Fourteen TechStars Boston companies took to the House of Blues stage Thursday to make their case for capital and highlight the headway they’ve made in just a few short months. The accelerator hosted its first Demo Day of 2013, attracting the attention of investors, TechStars alumni and even Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz.
“What an incredible group of entrepreneurs,” said Katie Rae, managing director of TechStars Boston, before teams delivered their pitch. “I can tell you they worked their butts off every single day.”
To Rae, “entrepreneurship” is something that can only be built through “blood, sweat, tears and truth.” And at TechStars, she said they have tried to “create a zone where entrepreneurs can tell the truth,” including the many mentors who come in to coach the teams.
“I am proud to live in this city,” Rae said. “I think we have a mentor community that is bar none.”
Brent Grinna, founder and CEO of Evertrue, a 2011 TechStars company, also took to the stage, delivering an inspirational speech to the teams now following in the footsteps of his own. He pointed to the accomplishments of the last five TechStars Boston classes, who have collectively raised more than $80 million and hired over 350 employees. Just two months ago, Evertrue raised $5.25 million in Series A.
The 14 teams below are hoping to see similar success. Here are the headlines and happenings of the TechStars Boston 2013 Demo Day.
Neurala — The company “building brains for bots” has already received $1 million in paid R&D revenue from the Air Force Research Laboratory and NASA. Founded in 2006, Neurala gives robots the ability to learn about their environments in real-time and replicate tasks. The team is trying to raise $2 million, and has already recruited four companies.
Synack — “Hacking isn’t hard,” Synack CEO Jay Kaplan told the crowd, which is why Synack has created a pay-for-performance network of global talent whose main goal is to discover website vulnerabilities. If they succeed, not only do they resolve the issues, but Synack offers companies continuous testing throughout the life of their product. Within three hours, Synack spotted nine vulnerabilities for their first pilot customer. The company is looking to raise $1.5 million.
coUrbanize — coUrbanize is an online community engagement and analytics platform designed to help real estate developers reduce project delays and speed up the approval process. The team has already secured its first four real estate customers: Boston Properties, Leggat McCall Properties, National Development and Twining Properties. Currently, coUrbanize is also helping the city expand Hubway bike-share stations into new neighborhoods, and is looking to raise $500,000.
LinkCycle — Spun out of MIT, LinkCycle is using data science to help manufacturing companies save money. The company has inked a deal with Rubbermaid, who has gone from pilot to paying customer, and LinkCycle is also rolling out in two new facilities. The team is looking to raise $750,000, but in just seven days of fundraising, more than half the round is already committed, according to CEO Sahil Sahni.
CONSTRVCT — After raising $11,000 in early 2012 on Kickstarter, CONSTRVCT continued to build out their 3D software, allowing users to turn photos into custom made dresses or shirts for purchase. More than 5,000 users have created designs on the site so far, and the company is looking to raise $1 million “to take fashion to the next level and fundamentally change how clothes are made.”
Outline — Outline uses advanced economic modeling and data visualization to improve government transparency and policy development. “We wanted Americans to make sound and empirical decisions about what the government should be doing,” said CEO Nikita Bier. The team’s first platform, Politify, gained national attention, and they have, so far, turned Massachusetts into a paying customer, with two states in the pipeline and another 16 states interested. Outline is looking to raise $1.5 million, and already half has been committed.
Fancred — “Making it game day everyday,” Fancred is a social app for sports already seeing quick success. Forty-percent of Fancred’s users are visiting daily, and spending 60 seconds on the app per visit. What’s more, users can share their favorite articles off NESN with the click of a button. The team has already raised $1 million, according to CEO Kash Razzaghi, and is looking to raise another $500,000 to close their first round. Plus, who can’t admire a team able to lure Big Papi to the stage?
Freight Farms — The company’s farming “platforms” can produce an acre’s worth of fresh food in a retrofitted shopping container. The team raised more than $30,000 on Kickstarter in 2011, and will be launching this summer in Boston with a network of five customers, including Tasty Burger, who has been placing two Freight Farms on its roofs. In the past four months, Freight Farms has booked $450,000 in sales, and is currently look to raise $1.2 million.
Rallyware — Rallyware, formerly known as Rallyt, is a collaboration platform that “inspires action to achieve results.” The company has already raised more than $400,000, but is now looking to raise $1 million from investors who want to help them “revolutionize work.”
Codeship — Codeship is helping teams ship better software faster by automating the release process through “Continuous Deployment.” At the beginning of the year, Codeship raised an undisclosed sum in seed funding from SeedCamp, and has garnered more than 100 paying customers. The company has integrated with GitHub and is launching an integration with Bitbucket today. Codeship has also partnered with Heroku and Engine Yard, and is now seeking $1 million in financing.
Jebbit — Jebbit announced its pivot from an online advertising platform into an ad network. Since launching in 2011, more than one million questions have been answered on the Jebbit platform, which has attracted several big-name brands, including Adobe, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Samsung, Spotify and Deutsche Bank. The team is looking to raise $1.25 million, with an undisclosed amount committed, courtesy of Boston Seed Capital. For more on the Jebbit news, click here.
qunb — qunb is turning messy spreadsheets into compelling visual stories through its platform accessible for anyone to use. The team raised $500,000 last summer, and has been live for roughly a week. Users can currently upload their spreadsheets via Dropbox and Google Drive, but will soon be able to use Salesforce and Box, as well. qunb is looking to raise $1.2 million.
PillPack — Seventy-five percent of individuals are not on the optimal medication. Of those that are, 50 percent aren’t taking it correctly, according to CEO TJ Parker. PillPack is a licensed online pharmacy that delivers medications straight to their patients’ front door every two weeks in pre-sorted, personalized packets. They have so far shipped more than 1,000 prescriptions, and are looking to raise $3 million.
CheckiO — CheckiO is an online game where developers write code to level-up, improve their skills and have fun while learning. More than 300 million players have accessed the site, spending more than three hours per week playing challenges. GitHub and O’Reilly have partnered with CheckiO, who has also received praise from the Python Foundation. The company is looking to raise $750,000.
For a peek inside TechStars Demo Day, check out the photos below.