Live Blogging TechStars Seattle Demo Day--Nov. 3, 2011

[4:17] Andy Sack explains the rest of the time is for networking/drinking at the bar. Afterparty to follow. Thanks to everyone.

[4:10] The live stream went down on TechStars' end. We will publish a recap of the last three presentations [ Vizify, GroupTalent, EveryMove ] when we have access to the video. Follow tweets about the event at #tsdday and find a complete list of presenting companies and founder contact info here.

Photo of Todd Silverstein / Vizify courtesy of TechStars.

[3:52] Seeing a photo slideshow of the TechStars program [ video stream appears to be down ].

Photo of Jonathan Sposato, Picnik founder, introducing Vizify.

[3:49] Keller says working on Romo is a dream come true.

[3:49] Keller says Romotive expects licensing to be a major component of the business. After selling robots for one month, Romotive is now a profitable company. Almost at a $1M annual run rate after one month. Today, they're raising $500K.

[3:47] Phase one was about iteration and improvement. Built Romo and developed applications. Phase two is all about scaling technology by increasing the number of apps available for users and growing its user base. Phase three will entail licensing technology to brands as a way to reach larger markets.

[3:45] RomoCart lets users race against users in the real world and pick up virtual goods like weapons. Also has face recognition, voice command, color tracking and more. Developers can use the API to create custom identities for Romo and sell in the app store.

[3:44] Romotive raised $32K over a 45-day campaign on Kickstarter. Met goal on day three. Romo has become one of the most popular Kickstarter projects ever. Raised $75K by selling 900+ units to over 760 people across the globe. On track to raise $100K.

[3:42] Keller, one of Romotive's co-founders, says robots are natural intersection between computer science and the physical world we live in. Romo is a robot controlled by your smartphone.

Keller shows Romo, the smartphone-powered robot.

[3:40] Bob Krumans introduces Romotive. He says he's a geek who writes code. When he saw there was a company coming in building a cool thing, he was excited, but knew nothing about the business model.

[3:38] Nick says it's good press for men to get vouches. The team is raising $600K with $200K committed.

[3:38] Launched first market experience to test vouch mechanism in two-week contest to have women vouch for men. They vouched 150 guys into their system and only 10 men opted out. When the contest ended, the customer base grew.

[3:37] Women can use LikeBright without ever leaving Facebook. LikeBright makes friends vouch friends in. Users can use the site for free or pay a subscription fee to engage with people outside of their network.

[3:35] Users can sign up using Facebook Connect. Women can see what other women think of men. They can see how many women have vouched for a certain guy. Women can post anonymous questions and contact people directly through integration with Facebook.

[3:34] Women have told them they prefer to meet guys the old-fashioned way, though referrals from friends. When a woman vouches for a man, it's one of the strongest social cues in the world. They have started with women vouching for men.

[3:33] Who here in this room has ever wanted to go on a date? Only 4% of American singles have paid for online dating. Most people aren't dating. Nick says their goal is to engage the other 96% of singles by putting women first.

[3:32] Rebecca says they are dedicated to melting the Seattle freeze. Nick Soman takes the stage.

[3:31] Rebecca Level with GeekWire introduces Likebright.

[3:30] The magician has left the building -- he'll be back next year. And he does parties and events if you're interested.

[3:29] Jude is now attempting to cut his hand off. This could be bad.

[3:25] The TechStars crowd is being "entertained" by Jude, the son of TechStars Seattle Executive Director Andy Sack, doing magic tricks. His next trick: Cup and Balls.

[3:20] Following a brief intermission, the remaining five companies will present. Vizify, Romotive, Likebright, GroupTalent and EveryMove.

[3:16] FlexMinder is raising $500K in a convertible note with half the amount committed. In the last 90 days, they built a product and made distribution deals.

[3:14] Helps people at risk of losing money by the end of the year. Premium affiliate revenue model. Long-term, can monetize all flexible spending accounts for consumers. Signed deals with employers and brokers and got up to 1M users. Has partnership with Regent to help bring first private exchange to the market in 2012.

[3:13] Smartphone app lets you take photo of receipt. Getting your money back currently involves copying, scanning and faxing. FlexMinder watches for when you have a reimbursable expense. FlexMinder submits the claim for you. They also help people figure out what they should spend their money on.

[3:10] T.A. McCann, founder and CEO of Gist, introduces Deepak Kumar with FlexMinder. Multitrillion dollar industry. $43B put into flexible spending accounts but end up losing $3B a year by claiming their money. Makes it easy to get reimbursed for your expenses.

Photo by Jeff MacDuff (at the Shoebox).

[3:08] Self-serve model for advertisers to run campaigns. Austin says they are in a $4.5B
industry that is expected to grow by 5% each year. Raising $600K. Has $350K committed.

[3:06] GoChime scales across multiple social networks. Austin says he can't emphasize the human-to-human model enough. The site GoChime is testing on gets 300x the average clickthrough rate on ads across all social media sites compared to traditional advertising models.

[3:06] GoChime monetizes these opportunities. Extracts expression of need, matches with relevant offer in database and dispel. Chimers work for rewards, recognition and money.

[3:04] GoChime CEO Austin Evarts takes the stage. Says they are 20x more effective than traditional advertising. Social media has created an enormous marketing opportunity for brands.

[3:03] Keith Smith introduces GoChime. They have a tremendous team, a product that will scale very rapidly and they are in a huge market. He says it's the only company he'll invest in.

[3:02] Chad says he and Naresh have the expertise to make their brand loyalty service work.

