TechStars Seattle Demos: One Room, 10 Startups, Tons of Potential

11/3/11Follow @curtwoodward

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consumers save money, and users get healthier. EveryMove makes up to 20 percent on the rewards that flow through the system.

The company, whose other co-founder is Seattle 2.0′s Marcelo Calbucci, announced a deal with insurer Premera BlueCross, with plans to target other BlueCross insurance networks around the country. Expect to see more news over the coming months about specifics on the Premera deal. EveryMove had already commitments for $1 million out of a $1.5 million round.

FlexMinder
Tagline: The Best Way To Save On Healthcare.
A topic that’s surely close to the heart of freelancers and entrepreneurs, but really anyone who’s tried to fill in the gaps of their health insurance, is the confounding pitfall of flexible spending accounts for health insurance. You can save money by setting aside cash pre-tax to pay for health expenses, but if you don’t burn it by year’s end, it’s gone—costing consumers money and actually encouraging overspending in a health care system plagued by high costs.

FlexMinder attempts to solve this problem by giving consumers a virtual dashboard, receipt tracker, and payment system that pulls all of their health spending data together in one place. That helps consumers get ahold of the estimated $3 billion annually that falls through the cracks unspent in flexible spending accounts, co-founder Deepak Kumar said.

FlexMinder already has a strategic relationship with Regence, the biggest health insurer in Washington state, and deals with employers that give it a potential reach of about 1 million users, Kumar said. The startup has commitments for $200,000 out of a $500,000 round.

GoChime
Tagline: Matching social media commercial intent with merchants.
GoChime recruits a crowdsourced network of social media users who can answer the queries of other people looking for products or services on behalf of businesses and providers who want to tap into that demand.

It struck me as a kind of Amazon Mechanical Turk for social media advertising campaigns, enlisting individual people to recommend a particular brand when a user in the wild is casting about for something related. And that human-to-human connection makes campaigns through GoChime vastly more effective than traditional online advertising, the startup said.

The offers and campaigns can be sourced through affiliates, with direct relationships established once they identify a promising segment. The crowd of “Chimers” work for “rewards, recognition, and money,” co-founder Austin Evarts said—GoChime takes a commission on campaigns, and shares a portion with the people who do the work. GoChime is raising $600,000 now, and has $350,000 committed already.

GroupTalent
Tagline: The high-end marketplace for software projects.
If you’re a designer or developer, there’s no job crisis right now—unless it’s an impossible choice of which job to accept. And for tech companies, that means it’s ridiculously hard to hire top talent, to the point that major employers have made the acquire-to-hire model a job recruiting trend.

There are already companies that try to tap into the reservoir of unaffiliated tech talent that, for one reason or another, prefers to go the mercenary route and just pick up piecework here and there instead of getting an office and a big fancy job. But the founders of GroupTalent say there’s not enough vetting online, which means the existing players like oDesk and eLance become a “race to the bottom.”

GroupTalent wants to establish a top-tier online-only market for freelance tech talent, aiming to be the place that the top 20 percent of designers and developers find work. They aim to do this by pulling in data from around the web, including scores and rankings through coder forums like Github and Stack Overflow.

After going live with a small amount of exposure, the site claimed 300 applications from developers and some $500,000 in projects submitted. GroupTalent makes its money by taking 10-20 percent on the project price, which they say averaged $40,000 in the test run. The startup is raising $500,000, and has $200,000 already committed.

LikeBright
Tagline: Where the great guys are.
Online dating is increasingly popular, but the team from LikeBright says there’s a clear problem: Not enough women. The startup wants to solve that problem by allowing women to rank single guys through Facebook, giving other single women a gauge of whether their peers would vouch for a would-be date.

“We don’t think of ourselves as a dating site, but we do make dating a lot easier,” co-founder Nick Soman said, by applying a dating layer to Facebook. The company’s technology pulls in … Next Page »

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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