Startup Showdown A Welcome Addition To ATC’s Second CEO Summit

The second day of ATC’s CEO Summit wrapped up last Friday with the Startup Showdown, featuring Baytan Labs, MapMyFitness, Convergence Wireless, VivoGig, and Toopher. We captured some tweets along with commentary and have more coverage planned this week, so stay tuned. We used Storify’s tool to craft the original piece. You can see that version here.

Baytan Labs kicked things off by showcasing their Guardian Trace app, a local positioning service (LPS) for the iOS platform that addresses personal security. It uses Google maps and provides emergency contacts with the users last known location. I caught up with the Baytan team and heard from CEO Mike Davis on markets outside of personal security. They plan to market to enterprise customers as well, providing a cloud-based offering that employees can use to set up monitoring through their department, on a per-seat basis. As good as that sounds, the consumer is still the main focus, with a commercialization strategy that hinges on the home monitoring market.

The next pitch came from Convergence Wireless. They’re in the red hot energy efficiency sector, focusing on tech that delivers wireless-based automation around things like lighting controls. Local startup advisor Ben Dyer told us the company is well positioned with a solid portfolio of IP. We’re hearing it might skip the company build-out and license its IP to someone like Schneider Electric.

The third pitch was from MapMyFitness, a company positioning itself in the health and wellness industry. The guys did a great job conveying the market potential for its approach. They’ve built a solid social network around fitness enthusiasts but were quick to point out the other areas ripe for expansion. They emphasized the fact that there’s really no companies addressing the fitness and diet market on large scale. Their CEO said the number one thing prescribed by doctors to combat illness is 30 minutes of exercise. The other most prescribed was diet.

Needto.com was next up, a company positioning itself to disrupt a few spaces. Their marketplace serves the adhoc tasks and jobs market. At first glance, you’d think the company’s competitors are solely the Craigslists and Angie Lists of the world. But if you grasp where they’re headed, the competition is actually closer to companies like ServiceMagic and RedBeacon. They plan to take the best of what traditional directory services do, and throw in some Craiglsist-esque features to drive user participation and scale. If they can fill in some voids that some of the incumbents aren’t providing — like richer profiles and commerce, watch out. This space is ripe for disruption.

If you were there, there wasn’t any doubt who put on the best show. It’s tough to beat a guy that pulls out a blender. But it wasn’t all show for Toopher’s mobile authentication technology — they pulled out the win. Like some of its peers, Toopher’s market spans across a few sweet spots: identity theft and the broader market for newer security apps. Replacing older methods for logging into apps and services — like USB fobs — is the obvious one. They’re taking that further, though. Because they piggyback on existing logins with location services, your mobile essentially becomes an extra level of security by pushing each request to your phone and giving you the option to approve. Toopher likely has some additional work to do as it moves upstream, especially in larger enterprises and public sector environments. Simplicity and a strong mobile and security combination seem to working for them now, with more visibility sure to come with the ATC win..congratulations.

The last pitch came from Daniel Senyard and the Vivogig team.They describe themselves as a live music photography platform, but hearing Senyard and their head of strategy pitch, you can see the broader opportunities. They’re a content company that enables a huge audience segment (music fans) to create content. And increasingly that creation is happening in real-time and on mobile devices. Musicians and artists are in dire need of tools to get closer to fans, so while that might carry them, it’s easy to see how brands, events, and even sports franchises could tap into VivoGig’s stream. They’ve built a nice web front-end, but more importantly their capturing data. And that data is gold to companies building businesses around advertising and content. You might think of Facebook first, but I heard them mention a linkage to Billboard’s music group. That seems like a viable match. Being the source of data for artists to grow their brand is attractive, but the better bet might be providing real-time fan sentiment and content to the business side of the music industry.

We’ll be publishing some pieces on a few of the other panels, but before that, here’s a few items that were relevant to the competition. John Stockton (not the hoopster) at Mayfield Fund had a few zingers during the VC panel, not the least of which was captured by Doug Bain below.

One of the more colorful VCs was NEA’s Jimmy Treybig. His quote below was particularly timely as much of the second day’s discussion focused on how big the market opportunities need to be to even get the attention of many venture capitalists.

Lastly, let’s not forget the ATC Council team and their hard work. It’s these kinds of events that help connect the ecosystem of entrepreneurs, business leaders and passionate Austinites. Great job on a great event.

About George Dearing

George Dearing is a communication and technology professional and Founder of the Dearing Group. He advises organizations on communications and sustainability and serves on the Advisory Council for USGBC and CleanTX Foundation. His words appear in Forbes, InformationWeek and GreenBiz, among others. Follow him on Twitter here

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