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

11/3/11Follow @curtwoodward

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Facebook profiles of men, and allows women to “vouch” for a good guy by ranking his positive attributes or giving short testimonials.

Men end up with profile pages in a women-centric dating network, and women can use the service without creating a profile themselves if they wish. LikeBright tested its concept with a contest, and got 400 signups—70 percent of them women, which Soman said blows away other online dating concepts.

The company plans a freemium model that charges once users who want to explore the dating pool outside their friend network. LikeBright has commitments for $200,000 out of a $600,000 round.

Romotive
Tagline: Turn your smartphone into a robot.
Just like the description says, this startup offers a $40 hardware kit that allows users to plug their iPhone into a little cradle that powers a pair of small tank-style tracks, while displaying a cute little animated face on the screen. Fun enough—but Romotive sees this as just the beginning, seeking to build a platform for countless apps that would power “Romo.”

The company is already profitable, raising $75,000 on Kickstarter and selling more than 900 robots to hundreds of people around the globe. The company’s longer-range plan involves selling apps that would bring new tricks and behaviors to the Romo, allowing others to develop apps through an API, and licensing the technology.

Romotive makes 50 percent gross profits on the little robots already, without being at scale to any real degree. The company is currently raising a $500,000 round to build out its application platform and seek patents for its technology.

Smore
Tagline: Design beautiful, effective online flyers and publish instantly.
This pair of Israeli entrepreneurs have built a platform that allows users to create simple, single-page promotional websites for a business, cause, or event with very little work. It’s meant to reach millions of small-business owners and other “self-service marketers” in the U.S., a “long tail” play capitalizing on a large market of small players.

The Smore team thinks this is a big business opportunity, however. “We already declined an acquisition offer from a very high-profile company that came while we were in TechStars,” co-founder Gilad Avidan said.

Smore pages come pre-loaded with tools for easy promotional campaigns, including social sharing, and analytics to track how well the page is performing. The sites are free to make, with the startup making money on ads that are purchased for Facebook or Google campaigns or e-commerce and fundraising activity. Smore is raising $500,000, with half already committed through Seattle-area angels.

Vizify
Tagline: Highly visual and interactive personal profiles.
This startup pulls together the truckloads of data that people post online, through profiles in places like LinkedIn and Facebook or location and reading utilities, and even personal blogs. What it spits out is a beautiful, layered, multifaceted personal webpage that showcases personal photos, experience, writing, and other elements of a user’s online life.

Those pages aren’t just static, either. They constantly refresh and update with new data—so if you go on a blogging jag about airline travel or change jobs or post new photos from a trip, the graphs and timelines that reflect your online life will change along with it.

Vizify is a freemium model, giving away basic sites but charging for upgrade packages that target specific professions. It allows real estate agents to showcase their listings and sales, lawyers to brag about their cases and honors, or salespeople to input their numbers or rankings. Vizify is raising $750,000, with $250,000 already committed from investors including Jonathan Sposato and Geoff Entress.

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

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