The economic downturn has prompted credit scarcity, layoffs, and cutbacks. Despite the tumult, however, earlier this year twenty Austin business luminaries pumped $100,000 of their own money into the creation of Capital Factory, an Austin-based technology startup incubator that gives funds and mentorship to the most innovative startups.
In May, the Capital Factory partners picked five potential blockbuster startups to invest in, even spending ten weeks helping the young entrepreneurs grow and develop their business concept. The startups are showing off their results of more than two months of hard work at the Capital Factory-hosted DEMO today, at the AT&T Exeutive conference center on the University of Texas’s campus. More than 250 investors, executives and media representatives are in attendance.
During the intense 10-week development program, all twenty of the incubator partners worked closely with each of the five winners. They taught the young entrepreneurs everything from how to pitch effectively to handling tough legal issues to successfully marketing their product. The partners invited a bevy of guest experts – accountants, analysts, and designers – to answer tough questions and explain the ins and outs of their field.
“It’s hard to get a lot done in ten weeks, but our goal was to make sure the startup was in a position to get customers by the end, and we did,” says Josh Baur, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Capital Factory. “We’ll continue to help and work with them and offer any advice; the partners are all equally and personally invested in these companies.”
In addition to hands-on help from seasoned entrepreneurs, the incubator gives the winners
$20,000 for startup capital, as well as an additional $20,000 in free perks, including office space, public relations assistance, and legal support.
When Capital Factory launched at the end of January, the partners encouraged hungry entrepreneurs from around the globe to submit their innovative business proposal via a five-minute video. With only a two-month slot for applications, the partners expected about 100 submittions; they received a whopping 300 plans, including some from the United Kingdom and Germany. You can check out the videos from most applicants on the Capital Factory YouTube channel.
Here’s a list of the five winners:
Cubit Planning: its technology automatically gathers a plethora of data that, say, engineering firms and urban planners need to create a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document, which is a required written summary of the potential environmental impact of an infrastructure project, such as a road or bridge. With Cubit’s technology, it only takes five minutes to build a report versus ten or more hours typically spent manually plugging in data.
FamiGo: a very early stage startup that develops mobile games that encourage the entire family to interact. The first game – scheduled for release as an iPhone application in the next couple of weeks — is a virtual edition of the old timey game “Hot Potato.”
Hourville: an online marketplace where consumers can, for free, find service providers in their area and book time with them directly and instantly online. Services range from singing lessons to Spanish language teachers to therapists. For $10 a month, service providers can create real-time schedules with times, prices and locations on the site; customers can select an available time and book an appointment directly online.
PetsMD.com: an online health care site for pets. Consumers can find everything for their pet ranging from diseases to drugs to veterinarians in their area. The site even has a “symptom checker” feature, so consumers can try to figure out what could be wrong with their pet. They can also purchase any of the hundreds of pet supplies offered on the site, including toys, beds and furniture, and grooming tools.
SpareFoot: an open marketplace that offers more than 100,000 listings of the best deals on storage spaces, including space at a local storage facility or a neighbor’s garage. The listings are broken down by location, unit size, cost, and amenities. In addition, the site allows consumers to make some extra cash by renting out their parking space or garage space. Transactions are secured by a customized lease agreement.