog toys, misc dog stuff).

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Travis Watson (me) is the founder of Be Pawsitive. I have a background in design and finance. I graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington with a BBA in Management in 2009.

Where are you based?

Dallas, Texas

What problem do you solve?

Each year over 3 million dogs will enter into animal shelters across the country. We are working to help make their (shelter dogs) lives better and increase adoption rates. Our treats are used during obedience training to help dogs get ready for new homes. Dogs that are leash trained and obedient get adopted faster. Our treats also act as an ice breaker during the first meet and greet with a shelter dog and person(s) looking to adopt. Some of these dogs come from abusive past or are just a little scared being in an environment with so much going on. Being able to give the dog a treat shows that your intentions are good and allows the dog to feel more comfortable and hopefully leads to a long term relationship with those people. And finally they are a healthy snack for the dogs. Many of our treats provide additional nutrients and are packed with healthy ingredients. We are also working to raise awareness to adopt instead of buy from a breeder or pet store. The over supply of shelter dogs can be lessened with more people adopting.

Why does it matter?

People have a special connection with dogs and we want to provide a way for them to reward their own dog with amazing dog treats and also provide them with a way to help other dogs out.

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

We had a successful launch of our website on June 1st and have been gaining traction within the subscription box (for dogs) market.

What are your next milestones?

Our next big push will be a mix of online marketing, social media engagement, and grass roots marketing. We hope to keep gaining new relationships with shelters and rescue organizations that will benefit from our treat donations.

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

twitter @bepawsitive


Check out this startup, it’s Fitbit for dogs.

ooWorldcoop (Our Own World Cooperative) Wants To Be The First Online Social Market Place Co-Op [video]

Ooworldcoop,OneSpark,Texas Startup,startup interview,startup,co-opooWorldcoop is testing the waters in a new space in the social marketplace realm. Founder Anthony Tyson, has created the first ever social online market place co-op. Like any other co-op that means that the user base or membership will actually own the co-op together. While Tyson will always be the “founder” or “creator” he won’t be the owner, everyone will.

Co-Op models have been around for many years. Group buying co-ops are the most popular kinds of co-ops that still exist in the offline world today. Most cities have a grocery store or local produce store co-op. In that case, the members vote on what kind of items to buy and at what prices. They also dictate buying power with strength in numbers. The biggest benefit for the overall business in this case is that vendors know exactly what the buyers will buy.

In the case of the online co-op, after operating expenses, members will vote on where the co-op can spend its money. Profits will be reinvested, with member guidance, to offer more and better services to members.

A co-op also means that the accounting will be transparent to any co-op member.

Membership is free and comes with an easy to design and customize account/profile.

While may accept direct donations, most of the cooperative’s revenues will come from service/transaction fees and advertising. Surplus revenues will be used for various member programs such as affiliate commissions, education grants, micro and mini grants, and other programs voted on by the membership. We hope these will include affordable, renewable energy sources, affordable housing programs, and access to healthy food and clean water.

From the Certificate of Formation of, ‘… The purposes for organizing are, but are not limited to, to empower, support and encourage individuals to improve their quality of life and increase their earning potential; to promote, encourage and support the growth of micro-businesses and other business opportunities; to promote other worthy human endeavors including, but not limited to, arts and culture, scientific research, education, and human rights; to boost local communities while building a global community based on cooperation, collaboration and sharing; and to lessen the burdens of government. Tyson said on their OneSpark profile page.

How did people respond to this new kind of startup? Well out a crowd-funding festival they loved it. Although they didn’t finish in the top three when all was said and done on Sunday, ooWorldcoop was the biggest mover on Saturday.

We ran into Tyson’s partner Seth who filled us in, check out the video below and for more info visit

Check out more OneSpark coverage here.


Houston Startup: Mrked Buy A Cell Phone Case, Teach A Girl To Read

Mrked,Houston startup,Texas startup,startup,startups,startup interviewI technically got out of the cell phone accessories writing business last year when we sold Thedroidguy, however in Austin at SXSW we met Akil Momin the founder of Mrked.

Mrked offers 5 stylish and protective collections of iPhone cases; Crayon Box, Double Dutch, Honor Roll, Classroom and Jungle Gym. Their protective cases have an element of style that you don’t find in run of the mill cases.

What makes Mrked worthy of the pages at the voice of startups everywhere else, is the social spin they put on their company.