[3:00] Our technology is what will separate us from the compeitiotn. Will match right games with best rewards. Segment and target brands data even further. Bluebox Now has engaged customers through casual games, has helped retain customers by matching right games and right rewards with appropriate demographic. More money will be spent on brands and customers will save more. Murphy USA is paying them $75K for campaigns. Caesar's Entertainment. 50 brands currently in sales pipeline.

[2:58] Brands have $48B in rewards, so why not reward these people for playing games? A brand sends an email to customer database inviting them to play a game. Games range from 15 to 60 seconds. The value of winning an award is far more exciting. When people play, Bluebox opens up to let them rate it and get rewards. They make it easy to redeem by showing locations nearby. The self-service platform makes it easy for customers to customize the games any way they want.

[2:56] Introducing Bluebox Now's Chad Reed. Groupon acquired their previous company, Pelago. Users could check in but couldn't redeem rewards. They realized it's more important to increase redemption 10 times. Rewards are more relevant. Conversations with brands inspired them to create Bluebox Now. Over 2M loyalty programs, less than 66% are active.

Photo by Kayla Roark.

[2:54] Making fliers is free. Smore has a Freemium model. The company makes money when people buy ads. Smore takes a percentage when people use their pages to do e-commerce or fundraising. He says they're a dedicated team. 1500 are using Smore in private beta. First batch in next week. Raising $500K. Half committed so far. Gilad says they already denied an acquisition offer while at TechStars.

[2:52] Gilad says you can use your own URL or a Smore URL. Gilad says the page you want comes in minutes rather than days. Offers a promotion checklist to get more traffic to your site.

[2:51] You can always higher a development to make an online resume for you. Smore can make all that complexity go away.

[2:50] Smore is like Tumblr for products, services and events. Simple single-paged websites designed to promote you.

[2:49] Gilad Avidan of Smore says they got a reputation for the team that builds the best product. They are both designers and developers.

[2:48] They spent their own money to travel to Las Vegas to interview for this. Introduces Smore.

[2:45] He expects mobile wallets to hit 720M users by 2015. They have closed $750K in the form of a convertible note.

[2:43] Beamit lets people use mobile devices to send back money to a mobile wallet in another country. Mobile to mobile enables free, real-time transfers. Matt imagines a world where we can send money immediately from Shanghai, Istanbul, Kenya or even a bathroom.

[2:41] Matt Oppenheimer of Beamit introduces Sheila. She sent home money back to the Philippines, but she had to go to a physical location, deposit physical cash and then have her uncle in the Philippines go to a physical location. Immigrants send $300M back to the Philippines each year. All immigrants across the US. $75M sent back every year. Across the globe, immigrants send home $325B every year. That's a little under a billion dollars in transfers every day.

Photo by Sean Sperte.

[2:39] Chase is pleased to tell you how Beamit will disrupt the mobile payments business. When he was in Kenya, he noticed three things that turned into his business model. Many people receive money from abroad, but it can be expensive with hidden fees and foreign exchange rates. It is also a slow process. Every one had a mobile phone and in Kenya, everyone used a mobile phone.

[2:38] Chase introduces Beamit Mobile founder and CEO Matt Oppenheimer. He says Beamit has a big, bold vision.

[2:36] The agenda: First five companies present, followed by a brief intermission, special event and then the next 5 companies will present. Kayla introduces Chase Franklin.

[2:37] Kayla says TechStars wouldn't exist without the mentors who have been with the companies through both the good and the bad times.

[2:36] Kayla thanks Demo Day sponsors for their continued support. National sponsors include Wilson Sonsini, Rackspace, Cooley and Silicon Valley Bank. Kayla asks audience to give mentors a round of applause.

[2:35] Andy says TechStars is about the entrepreneurs, the investors and the community behind them. Andy introduces Kayla Roark.

[2:33] One of the godfather's says there's a difference between doing something and how you do it. When people are given the freedom to do something, they usually copy others. Human behaviors are contagious. Society becomes how we all behave. He says these behaviors are freakish and that we benefit enormously from investors and entrepreneurs who are willing to take the risk and innovate. He says we cannot take these behaviors for granted. They create a magical feedback loop that continues to benefit society.

[2:31] Rich Barton says the companies in TechStars are having 63% less sex. His message to the companies is to take big swings and think big. Starting a company is difficult and requires a lot of blood, sweat and tears. He says it takes just as much work to take a big swing as it does to take a small one. The people around you will be inspired by you if you think big.

[2:30] Everyone on stage has been involved in billion dollar companies but all started small. Their small companies grew into bigger companies. Tom says it's important to invest in a diverse range of companies. Tom says they didn't have this in the nineties and that TechStars bodes very well for the Seattle community.

[2:29] There weren't good jobs for people. The opportunity was to start your own business. John says that today is no different. John says now is a great time to start your own business.

Photo from Clint Nelsen.

[2:27] Andy introduces John Stanton of Western Wireless, Tom Alberg, an early investor in Amazon, Rich Barton. Andy says they are the godfathers of the Seattle entrepreneur community.

[2:25]  Andy Sach kicks off Demo Day. Andy says The TechStars class has raised $3.5M dollars raised to date. They aim to exceed goal exceed $10M. Nine companies have already started funding rounds.

Get ready to meet the 2011 TechStars Seattle class starting at 2:25pm PT on Thursday, Nov. 3. We'll live blog the entire event right here, starting with the welcome from TechStars Seattle Executive Director Andy Sack. Till then, check out the official agenda.


Twitter: @techstars

Andy Sack
Email: andy at techstars dot org
Twitter: @andysack