Techstars Picks 11 Startups for 2013 Class in Seattle

8/5/13Follow @bromano

Techstars Seattle has picked 11 startup companies to participate in its 2013 class, which begins today.

The fourth edition of the top-tier startup accelerator in Seattle includes three companies working on some aspect of online education; a social media metrics play; a collaborative news reader for businesses; mobile customer service tools; a service for continuous integration of software code; something called “hacker texting”; and three companies about which very little can be gleaned at this stage.

Each company receives a $118,000 investment—$18,000 in exchange for a 6 percent piece of the company, and a $100,000 convertible note—as well as three months of workspace in South Lake Union, services, mentorship from some 70 local CEOs and senior executives, and introductions to potential partners, customers, and investors.

Techstars continues growing with accelerators now in Austin, TX; Boston; Boulder, CO; Chicago; London; and New York City. It also has a line of “powered by Techstars” programs, in which its model for nurturing up-and-coming companies and entrepreneurs is adopted by the likes of Nike, Microsoft, and Kaplan EdTech.

In Seattle, Techstars is run by Founders Co-op partners Andy Sack, who serves as managing director, and Chris DeVore. The program is serving to attract entrepreneurs to Seattle, at least for the three months of the program. This year’s class includes five companies from outside the area.

Here are thumbnail sketches of the 2013 class, gathered from a Techstars news release and individual company Web sites, as available. In some cases, these are just ideas that will be fleshed out over the next three months. Check back for coverage of the Techstars Seattle Demo Day Oct. 24.

Codementor, based in Taiwan, connects programmers and designers who have technical problems to solve with mentors who charge, at minimum, $4 per 15 minutes of help time. Mentor sessions, including screen sharing, video, and text, can begin immediately or scheduled for later.

Designlab, a San Francisco/New York startup, aims to teach people Web design skills—such as layout, user experience, and typography—through online lessons and projects. The entrepreneurs behind it are Daniel Shapiro, Deny Khoung, and Harish Venkatesan.

Everpath, a Seattle startup, is a course catalog for online education in programming, design, business, and other topics. The site lists courses from existing online education providers such as Coursera, Codecademy, and General Assembly, providing a course summary, price, availability, difficulty, and other information, with a link to the course provider. Co-founders are Sandi Lin, Doug Gradt, and Jonah Dempcy.

—It’s hard to tell what exactly flck.me is working on. The Seattle company says it is reinventing mobile social networking, presumably by “combining the best parts of mobile messaging and social networking.”

Inside Social, according to the Techstars release, “enables brands and publishers to measure and increase the direct impact that social sharing has on the metrics that really matter.” The Seattle company’s Web site provides no further detail at present.

Opinr, a San Francisco/India startup, is “building a collaborative news reading and discussion platform” aimed at companies and their employees.  It would allow groups to curate relevant industry news and information sources; comment and share, both publicly and just within the group; and search through past news and discussions.

—Pansieve, a Redmond, WA, company formed by a quartet of former Microsoft employees, has an app called Cuecard, which is meant to make filling out business forms much easier. The company allows customers to make customized digital forms for things like timesheets, which can be filled out on mobile devices and are imbued with context to save time. Cuecard, which starts at $100 a month, also promises to generate useful data and make it available to a variety of business applications.

Qhode, based in Bellevue, WA, is making a cloud-based continuous integration service for software developers. The company, founded by Avinash Cavale, describes it as “on demand build-Platform as a Service (bPaaS) providing continuous automated builds and tests with real-time notifications.”

Rep, from its spartan Website, “is hacker texting. Learn to use ++ and // inline to control who sees what. You will need to because all texts/pics you send are now in the wild and can be seen by other people. Anytime you receive a message as part of a conversation, you get rep, and the more rep you have, the ‘louder’ you are.” The company, hailing from Boston and North Carolina, has an iOS app and promises one for Droid soon.

Resolution Tube, which lists a Berkeley, CA, address on its website, is a mobile collaboration platform to help workers—initially in field services for companies including Trane and Ingersoll Rand—access information and expertise from colleagues while out on customer service calls. The company also has plans for Google Glass “to bring handsfree augmented reality to field service.” The founding team is led by CEO Arnav Anand, an entrepreneur in residence at UC Berkeley.

—The stealthiest startup of this class is wire, which is “making messaging fun,” according to its Web site and Techstars blurb. Like with carrier pigeons? That would be fun. The company is based in Seattle.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

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