Year Four. Class Seven. Four Startups. 
Today marks the start of another session of The Startup Factory’s three-month accelerator program, with four North Carolina participants chosen from a pool of 100 applicants from around the globe. 

2015 is a critical year for TSF co-founders Chris Heivly and Dave Neal—in 2016, they’ll begin to raise a second fund and they’ll need a track record worthy of more investor dollars. The notion doesn’t seem too far off considering the accelerator’s banner 2014. Three portfolio companies raised large rounds of funding and one exited. The top 10 of 31 companies that have graduated from the program averaged at least $650,000 in follow-on funds. And TSF hired Lizzy Hazeltine to help market the portfolio companies to investors nationally.
It’ll be several months before we see how the following companies stack up. But here’s a bit of detail about the businesses and their founders, in preparation for the months of mentorship and business-building to come:

Agile Realm

Agile Realm makes the bold claim that it is building the most innovative software specification authoring and management tool on the planet. I don’t know what this means besides that it’s a tool that helps developers organize, communicate and accelerate the product development process. 
Founder Dan Berlin seems to have the credentials to build such a product. According to his LinkedIn page, he’s a longtime coach and trainer of the Agile software development processes, with experience in Agile project management or software engineering at Scottrade, Capital One, Microsoft, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and Mobdub, an online media provider. For the last two years, he’s worked as an Agile consultant at Slick Rabbit LLC in Morrisville, but his work has taken him around the nation.


AnyCloud is a photo storage service that easily aggregates photos from email accounts, social media and other storage sites in one place online. It also lets you easily download photos or albums, copy photos between accounts and organizes the photos based on friends tagged within them. The service is in beta testing.
Founder Brian Jenkins is a Silicon Valley software veteran who moved back to Durham in 2014 (He attended Duke University years prior.). He participated in Groundwork Labs and won an NC IDEA grant last May. His goal is to eventually expand the service to other forms of media, like videos and music, and documents, making AnyCloud a “ of online content and connections”. Check out Jenkins’s pitch from last fall’s CED Tech Venture Conference: