Year Four. Class Seven. Four Startups.
Today marks the start of another session of The Startup Factory's three-month accelerator program, with four North Carolina participants chosen from a pool of 100 applicants from around the globe.
2015 is a critical year for TSF co-founders Chris Heivly and Dave Neal—in 2016, they'll begin to raise a second fund and they'll need a track record worthy of more investor dollars. The notion doesn't seem too far off considering the accelerator's banner 2014
. Three portfolio companies raised large rounds of funding and one exited. The top 10 of 31 companies that have graduated from the program averaged at least $650,000 in follow-on funds. And TSF hired Lizzy Hazeltine to help market the portfolio companies to investors nationally.
It'll be several months before we see how the following companies stack up. But here's a bit of detail about the businesses and their founders, in preparation for the months of mentorship and business-building to come:
makes the bold claim that it is building the most innovative software specification authoring and management tool on the planet. I don't know what this means besides that it's a tool that helps developers organize, communicate and accelerate the product development process.
Founder Dan Berlin
seems to have the credentials to build such a product. According to his LinkedIn page, he's a longtime coach and trainer of the Agile software development processes, with experience in Agile project management or software engineering at Scottrade, Capital One, Microsoft, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and Mobdub, an online media provider. For the last two years, he's worked as an Agile consultant at Slick Rabbit LLC
in Morrisville, but his work has taken him around the nation.
is a photo storage service that easily aggregates photos from email accounts, social media and other storage sites in one place online. It also lets you easily download photos or albums, copy photos between accounts and organizes the photos based on friends tagged within them. The service is in beta testing.
Founder Brian Jenkins
is a Silicon Valley software veteran who moved back to Durham in 2014 (He attended Duke University years prior.). He participated in Groundwork Labs and won an NC IDEA grant last May
. His goal is to eventually expand the service to other forms of media, like videos and music, and documents, making AnyCloud a "Mint.com of online content and connections". Check out Jenkins's pitch from last fall's CED Tech Venture Conference:
is an online discovery platform for music, offering free downloads every week from artists that have yet to be discovered. It's also
the first ThinkHouse company to enter The Startup Factory. Originally conceived as MusicBox when co-founder and former soccer coach and social media manager Michael Hoy
entered the living learning community in Raleigh last year, he's since changed the name, tested the concept and helped about 12,000 early users download more than 33,000 songs from about 2,000 artists. The platform is apparently launching soon. It will be interesting to see how it differs from services like NoiseTrade, ReverbNation and even streaming services like Pandora and Spotify.
Hoy's co-founder is Dave Marcello
, a Brooklyn-based event marketing consultant and an advisor, oddly enough, is Agile Realm's Berlin. Learn more by reading Hoy's blog and checking out the video explainer and pitch deck:
is building software that gives patients a secure way to authorize and audit access to their electronic health records. Today, the company acts as a consulting firm based in Fayetteville, focused on health information technology services. According to its website, it has two software applications: a patient identification software called Thumbprint.io and a secure digital communication platform for patients and physicians called Cynergy Plus.
Its founders Paul Emanuel and Clinton Racine were previously CEO and CTO (respectively) of Tritek Pro Solutions, a consultancy for hospitals handling projects like web design, server administration, systems administration and tech support.
**Here's our updated story
on ELXR along with its pitch before Steve Case during his Rise of the Rest Tour stop in Durham: