Techstars Seattle Picks 10 Startups for 3-Month Accelerator

It’s becoming a late-summer tradition in Seattle tech: The naming of the new startup companies selected for Techstars.

The 10 selected for the 2014 class—which is the startup accelerator’s fifth in Seattle, and its first in new University District digs—have a broad range of target markets, from air conditioner controls to fashion to video for kids to “data tools for non-technical people.”

They were picked from more than 600 applicants to receive $18,000 in seed funding plus $100,000 in convertible debt, three months of mentoring, office space and business services, and other assistance, in exchange for 7 to 10 percent equity. The companies have the opportunity to pitch to investors at Techstars Seattle Demo Day Nov. 6.

Techstars Seattle managing director Andy Sack noted in a blog post that acceptance rate this year is less than 2 percent, “making it harder than ever to get accepted.”

“We generally saw more companies that were further along, who already had customers and revenue, but there were also a lot of companies who were just two founders and a great idea—no product, no revenue, no customers,” Sack said.



In an earlier post, Sack went into some detail about how the finalists are chosen. The criteria, in order, are team, market, and product. “A great team will learn from its failures quickly, adjust to a new situation, and push on in a new direction,” Sack wrote, explaining why this is the most important dimension. He also noted an intangible something that sets the companies selected apart from those told to try again next year: “Often you can’t put your finger on what it is exactly that persuades you, your gut just determines that the team should make the cut.”

Maybe it’s that “one thing you can’t teach an entrepreneur,” a topic Techstars director Chris DeVore explored in a July post. Both posts are well worth reading.

Sack also noted that Techstars Seattle saw a spike in applications from California (up 34 percent from 2013), and San Francisco in particular (up 67 percent). The number of Seattle applicants increased 86 percent.

“At first, I figured that if you can’t make it in Silicon Valley something must be wrong with the company,” Sack wrote in a post on the Golden Staters applying to Techstars Seattle. “Until I looked further into the applicants. The majority of these startups were in fact very talented people with great ideas. Many of them ended up making it to the final rounds of our selection process and some even ended up being accepted for this year’s class.”

Techstars Seattle, class of 2014

Techstars Seattle, class of 2014

Three of the 10 companies selected hail from California. Here’s the full class, with descriptions provided by Techstars:

Colátris (Mountain View)—Contextual Localization as a Service for mobile apps.

Crowsnest (Syracuse)—Crowsnest is a software platform for the real world – simple code for controlling air conditioners, light bulbs, cameras and everything in between.

Exploration Labs (San Francisco)—Exploration Labs is making a tool for B2B sales teams that provides a cheat sheet on leads.

Garmentory (Seattle)—Garmentory offers curated collections and rich shopping experiences from independent fashion boutiques across the world.

Live Stories (Seattle)—LiveStories builds data tools for non-technical people.

MagikFlix (Seattle)—Magikflix is a safe, curated edutainment video service for kids, 12 years and younger available across all smart devices including iOS, Android, Microsoft app stores and leading kids tablets.

Stand In (Portland)—Stand In redefines how mobile apps are designed. Stand In takes design beyond static screens with tools for designing mobile experiences.

Streamline (Stanford)—Streamlining customer service: No more speaking to machines, no more wait time.

Touchbase (Seattle)—TouchBase is a mobile platform that helps sales representatives manage and present the most effective marketing material.

True Facet (New York)— is the authenticated luxury marketplace where you can shop and sell jewelry and watches with confidence. TrueFacet differentiates itself by offering buyers and sellers a trusted authentication process and best value guarantee.

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

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  • Mr. Eastwood

    Looks like 10 software companies. There seems to be a lot of tired concepts in highly competitive areas. Investors should be wary of the investment bubble for these types of soft companies.