The first round of voting in Austin Inno’s Tech Madness bracket challenge are in. And there are a ton of big upsets, with 25,000-plus votes cast in round one.
Phunware, the app development platform and analytics company that announced it would go public a few days before Tech Madness kicked off, was upset by Waldo Photos, an Austin startup that showed up the night of the event and convinced judges to let it in one of four open spots.
That was perhaps the biggest upset. Others include Verb, which also pitched into the contest, beating No. 1 seed Bumble. And No. 1 seed CognitiveScale got bested by Hypergiant, an artificial intelligence startup that just came out of stealth mode.
Overall, Localeur may be the startup to watch. It had more votes than any other company in the bracket in Round One.
The contest asks the Austin tech community to vote for the startups they’d most want to invest in.
In Round 2, I’ve got my eye on a matchup between EverlyWell, a relatively new startup providing at-home health tests, and SpareFoot, a more mature startup that helps people find storage. Another hot match up is Aceable and Trendkite — both have highly motivated teams that show up at a lot of tech events and can rally votes.
Here’s the schedule for the rest of the competition:
Round 3 starts on March 16 (Sweet 16)
Round 4 starts on March 22 (Elite 8)
Round 5 starts on March 26 (Final 4)
Finals start on April 3 and end on April 5 at midnight