Operating under a new name – The Startup Factory – but with the same mission, Chris Heivly and Dave Neal kick off today the fourth group of emerging startups for three months of mentoring and development.
A diverse group of companies – from simplifying news collection across the Internet to home wellness, education, business timelines, a rewards network and mobile religious education – make up the latest group for the Durham-based business accelerator.
Heivly and Neal chose to change the name from Triangle Startup Factory, which launched in 2010, in hopes of broadening its appeal to entrepreneurs beyond their home turf. (The two also are mulling an expansion outside the Triangle/)
The six ventures selected this time: Szl, Homewellness, Brevado, 4Soils, Coursefork and Flagtap.
Each firm receives $50,000 in funding as seed capital and is eligible to land a convertible note between $20,000 and $150,000 upcon completion of the three-month program.
Here’s a snapshot of the new companies, as provided by The Startup Factory:
As the Internet continues to grow, and search technology continues to improve, the proliferation of data sources is actually making it harder and harder to decide where to spend our time. A host of news and infotainment curation services have emerged to try to help people with this problem. The expiration of Google Reader in July 2013 increased the tempo and scale of this need. The problem is, most of these tools require a lot of setup and are really created for power users. Only a small percentage of people who get their news from the Internet spend the time to set up RSS feeds and filters. Szl addresses these problems directly and solves them, while also adding a fun and toyetic interface that we expect will become addictive and will create a new category of methods for interfacing humans to the Internet.
The startup has created building science-based software, which acts as an employee’s personal home concierge, helping them improve their homes’ comfort, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality. The employees reap the benefits of having a more sustainable and healthful home environment while their company aggregates the actions of its employees to polish its corporate sustainability profile.
Coursefork is a platform for educators to create, share, collaborate and get feedback on their course materials. The goal of our technology is to connect great Coursemakers with each other to create great materials and thus teach better courses. As similar platforms operate in software development, they hope to use that model inside the teaching market. In essence, Coursefork seeks to ignite viral teaching.
Brevado creates interactive timelines for project-based businesses. Users can layout milestones and various steps that help the client understand the process and what to expect. Clients stay in the loop with automatic progress notifications as items are completed, helping to manage expectations. Collaboration is also improved with features like file uploads, video embedding and assignable tasks.
Currently, small consulting businesses are trying to keep customers in the loop through phone calls and email, which take hours out of their day. Emails are lost in the inbox and archived away never to be seen again. With Brevado, everything relevant to a project is kept organized in a unique way that provides project context. This helps consulting companies improve their process and in effect delivering better more profitable projects.
Flagtap solves the website marketing engagement problem by bridging the gap between getting traffic and getting traffic to engage in revenue-generating ways. The way they’re doing it is with the Internet’s first universal rewards network.
In less than a minute, any website can integrate with Flagtap’s gamification engine and start creating rewards for any kind of interaction — there’s no coding required! Once sites are connected to the Flagtap network, they can attract highly engaged users by offering rewards for whatever kinds of user engagement they need more of, including things like: watching videos, downloading apps, posting reviews, making purchases, and social media sharing. Flagtap enables websites the power to directly target — and increase — the kinds of engagement they need in order to be more successful
4Soils seeks to engage the children of the mobile first generation with their faith in a new way. Their mission is:
• To Bring the Bible to life for kids: Modernizing existing content and delivering it to this generation in an interactive and engaging way
• Delivering Sunday to the everyday: Children can learn in community through the mobile devices they’re already using
Our target audience is any family of faith seeking quality children’s Bible content. US children spend on average 43 min/day on mobile devices, but much of it is on meaningless activities like launching birds and beating up cats. Between the ages of 4-14 is when 80% of people become Christian. There is nothing more important than instilling the right Biblical values in children early on.
The religion space has previously been slow at adopting technology. As a mobile first company, we seek to partner with Biblical and values based content providers to create a fun, engaging, and interactive experience for kids.