The setting is the Wilbur Theatre in Chinatown for the TechStars Boston Demo Day. As the audience enters the theatre there is a lot of clamoring about other investments made as VCs and Capital Firm folks mingle with one another. Spread throughout the crowd is the graduating class of TechStars Boston 2012. You can easily recognize them in their almost jersey like t-shirts. Additionally, some of the folks from TechStars New York have joined today’s festivities. The attire for the folks from VCs and Capital Firms ranges from three-piece suits to t-shirts and jeans with a backward ball cap. It’s safe to say that everyone here is working the crowd, including the Rackspace Startup Program.
Thirteen companies assembled for TechStars Boston Demo Day:
• Bison – Platform for alternate investments – CEO Michael Nugent
• docTrackr – Document tracking and metrics – CEO Clement Cazalot
• Gym-Pact – Mobile app that incentivizes regular exercise – CEO Yifan Zhang
• Laveem – The nexus of all food knowledge – CEO Varun Chirravuri
• Libboo – Home of the next digital bestseller – CEO Chris Howard
• Mortar – Easy Hadoop in the cloud – CEO K. Young
• Murfie – Where your music belongs – CEO Matt Younkle
• Psykosoft – Creative software factory – CEO Mathieu Gosselin
• Shopsy – The retail graph – CEO Lisa Morales-Hellebo
• Simply Good Technologies– Simple mobile couponing – CEO Winston Mark
• Testive – Engaging test prep – CEO Miro Kazakoff
• Ubersense – Helping athletes and amateurs improve anywhere, anytime – CEO Krishna Ramchandran
• Zagster – Think Zipcar for bikes: Bike-as-a-Service – CEO Timothy Ericson
As Katie Rae, managing director of TechStars Boston commented, “The magical part of TechStars is that the companies have each others’ back.” Katie went on to talk about how Boston has the startups’ back : there is a surge of resources being brought about by the city, the schools in the area and VC and angel investors making it happen. Truly this is a big deal, even David Cohen’s (founder and CEO of TechStars) mom showed up for this one.
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the TechStars Boston companies:
Zagster is bringing a new as a Service to the market, BaaS: Bike-as-a-Service. It is bringing bike sharing to the market just as Zipcar has for cars.
docTrackr is looking at a hockey stick style go to market. It is able to fulfill what many of us dreamed about while watching Mission Impossible; the ability destroy the document you sent to someone.
Libboo is changing the publishing industry. Listening to the company makes me believe that the industry will really change through the power of the web and the power of influence. If anyone is going to do it, it’s these guys. Go find a new book to fall in love with today.
Psykosoft is bringing art back to the tablet and PC. Being featured on the Google site, Mozilla shortly and being a prime offering with Windows 8 should create some great traction. I have to admit, it’s a lot of fun to play with it. Having just returned from England, I downloaded a ton of pictures and began playing. It’s fun for adults and kids.
Mortar is one tall company. I think the CEO K. Young is at least 7 feet tall. The company is doing something grand as well; making Hadoop easy. It made me feel like I could do it as a non-programmer! It’s a great tool set for folks that have a need to analyze big data.
Shopsy helps men support the woman in their life by helping them find the perfect match at the clothing store. As a married man, I know I want to avoid the chair outside the fitting room. If they can do that, I’ll pay no matter how much money they want!
Ubersense is improving the way you play sports. I saw CEO Krishna Ramchandran pitch it at a local meet-up at the NERD last year.. With TechStars his pitch is 100 times better and well rounded. It’s amazing to see how TechStars has really helped Krishna and Ubersense improve their business acumen.
Gym-Pact will either make me healthy or broke. It makes you put your money where your mouth is. Pay a dollar if you don’t meet your goal; gain a dollar if you do. As cheap as I am I can’t think of a better motivation than money out of my pocket!
David Cohen ended the day with a great speech in which he made sure to point out the most important thing, today was his mother’s birthday. Spontaneously, we all just started singing “Happy Birthday” to her. It was totally unplanned but well done. Second, he noted how important good help is for the startups within TechStars. It really is about the people in the network and the passion they have. I thought it was great to see the way TechStars had all the startups receive their fans and suitors in sections of the Wilbur Theatre.
I echo David’s thoughts that it truly is great people involved here to help these folks out. I can’t wait to see what next September will bring as they vet out the new class.