The young Houston based startup set out when they built their accessory company to do something social with it. That’s why they partnered with Room To Read an organization that provides education to girls in Asian and African countries.

“We believe in investing in the future, this is why we are supporting the works of Room to Read to help provide access to quality education to girls in Asian and African countries. Education empowers and enlightens people of all genders, and this brings about positive changes in many areas. Statistics show that educated parents raise educated children and that mothers are especially influential in this process. Educated women are able to live productive and enjoyable lives and raise families that do the same. This means that providing girls with proper education is the single most vital tool in eradicating inequality and poverty in the short and long term.” Momin says on the company’s website. 

All three founders of Mrked have parents that migrated from South Asia to provide their sons with a better education. Mrked is their way of giving back.

You can check out the cases at Mrked here.

 Check out these other 60 startup stories from SXSW 2013

BargainAdsPlus Is A Curated Smorgasboard Of Video Ads For Every Business

bargainadsplus, Houston startup,Texas startup,startup interviewsIf your business needs to get a video online, one place you may want to try is Sugar Land startup Bargainadsplus. This startup even describes themselves as “no business quite like us”. That’s because they offer video ads, video classifieds, ratings and more. Business owners benefit from having a place to put a variety of video ad content. Consumers benefit because theres no cost to peruse the listings on or connect with service providers.

Bargainadsplus also connects customers with daily deals without having to pay a middle man.

We got a chance to talk with Geoffrey Marlin, founder of Bargainadsplus. Check out our interview below.

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TECH Fort Worth Startup Ampcare Gets FDA 510K Approval For Technology To Improve Swallowing

Russ Campbell, President & CEO of Fort Worth startup Ampcare

Last month we brought you a story about Memphis startup Handminder and what they are doing for stroke victims. Handminder has a technology that re-teaches the brain to interact with the hands of stroke victims so they can relearn motor skills. Handminder was part of Memphis’ Zeroto510 accelerator that prepares medical device companies for their 510K FDA approval.

Last week it was announced that TECH ForthWorth startup Ampcare just received their 510K approval from the FDA for their technology that also helps stroke victims.

Ampcare’s Rx3E series of electrodes applies external stimulation to the muscles needed for swallowing. This is also a technology that directly impacts the lives of stroke victims, and those suffering from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALD (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and Muscular Dystrophy.

Russ Campbell, Rick McAdoo and Ronda Polansky, the three therapists that founded Ampcare, envisioned the device as a treatment option to treat swallowing problems.

“At Ampcare, we understand that eating and drinking affect quality of life. This product will offer healthcare professionals, specifically speech language pathologists, a technologically advanced treatment approach to address swallowing difficulties,” said Russ Campbell, President & CEO.

Dysphagia, or difficulty with swallowing, affects 18 million people in the U.S. Without proper management, dysphagia can lead to choking, malnutrition, dehydration, weight loss, muscle attrition, aspiration pneumonia, increased rate of infection and death.

“For example, people with strokes often lose their ability to protect their airway when eating and drinking,” McAdoo said. “Our device rehabilitates the muscles that move the airway to keep it protected during swallowing.”

Ampcare’s technology is just as important for comfort as it is for patient safety.

Ampcare is a startup resident at the TECH Fort Worth Incubator in Texas.

“Since May, when Ampcare won our Impact Award, the team has been pressing hard for this next milestone, the clearance of its product for the market,” said Darlene Ryan, Executive Director of TECH Fort Worth. “The Ampcare founders have their heart in this product. Their motivation is the patients who will have a higher quality of life because of their work. It is clients like this that inspire me to do everything I can to help them and others continue to bring new products to market that really matter.”


Check out Ampcare here

TECH Fort Worth here

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Houston Startup: Sports Tradex, The Fantasy Stock Exchange For Sports INTERVIEW

SportsTradex, Houston startup,Texas startup,startup,startups,startup interview,founder interview, HSXFor those of you old enough to remember, back before 9/11 Cantor Fitzgerald was the outfit behind a virtual stock exchange called HSX. HSX stood for Hollywood Stock Exchange and it was one of the first virtual stock exchanges that allowed users to buy and sell celebrities, movies and movie options. Unfortunately after 9/11 and the loss that Cantor Fitzgerald had in the tragedy, HSX faded. It was revived for a short time but not the same way.

Houston Startup Sports Tradex has revived the model except instead of Hollywood it’s all about sports. Sports Tradex gets to the core of the fantasy sports lover with a financial background. It’s the ultimate place to go if you like to armchair quarterback sports and the stock market.

