TechStars’ First Class of Boston Startups Launched at Microsoft-Hosted Gala

9/11/09Follow @wroush

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responding to an e-mail frequently requires leaving the actual e-mail client to dig up information elsewhere, such as a Word or PowerPoint document or the details of an appointment. Baydin makes a search plugin for Outlook that scans each e-mail a user opens, and then retrieves related information both from the user’s computer and from SharePoint servers and larger company network. Users can drag and drop files in the Baydin window straight into their e-mails. That last point about corporate networks is important: Moore said that if he’d had the tool while working as a circuit board designer at Analog Devices, he might have discovered that four fellow employees at different Analog locations around the world were working on the same design he was, saving the company untold money and time. Baydin will sell the tool to companies on a seat-license basis, and is targeting firms with lots of “technical creatives”—think architecture or life sciences companies. Moore got the biggest laughs of the evening by displaying a testimonial quote from an IT director at a Sand Hill Road venture capital firm: “I work for a bunch of VCs who can’t find shit. I would pay $100 seat for this tomorrow.”

HaveMyShift
Founders include: Stephen Wooten, Sean Corbett
Raising: $400,000

HaveMyShift co-founder Steve Wooten is a former Starbucks barista and Chicago Bears fan who says he came up with the idea for the startup when he was calling around Chicago, trying to find somebody to cover his shift at Starbucks so that he could watch the Bears play in the 2007 Super Bowl. It took hours—which helped him understand why employees who “call in sick” or just don’t show up is such a huge problem (costing U.S. employers $200 million every day, he says). HaveMyShift’s service is an online clearinghouse where hourly workers can trade shifts. The company launched in Chicago and already has 5,000 users who have traded 28,000 hours of work to date, Wooten says—-and not just at Starbucks but at other big employers like Ikea, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Jamba Juice, Target, and McDonalds. The marketplace will expand soon to Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. It’s free to employees, but by next year HaveMyShift hopes to license the system to big national employers.

LangoLab
Founders include: Adam Duston, Shane Ermitano, Jennifer Ede
Raising: $360,000
Contact: info@langolab.com

LangoLab’s brilliant insight is that Internet video sites like YouTube offer an immense, and completely free, trove of entertaining material that can be adapted for foreign language learning. The worldwide market for foreign language self-study products amounts to $32 billion, according to founder Adam Duston, but the teaching method of most of these products boils down to “boring rote memorization and drudgery,” he says. LangoLab, by contrast, takes popular TV series, movies, and commercials produced in various languages and adds transcripts so that people can learn the language just by watching. Because there’s so much online video available in English—and because ESL, English as a second language, accounts for the single biggest chunk of the language learning market—that’s where LangoLab is starting; the company’s prototype site in Italy has already attracted 10,000 users. The company plans to charge for access to the enhanced video clips, and may also license its product to language schools.

Localytics
Founders include: Raj Aggarwal, Henry Cipolla, Andrew Rollins
Raising: $500,000
Contact: raj@localytics.com

Some 14 percent of commercial websites use third-party traffic analytics services like Omniture and Webtrends, paying more than $800 million a year, according to Localytics founder Raj Aggarwal. But there are no comprehensive tools that let the developers of mobile software applications track how many people are using their software, or when or where. That’s that Localytics, a company we featured as part of our Mobile Innovation Showcase last spring, has set out to provide. After inserting some special code into their applications, Localytics clients can then go to the company’s website to … Next Page »

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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