An IoT Connected Doghouse and Other Ideas Surface at ERA Demo Day

Smart-home technology has gone to the dogs.

New York-based Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA) graduated 12 startups today, including Dog Parker—a connected doghouse that minds people’s pets while they shop at stores.

That is one example of the broad array of ideas in this class, said Jonathan Axelrod, managing director with ERA, reflecting the many different startup approaches in the wild. He spoke with me in advance of demo day and offered a rundown of the eclectic teams graduating from the accelerator. “It is representative of the broad range of industries folks are going after,” Axelrod (pictured) said.

Dog Parker, for instance, is developing remotely monitored, environmentally controlled doghouses that sit outside brick-and-mortar stores. It is not uncommon in New York to see dogs sitting in front of stores, tethered by their leashes to pipes, café tables, or other fixtures while their owners are inside. Dog Parker’s idea is to give people a place to “park” their pets, offering shelter that can be monitored via mobile app. Some 100 of these doghouses will roll out in New York, Axelrod said.

ERA is no stranger to quirky ideas. Alumnus team Machinio developed a search engine for reselling bulldozers and other industrial equipment.

This time around ERA saw its first consumer products startup, Felix Gray, Axelrod said, which makes eyewear designed to ease the strain of looking at the digital glare of electronic screens.

There were some recurring tech themes he saw among the startups—such as machine learning, augmented reality, and data analytics—but emerging in broader sectors such as ocean shipping, education, and content creation. “You’re seeing analytics being brought to bear in industries that just weren’t possible before,” Axelrod said.

The inclusion of Dog Parker and Felix Gray in the class added some real-world creations to the common mix of software and Web-oriented themes seen from startups. “You see the product out there more visibly, perhaps, than if you are talking about a software company,” Axelrod said of the companies making physical products.

Here is a look at the rest of the startups in the latest ERA class:

Caylent—A DevOps-as-a-Service platform that helps developers build and manage software containers in the cloud.

ClearChat—An enterprise cybersecurity platform for secure communications for teams to chat and share files online, with protocols that exceed the compliance requirements for regulated industries.

CoLoadX—A business-to-business marketplace that serves the international ocean freight and logistics industry, connecting freight forwarders to wholesalers with inventory on ocean ships.

FROTH (First Round on the House)—A data-driven marketing platform for beverage brands, which lets brands offer product tastings at local venues and gathers feedback.

inkHunter—An augmented reality platform that lets brands and developers bring their creations to mobile devices.

Karate Health—A platform that helps people with chronic autoimmune conditions, such as lupus, better understand and manage their health with education material and side-effect tracking of medications.

Koa—A software platform aimed at cutting costs for buyers and sellers of mortgage loans and other forms of credit.

Pairprep—A platform for creating digital, adaptive educational content that lets teachers create assignments by just uploading PDFs or taking pictures.

SensorKit—A gesture recognition platform for wearable devices that can identify specific activities. For instance, its Apple Watch app, YouMove, automatically detects exercises such as bench presses and squats, and then counts reps, sets, and resting time.

Turnout.ai—A business-to-business analytics platform that provides large companies with a new approach to public opinion polls by quickly gathering proprietary public sentiment data.

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