As a crowd of at least 300 people, including several tables packed with investors, looked on, the second class of “graduates” from Triangle Startup Factory paraded on stage Thursday to make well-planned and rehearsed pitches to potential backers.
And as with the first class, the five companies were impressive, outlining new technology or applications to meet pressing and emerging needs in various marketplaces.
For example, AI Patents.
This firm, led by Chief Executive Officer Liat Belinson who moved to the U.S. from Israel only two years ago, has developed technology that could revolutionize the patent industry.
As the ongoing legal battles between Samsung/Android and Apple clearly demonstrate, intellectual property protection is increasing in complexity and value. When Nortel shut down, by far its most valuable remaining asset was a patent trove worth billions.
AI Patents seeks to simplify and improve search for patents, not only in English but also to translate patents in multiple languages ranging from Mandarin to Kanji and Hindi.
The startup is seeking $500,000 in additional capital for product development and to build its sales force.
Able Device, meanwhile, explained how it hopes to capitalize on the exploding machine-to-machine marketplace.
Leigh Ann Ryals, the firm’s co-founder and a wireless technology veteran, noted that in 2008 the number of devices linked to the Internet surpassed the number of people on the entire planet. And another 400 million will soon be added.
But how do companies such as Redbox maintain communications in real-time and securely with all those devices?
Able Device seeks to bring order to the M-to-M world, which Ryals described as hobbled by proprietary, complex, expensive solutions.
“Complexity is killing profitability,” Ryals explained.
Able Device already has patented its solution, called SIMbae, which Ryals described as “simple, efficient and flexible.”
The company is seeking $500,000 in funding for sales, marketing and product expansion.
Appia Exec’s New Endeavor
Dov Cohn, the marketing voice for fast-growing apps marketplace Appia, has his own company in the works.
Cohn introduced PopUp, which earlier in the day was also named a recipient of a grant from the NC IDEA fund economic development group.
“Mobile advertising is broken,” Cohn told the crowd, and anyone who follows or owns Facebook stock knows that the social media giant has taken a hammering for – so far – being able to solve the mobile puzzle.
PopUp is a solution, Cohn said, as it assembles data from a variety of places across networks to present on your phone or tablet real-time information.
For example, a PopUp user checking in to a hotel would be reminded to use his or her AAA membership at that venue.
PopUp is seeking $650,000 from additional investors.
What’s Your Credit Score?
In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the drying up of credit, the importance of credit scores has never been more important.
Yet as startup Alekto pointed out, errors continue to occur – and the results can be devastating.
Alekto is seeking $750,000 in funding to expand its proprietary, patent-pending solution for reducing, if not eliminating the “one in three” credit reports that contain errors, 16 percent of which contain “material errors.”
Restoring the “Social Gathering”
Offline’s founders consider social gatherings as essential to humans as food and shelter. The need to meet, to share, to bond has “never been optional.”
Yet the advent of the Internet and social media has left people more isolated than ever in terms of personal contact. Social gatherings are “endangered.”
Offline’s team has developed what it believes is a solution – a “recipe” to create social events (such as people of similar interests getting together for a beer after work) in real time.
By linking people through demographics, interests and backgrounds, groups can link with businesses for nearly spontaneous get-togethers.
In beta testing with 713 users, 4.45 percent created events and 167 attended those events.
Offline hopes to raise funding midway through next year.
The Factory is already accepting applications for its next round of company and has set the third graduation day for next June.
By that date, these five startups may be on their way to graduate school – i.e., with institutional funding endorsement if not backing from a few angels. Or maybe a mixture.