Sports Tradex really heats up when it’s game time. The market stays open throughout a sporting event so traders can trade in real time.

Sports Tradex is the brain child of co-founders Ben Lipson and Omri Buzi, both entrepreneurs. Lipson’s first entrepreneurial experience was actually a root beer company while Buzi has a more traditional background in web development.

We got a chance to talk with Lipson in the interview below:

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Interview With Houston Startup: TheSquareFoot A Resource For Other Startups

You know here at, the voice of startups “everywhere else” we love writing about startups. What we love even more is when we can write about startups who in some way or another, are a resource for other startups. Such is the case with Houston startup TheSquareFoot.

Now on the surface you may think that TheSquareFoot is just another commercial leasing site, but it’s ten times more than that. When your startup grows out of that co-working space, incubator, or graduates from that accelerator, the last place you want to move is back into your parents basement. Truth be told, unless you undergo a major round of financing (and hopefully you will) companies like CBRE may be useless to you. Only a company the size of AirBnB needs 8 bajillion square feet. Having owned a medium to small sized business I know that large commercial realtors don’t take the time to talk to small businesses. The problem is there is plenty of small business real estate available for rent in just about everytown USA.

That’s where comes in handy.

TheSquareFoot is a startup themselves. They recently had a brainstorming session with Startup America Partnership CEO Scott

TheSquareFoot Team (photo: Startup America Partnership)

Case, we know how those sessions go and in that time with Case the team at TheSuareFoot was able to work on their value offering. They told the Startup America Partnership: “Our meeting with Scott Case at DEMO was extremely helpful in crystallizing our value offering. In addition, the Startup America network has been great as well as the webinars.”

Being that they are a startup themselves they built TheSquareFoot with all kinds of possible tenant scenarios in mind, from a company looking for huge warehouse space, to a team of two looking for 300 square feet. You can find that all at

Once you’ve found the perfect spot on the site then TheSquareFoot hooks you up with the resources that you need to actually move in and start using your new space.

We got a chance to talk with Aron Susman, co-founder of TheSquareFoot in the interview below:

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Interview With Austin Startup: NOOM, Next One’s On Me

Late last week we brought you the story about Baltimore startup BeerGivr which allows people to buy their friends beer using their mobile phone from a remote location, at participating beers. The concept is easy, if you can’t join your friends at the bar you can still pick up a round or buy the birthday girl/boy a shot or beer. You sign into the app, and let it know how many beers and voila its done. BeerGivr has partnered with bars in their hometown for testing. If you buy a friend a beer and they’re not at a participating bar or restaurant they can have that beer converted into Paypal dollars.

Well an Austin startup has taken a similar concept and expanded it to a wide variety of offerings primarily in the under $10 arena. With NOOM (Next One’s On Me), you can buy a gift for a friend using your mobile phone. Ideas include cupcakes,coffee, beers, lunch etc. You simply send your friend a virtual gift certificate through NOOM and they actually get the gift.

NOOM co-founder Sara Rodell gives us a great use case example in our interview below. Say you just met a great new friend or business colleague, it would be very awkward to shake hands and give them $5 or $10 and say “hey the next coffee is on me”, but with NOOM it’s a gesture appreciated, and used.

Right now NOOM is available in the Apple iTunes store and exclusively for Austin area merchants however they are expanding quickly and plan on bringing Houston on in the very near future. NOOM currently has 20 Austin area merchants participating including bakeries, ice cream shops, coffee shops, restaurants and bars.

Check out our interview with Rodell below

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Houston Startup: JobPlotter Geographic Job Searching INTERVIEW

If you live in a big metro area or one of those areas like Hampton Roads Virginia that’s like nine cities built into one, than a job search can be painful based on the geography alone. Take Houston for example, a quick internet search revealed hundreds of jobs in Houston, most of the ads without addresses. Hmmm, what is someone to do, especially someone that doesn’t drive.

Never fear, a Houston entrepreneur has set out to solve that problem with a very interesting startup that meshes job searching and Google Maps. The startup, called JobPlotter, does exactly what you’d imagine with the background info we’ve provided, it plots available jobs on a Google Map.

Why didn’t you think of that? That’s easy because Paul Chittenden did. After experiencing the pain of looking for a job and then locating the job prospects on a map, in Houston.

