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

9/11/09Follow @wroush

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track app usage in real time. (Aggarwal says one client noticed a drop-off in downloads within an hour of increasing the price for the app—and reversed the price increase that same day.) The basic tracking service is free, but for $99 a month, clients can compare how they’re doing against other app makers. For really big brands, an enterprise version is on the way. The company already has 60 clients with apps on 300,000 phones, and it expects to grow its client base 50-fold over the next year.

Oneforty
Founders include: Laura Fitton
Seeking: Unspecified. Angel round “oversubscribed” but recently “reopened.”
Contact: laura@oneforty.com

Laura Fitton, the author of Twitter for Dummies and the founder of Oneforty, is probably better known to Twitter users as @pistachio. She points out that while Twitter has 45 million users and twitter.com has become one of the world’s top 15 websites, Twitter itself is difficult to use, and is surrounded by a poorly organized welter of Twitter-related applications: “a real market with no marketplace,” in Fitton’s words. That’s the point of Oneforty, a “Twitter outfitter” where users will be able to browse and buy more than 1,250 Twitter apps for their PCs and mobile devices. The company will keep a cut of all transactions on the site and earn affiliate revenues when it sends customers off to services like Blackberry’s App World. Oneforty’s beta launch is coming up on September 22, Fitton says.

Sensobi
Founders include: Ajay Kulkarni, Andy Cheung
Raising: $300,000
Contact: hello@sensobi.com

Sensobi caused a sensation at the TechStars event with its vision of “personal relationship management”—software for mobile devices that would help busy professionals keep track of all the people they need to stay in regular contact with, whether that means a daily phone call or one e-mail every six months. The company has built a contact-list application for Blackberry phones that prioritizes contacts based on the user’s past communication history. Naturally, the most important contacts are at the top. But users can also set the app to remind them to call people lower down on the list if, say, three weeks or three months have elapsed since the last contact. The company sees itself as the Siebel or Salesforce of mobile business—revolutionizing one-to-one business networking in the same way those companies revolutionized customer relationship management. The company offers a free version of the app as well as a $20 premium version with advanced productivity capabilities and a $100 “pro” version that stores users’ contacts on an external server. The company plans to release iPhone, Symbian, and Android versions of its application in late 2010.

TempMine
Founders include: Thomas Monaghan, Michael Monaghan
Raising: $450,000

TempMine’s founders say they know from experience that the temporary staffing industry is broken. Employers can’t find high-quality temps, temps themselves can’t find congenial and well-paid gigs, and staffing agencies are more concerned about filling openings quickly than about finding the right people. TempMine is launching an online temp staffing marketplace where temps will be able to create and control their own profiles and work records and employers will be able to search a larger pool of temps drawn from multiple staffing agencies. “No industry has fought harder to stay offline,” according to co-founder Michael Monaghan, but the staffing agencies should also appreciate the service, since they aren’t being cut out of the process, and a higher rate of successful placements will win them long-term clients. TempMine will earn money by taking a 1 percent cut of temp employees’ pay (compared to the 5 percent charged by most staffing agencies).

Wade Roush is Xconomy's chief correspondent and editor of Xconomy San Francisco. You can subscribe to his Google Group or e-mail him at wroush@xconomy.com. Follow @wroush

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