Vator Splash start-up winner: Flowdock

Flowdock wants to bring your team and tools together; Astrid wins People's Choice Award

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
February 2, 2012
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Enabling engineers and development teams with tools needed to get a group project done was worth the winning spot at Vator Splash this year. The judges commended Otto Hilska, the founder and CEO, for creating a tool that could fold well into any enterprise system and allow for better communication. 

It was a tough call to pick a winner in this group of 10 great startup companies. This year we experienced a three-way tie between Flowdock, Geeklist and RollSale. Vator Splash judges were forced to vote in a tie-breaker where Flowdock came out the victor. 

As winner, Flowdock won one-hour sit-down meetings with three venture capitalist firms, including Javelin Venture Partners, Shasta Ventures and CMEA. Flowdock also won a $3600 Box enterprise package for one year, a $250 gift certificate from Zozi, an Apple iPad and a magnum of champagne.

Congrats to Astrid as well for winning the People's Choice Award.

(Editor's Note: We're now taking applications for Vator Splash LA. Apply here.)


Flowdock: Flowdock is a new way to group chat. You are able to upload files, paste blocks of text, use #hashtags to make notes or create lists and mention others’ names to get their attention.

This Finish-based company's service can also be used much like a shared inbox. As a group inbox, users get notifications from Web tools, apps and services in use and can then share in various ways.

SImple focused on the chat functions and integrating with different enterprise brands that want to improve their communication functionality. 

Otto Hilska, Mikael Roos and Tuomas Silen founded their first company, Nodeta, in 2004. Since then, the group has continued to innovate and build new businesses such as a Ruby on Rails hosting company, the leading Ruby on Rails consulting shop in Finland with $1 million+ projects, and helped the development community by writing APIdock, a social documentation site with more than 170,000 MAUs.

Flowdock a subscription-based Software as a Service. After a free 30-day trial period, companies pay $19 to $159 per month, depending on the team size.

The Finalists

The top 10 companies were chosen mainly based on peer voting held in the Vator Splash competition, where more than 100 companies entered in the competition. Here's a brief rundown of the 10 finalist startups.

RollSale: RollSale is a social network for car dealers. On RollSale, instead of status updates, dealers communicate the inventory they have available.

Their Web and mobile apps assist dealers in finding needed inventory faster and without the added margins brought in by auctions and wholesalers.

By broadcasting deals about inventory, vehicles needed could actually get filtered to the dealers that need them in real time so that time and money are lost, much like the normal wholesale channels function.

RollSale's user-defined, localized trading networks provide a better idea of trade-in values and allow dealers to pocket more profit than the traditonal channels used to have cars change hands.



QLess: QLess is a virtual line management system that allows guests to stay in queue via their cell phones. 

Guests enter the virtual line for a table or appointment from their phones, the Web or via a hostess, and then receive phone call or text message updates alerting them of when they are expected to be at the front of the queue. 

QLess also allows guests to call or text at any time for on-demand updates, or they can push themselves back in the line if they need more time, and even leave the line. Mobile queueing services local companies that would benefit from mobile, highly-targeted, local & timely marketing and data collection.


MyStand Inc.: MyStand is a transformational gaming platform that connects real world actions people and take them into the virtual world.  

Each user will have a MyStand "Impact Score" that represents the value they're creating in the world. For example, if you manage to reduce the amount of paper you waste or the electricity that you use, you will get points to reward those earth-saving efforts.

Big brands can get behind a particular set of challenges in order to combine marketing and eco-conciousness.

MyStand's has utilized technology that will verify hundreds of different actions people are taking in the world, and synthesizes the information into social networking, social gaming, online fundraising and viral marketing.


Geeklist : This chievement-based site was created for developers to share their work with their peers.

In Geeklist developers are able to build their achievement history and build relationships with fellow geeks and hiring managers.

It is a service that not only tells hiring managers what you built online, but what tools you used and what people you worked on the project with.

Finding engineers and developers that can do the project that you want could be made easier if you can connect all the work-projects that a person has in their resume.

For example, a developer could create a social page that says that Bob worked on the Yammer 3.0 project, he used X,Y,Z services and was part of a team of these nine people.

SocialFolders: SocialFolders is a way to manage social online content — from Facebook to Flickr — all in one place. Once SocialFolders has been connected to all of the networks you are a part of, it build a directory you can manage locally.

The service also lets you organize, sync and even back up anything you want from the social web.

Currently in beta, the service has 6,000 users, 2.2% of of which have subscribed to a paying plan.

The company is the US spin-off of ftopia, a European company providing SaaS file-centric collaborative services.



Growers First Coffee: Growers First Coffee is designed to leverage the power of consumer choice to promote long-term economic sustainability. 

By helping farmers establish their goals and addressing the needs of their communities first, this company hopes to bring more coffee from fair-trade and working farming communities around the world to market.

Through rigorous data collection, Growers First Coffee traces the transformation happening in the lives of farmers and enables consumers to establish a relationship with the source producer of their premium cup of coffee.

In a space where informing and empowering the comsumer, Growers First Coffee wants to spread the farmers market experience everyewhere. 


Astrid: (Which won the Vator Splash's People's Choice Award!) Astrid is a social productivity platform that helps people accomplish their work with engaging reminders and social pressure.

While to-do lists can be helpful, they are only a service if you look at them, and frequently. Astrid can be utilized by college students to share course work to busy mothers and business teams to manage companies.

Users share their goals from an iPhone, Android or Web app privately to friends or colleagues, or publicly on Facebook or Twitter. Invited guest can add or complete tasks, comment via email and monitor progress with mobile notifications.

Tracks Media, Inc.: Tracks is building the experience graphby letting users make micro-social networks around real world experiences. Using the social actions called 'tracks,’ users can map their family cruises, football season activity, or an entire year in college.

Each track created is a living social network based on thematic experiences in the real world. Tracks are framed around rich media and made over time and across locations.






TouristLinkTouristlink aims to offer low-cost group trips for young, urban travelers specifically in Asia.

These experiences are structured similar to existing daily deal sites so that if enough members buy the deal it will be active.   

The company also plans to offer an additional 10% discount to all the members of the deal if the deal fills to capacity -- this gives members an incentive to share the deal throughout thier personal network.  

Members will also be able to propose a travel deal on a wish list (Reverse Buy Model) and if enough other members express interest we will source the deal.


Note: dropped out of the competition early due to a possible conflict.

TheComplete.meThis is a social graph for dating on the existing social networking environment.








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