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Techstars Shines on the Atlanta Startup Scene with Inaugural Class

by Kiki Roeder

Techstars, the global accelerator that helps entrepreneurs build great businesses, welcomes 10 startups to the activation of its Atlanta program. With applications hailing from 69 countries and six continents, the chosen tech companies will begin the three-month, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on August 1.

The inaugural class of the mentorship-driven program is the result of focused efforts by Techstars Atlanta’s directors, Michael Cohn and Tyler Scriven. Over the last eight months, the leadership duo have recruited companies from across the globe, resulting in 40% of the cohort joining from abroad. They thank entrepreneurs in and outside of the Atlanta ecosystem for their recommendations, which, additionally, resulted in the selection of four Georgia- and two California-based companies.

“These are amazing entrepreneurs, and we are going to drive incredible innovation and growth over the next 90 days,” said Cohn, managing director of Techstars Atlanta, a partnership with Cox Enterprises. “I am thrilled to connect the founders with leaders from across Cox and throughout Atlanta, who have volunteered to share their expertise with these startups.”

Cohn and Scriven emphasize that the selected startups are more than mere ideas waiting for action. Many of the companies are generating more than $100K in recurring revenue, with several boasting several hundreds-of-thousands earned.

You needn’t wait for Techstars Atlanta’s Demo Day on November 1, an event that will coincide with Venture Atlanta, to learn about these startups. Cohn and Scriven share with Hypepotamus inside details about the entrepreneurial talent hitting Ponce City Market


Techstars Atlanta’s 2016 Class

Barkbark (Savannah, Georgia): Bark protects children by detecting messages that contain cyberbullying, sexting and signs of depression or suicidal thoughts without invading their privacy.

What attracted Cohn and Scriven to the company is the founder. With an experienced career in technology, he has a created a robust solution that uses natural language processing and machine learning to identify language which parents may deem objectionable.

Drizzledrizzle (Los Angeles, California): Drizzle gives website owners an incredibly easy way to let their visitors pay for premium content. Users can then choose to charge a-la-carte for content or offer subscription access.

The company has a single founder, which, while unusual for startups selected for Techstars, reflects the experience of its visionary, which worked as an associate for Techstars Health in LA before creating the content monetization engine. “I’ve never seen someone iterate this fast,” said Cohn.

Fitspotfitspot (Los Angeles, California): Fitspot lets users book one-on-one sessions with certified fitness trainers when and where they want. Users can plan ahead or start in as little as 30 minutes.

Its model has proven successful with significant revenue earnings from two sides – trainer-matching to users and rental partnerships with locally-owned gyms during times of excess capacity. This sharing economy was a contributing factor to its selection.

Joonkojoonko (Tel Aviv, Israel): Software that allows you to identify and solve gender bias in the workplace, as it happens.

The trio from Tel Aviv have developed technology that can alert a manager if there is unconscious bias demonstrated through company communications. For example, Joonko can plug into Salesforce and identify if women are being assigned less desirable territories. The software can also coach the recipient of the bias on how to advocate for themselves.

LaaSerLaaSer (Atlanta, Georgia): Thousands of lives are lost each year due to incorrect location information being sent to 911 operators over existing mobile phone network technology. LaaSer prevents calls from being routed to the wrong jurisdiction and incorrect address, latitude and longitude information being shared. The technology can save time and, therefore, save lives in emergency situations.

Preesalepreesale (Brussels, Belgium): Preesale helps multiply sales channels by increasing tickets sales on Facebook. It easily connect apps to a Facebook page, creates tickets in less than five minutes, and sells to targeted customers.

Real Meal Delivery (Atlanta, Georgia): Skip the stress of meal planning and grocery shopping through fresh, made-from-scratch meals that are prepared daily. Families order by 4 p.m. and enjoy hot, fresh food delivered to their door.

realmealdeliveryCohn and Scriven note that there are a bunch of businesses that already promise this service, but that Real Meal Delivery is different as a “restaurant without storefront.” The application is driven by founders with experience building consumer applications for mobile. It also helps that the founder is a former VC from Accel, who, Cohn says, “really understands the unit economics of his business.”

Seqursequr (Atlanta, Georgia): Sequr is the first-ever visitor management system for communities using call boxes. They increase security by replacing permanent PIN codes with dynamic, time-sensitive PIN codes. Sequr can complete remote setup on any callbox anywhere in the world.

The Atlanta Tech Village staple has some local fans with funding from David Cummings and others. Its innovation comes through its ability to seamlessly integrate with existing callboxes, be it at apartments or businesses.

Splittysplitty-travel (Tel Aviv, Israel): Choose travel destination and dates, and Splitty’s “split and match” technology combines different reservation types to find the cheapest hotel stays for the dates provided.

Travelers can rejoice through this hospitality startup that can give the best deals for multiple night stays at hotels around the world. They do it through automation generated from hefty consumption of data tracked over 40 markets for two years. Their algorithm knows how hotels historically manage reservations.

UCICucic (Waterloo, Canada): Ask and see a live photo or video from anywhere in the world, right now.

This brother-sister team from Canada have created the inverse of Periscope. Instead of broadcasting with the hope that someone is watching, you can request from others to show they are seeing. They’ve already seen early traction with hundreds-of-thousands of downloads.

Learn more about Techstars Atlanta through the exclusive articles by Hypepotamus. The hashtag #tslatlanta will tell its story across social media, including the @techstars and @coxenterprises Twitter accounts. Techstars-Atlanta-Lanch

Photo credit: Jenni Girtman (top and bottom) and Johnathan Kelso (center).

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