In the interview below the break, Chittenden explains how he came about the idea for JobPlotter and how they are integrating job data into a Google Map. Now, JobPlotter users can find jobs, and then find where the job actually is.

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Austin Startup: Top5Foods Is A Scoreboard For Restaurants

Alex Zwernemann, the founder of Austin based startup Top5Foods, created an easy to understand ratings/scoreboard style platform for restaurants. Top5Foods was the Statesman’s featured startup over the weekend. It takes a totally different approach to the food app and food site.

While apps like Urban Spoon serve up restaurants one at a time in a ratings based model, Top5Foods does exactly what the name suggests and serves them up according to the top 5. The data is crowdsourced across the network of Top5Foods users.

Top5Foods shows the restaurants and their local rankings but if you would prefer to see how they do across the entire network you can do that as well. If you’re a die hard foodie Top5Foods could serve as a great starting point for a trip to discover the best restaurants in the US. If your favorite restaurant in Austin is outranked by another restaurant in San Francisco, it may be worth the trip to San Francisco to try it out.

Zwernemann told the Statesman in an interview that the concept was born after a 2009 trip to San Francisco. He set out to find a couple great restaurants to go to and it took over 2 hours of research. Naturally he thought there was an easier way.

Top5Foods is unique because the user base is constantly moving restaurants up and down the scoreboard similar to a way a story moves on reedit or hacker news.

Top5Foods is already operational in Austin, Houston and Dallas. Zwernemann hopes to bring Philadelphia and Washington DC on soon as well.

He hopes to continue improving Top5Foods by adding more and more categories like top 5 lunch spots, top 5 happy hour spots etc.


Check out Top5Foods here at their website

Source: Austin Statesman

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Dallas Startup: Ustream’s Brad Hunstable Joins GuideHop’s Advisory Board

Texas native and co-founder and CEO of the world’s most popular live streaming network Ustream has, Brad Hunstable has joined the advisory board for Dallas startup Guidehop.

Guidhop allows users to create and market custom tours and experiences and share them with an online community.

For example, Aaron B, who is a founding member of Guidehop, offers a scooter tour of Austin. One of his tours on Guidehop is “Ride With a Scooter Gang”. For $40 a person he will take people on a scooter tour of downtown Austin. His tour is flexible, you can ride with him on his scooter, or he’ll get you your own to rent and lead you on the tour. If you don’t have any experience on a scooter he will take you to a school parking lot first to practice before hitting the sites. Not bad for $40 a person it’s comparable to what you would pay to rent a scooter in Miami without the tour.

In San Francisco, Ligia C will take you on a legends of Rock tour for $100 a person. The four hour tour includes the homes of Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia and Jimi Hendrix.

These aren’t professional touring companies these are user generated experiences, which makes Hunstables appointment to GuideHops advisory board even more meaningful. Hunstable’s Ustream is all about user generated streaming content.

More after the break
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Texas Startup: Stripper Turned Entrepreneur Creates “Naked Maid Service”

You may have caught a glimpse of this story as it’s been all over the net the past month or so. Melissa Borrett, a Lubbock Texas based former stripper has turned into an entrepreneur with a new startup that is turning heads. The company is called Lubbock Fantasy Maid Service and according to Borrett business is booming.

“We actually had problems with our phone lines, because they were so busy for a while,” Owner Melissa Borrett said.

Lubbock Fantasy Maid Service even came up as part of Jay Leno’s Monolog a couple of weeks back. Is it something to joke about? Not according to Borrett. She has 5 maids to date and they are of course quite popular. This isn’t some kind of escort service or in call prostitution. The maids do whatever work they are assigned to do which is asked in the online “order form” on the company website.

Some maids do a full house-cleaning just as their fully clothed counterparts would do. Maids have also been hired to serve drinks and food at parties as well. The maids did so well that Borrett also launched a male version of Fantasy Butlers. The butlers do housework, handyman work and yard work.

Borrett offers three types of maid services, lingerie, topless and nude. She goes to great lengths to outline safety policies as well as mentioning quite a few times that physical contact is not acceptable. She reminds users that the maids are there to be maids. Also, maids that are nude or topless will not work and will leave if there is anyone under 18 in the residence, and of course, like with an in-call escort service, security is standing by.

Borrett says she is doing well however she also reports that they do about five bookings per week. If all of the bookings were completely nude that would amount to $750 so we’re not sure how “well” they are doing.

What do you think about this startup idea? Let us know in comments:


Fantasy Maids website


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