Plug and Play San Diego Selects Five Companies for Startup Camp
It was standing room only as Plug and Play San Diego selected five seed-stage tech companies to participate in its startup accelerator program, following presentations by 17 finalists yesterday at the Co-Merge shared workspace in downtown San Diego.
The afternoon session represented Plug and Play’s third draft of companies in a San Diego-based selection process that attracted a record 92 entries, including startups from Denver, CO, and Tijuana, Mexico. Organizers said the size and diversity of the field was encouraging, and reflects a noticeable increase in early stage startup activity among tech companies in San Diego. About 75 startup founders and supporters filled the conference room to watch the presentations.
“We’re not in diapers anymore,” said Robert Reyes, who leads Startup Circle in San Diego and helped establish the Plug and Play’s Startup Camp program here. “We’re getting great feedback on the quality of the companies that we’re getting. The Plug and Play people are saying it’s just ten times better.”
A year ago, when the San Diego satellite program selected its first group of local startups, “We didn’t have a point of reference, and now we do,” investor Alex Roudi said.
— Steven Cox (@steven_cox) May 6, 2014
BrightScope CEO Mike Alfred, who was among the judges who listened to the three-minute presentations, said the number and diversity of companies applying for Plug and Play San Diego was the best he’s seen out of four similar events he’s attended in San Diego. “This group of companies that presented here today are by far the strongest, and the quality of companies is better,” Alfred said. “I think a big part of it is that there is real money behind [the program].”
In exchange for a small equity stake in their companies, the Sunnyvale, CA-based Plug and Play Tech Center provides $25,000 in financing for companies that enroll in the accelerator. Companies begin the five-month program in San Diego and move to the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale for the final 10 weeks, and features a combination of workshops, speakers, mentorship sessions, and coaching. Companies that complete the Startup Camp also get an opportunity to make a presentation to venture investors at a “Demo Day” event in Silicon Valley.
The winners chosen for Plug and Play’s third Startup Camp are:
Ahorro Libre: Based in Tijuana, Ahorro Libre (Free Savings) provides a Web-based technology platform for arranging micro loans and other financial services in emerging economies. The startup’s first objective is to help shift users from Rotating Credit Associations (groups of individuals who agree to meet for a defined period to save and borrow together) to a simple and transparent platform that can be easily used by anyone with basic Internet knowledge and access to SMS messaging.
Brandisty: A cloud-based storage service, San Diego-based Brandisty provides image resizing, typography, color pallet generation, and color space conversions for digital and print without customers needing to know how to use Photoshop or Illustrator—making it easy for users to store, modify, and distribute their brand.
Hotelbeat: A Web-based platform, San Diego-based Hotelbeat provides business intelligence analytics for the hospitality industry, focusing on the underserved hotels ranked with one-star to three-star ratings.
Locbit: A Web platform intended to make the Internet of Things (IoT) easily accessible. San Diego’s Locbit connects devices to networks everywhere, by unifying IoT on one software platform that is accessible by any Internet-connected device. For example, at the 2014 PGA Open tournament at San Diego’s Torrey Pines Golf Course, Locbit technology enabled fans to access the massive NeoVision screens throughout the course. By scanning a QR code, tournament fans could access player bios and other tournament information, and automatically receive the latest scores on their mobile phones.
Statim Health: A Denver-based startup, Statim Health enables users to make GPS-based side-by-side comparisons of prescribed medical procedures, diagnostic services, and other healthcare options to the most qualified and affordable care.