Today, 20 startups affiliated with Capital Factory gave 3 minute pitches to a room full of potential investors. Here are 8 that caught my personal attention.
1) Authors: CEO Monica Landers highlighted how book publishing is broken and offered a compelling solution for writers, publishers and agents.
2) Pen Pal Schools: helping 70K+ students connect around the globe has turned Pen Pal Schools into an award-winning business for CEO Joe Troyen.
3) ProHero: when CEO Mark Jackson (formerly one of John Elway's go-to-receivers at the Denver Broncos) told me I could book an experience with Tony Dorsett (yes, I'm aging myself), I was hooked.
4) GoodyBag: I've been watching CEO Jay Panchal's office catering company for awhile and recently met him in person. I'm impressed by Jay and the potential for Goodybag.
5) Kandid.ly: CEO Sam Ulu has combined his aerospace brilliance, P&G experience, and personal history into a compelling service to help us source photographers for more of life's important events.
6) Music Meets Video: with a wonderfully addictive approach to tallying votes for American Idol style performances, CEO Alex Mitchell's destination is seeing impressive growth.
7) PopUp Play: as a father of three, I especially enjoyed CEO Bryan Thomas's modern twist on building a castle.
8) ROIKOI: hidden under a serious surfer's exterior is the creative brain of CEO Andy Wolfe. And with ROIKOI, he's figured out a compelling way to help companies identify and recruit serious talent -- via passive employee referrals.
Kudos as well to all of the companies that demo'd today: Chiron Health (reimbursable video visits for physician practices), Cloud9 (mobile patient engagement), Curb (home energy monitoring), md Portal (telemedicine services), PreSchool2Me (childcare connection technology), Rent Rebate (Redfin for Apartments), SchooLinks (international education connections), Social Matterz (social media lead sourcing), Tastebud (dynamic pricing for food/beverages industry), ThinkVoting (a new way to mobilize citizens), TripChapmp (nextgen corporate travel) and YouRoam (free calls and texts to your phone over WiFi).
Overall, the day was polished, energizing and impressive. Thanks to everyone at Capital Factory and to all of the entrepreneurs who presented. Your hard work was evident and you all helped demonstrate why Austin has become the startup capital of the world (see: Kauffman Foundation).
* Disclosure: I am an advisor to Authors and a Partner at Capital Factory.
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Steve Semelsberger is the Founder of Alder Growth Partners.