Upfront Ventures leads with 18 investments, followed by Wavemaker Partners and Tech Coast AngelsRead more...
10 startups will be pitching their ideas to some of the top tech VCs!
Vator Splash LA is finally here! And in just a few hours, we'll find out who the winner is!
The winning company gets one-hour individual sit-down meetings with top-notch VCs, such as Javelin Venture Partners, Greycroft, Wavemaker Partners, Shasta Ventures, Baroda Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Anthem Venture Partners, CAA Ventures, Tech Coast Angels, and Rustic Canyon Partners. Plus the top 10 finalists win one year free service from Rackspace.
The overall winner receives in-kind prizes to help cut business expenses. Prizes - which are valued at $35k-plus - are one-year free subscription valued at $24k from Rackspace, an Apple iPad Mini, free engineering work valued at around $8000 from Stratpoint Technologies, two-hour tax consultation from KPMG, two-hour legal consultation fromWilson Sonsini, free services from Braintree, SendGrid, Scrubbed, Bread and Butter and more!
In the last four and a half years, Vator has put 165 startups on stage. Since then, they've collectively raised nearly $400 million in follow-on capital.Past Vator winners have gone on to raise $100 million in follow-on capital. Among them are RelayRides, Udemy, Thumbtack, Getable, PokitDok, DogVacay, and Traxo, to name a few. We look forward to watching the progress of the next 10 we put on stage.
At the end of the night, the judges will vote for their favorite! That startup will be the Vator Splash Winner.
Here are the startups vying to win Vator Splash LA!
Plug.dj is an international community where people can enjoy music/videos together in a socially interactive environment.
Its customers are brands seeking a highly integrated advertising channel, artists looking to reach a wider international demographic, and digital content consumers that enjoy consuming content in a fun and engaging environment.
The PLug.dj community is over 3.5 million registered users in over 190 countries.
Upside provides a fully-automated, white label platform that helps registered investment advisors leverage technology and algorithms to advise, manage, and service clients who want next-generation investment services.
It provides advisors with paperless account opening, portfolio selection, automated trading and rebalancing, client and advisor portals, and practice analytics in an intuitive, design-led user interface.
Console OS allows users to run Android on a Windows PC or tablet. It is designed to run stand-alone, meaning it doesn't have the performance limitations of solutions that run inside of Windows.
It is able to toggle with Windows in as little as ten seconds, and it avoids the performance issues commonplace with competing solutions for running Android on a PC. Console OS is able to deliver full 3D graphics with technology that outperforms today's Android tablets and phones.
IUNU has developed a product that enable communities to efficiently transition to and master indoor horticulture year round, solving the core problems preventing indoor agriculture from being economical and environmentally sustainable.
Compared to current commercial lighting systems, its proprietary Dual Plasma fixture produces 70% less heat, consumes 50% less energy, reduces water consumption, and grows superior produce.
NabThat is a platform for people to buy or lease new cars by allowing them to create online offers that local dealerships can match or counter.
Consumer information is kept completely private from dealerships, therefore shielding car shoppers from salesmen phone calls and emails. Savings are guaranteed and an express checkout service is provided which allows consumers to have their car delivered or be in and out of a dealership within minutes instead of hours.
Overall, NabThat's platform substantially improves the efficiency of the car buying process by minimizing the amount of time it takes, maximizing consumer savings, and empowering car shoppers and dealers alike.
Whistle allows customers to communicate with businesses via popular mobile messaging apps, such as GoogleHangouts, WhatsApp, WeChat and Viber, as well as SMS.
Whistle operates on a single web browser tab. It aggregates customer communications into a minimalistic web and mobile admin panel and allows businesses to respond or triage incoming messages via a real-time chat interface to and from the customer's preferred app.
personalRN is a HIPAA-compliant, patient-facing mobile app to provide disease-specific information to patients and caregivers relevant to their real-time care setting.
It includes customized education utilizing artificial intelligence algorithms that are determined by patient-specific data points and requires provider engagement and re-engagement from admission to discharge and subsequent outpatient care settings.
AIO Robotics is a 3D Printer company that has built an all-in-one 3D Printer, called ZEUS, that can scan, print, copy, and fax 3D objects with the touch of a button.
There are oo technical skills required, as the 3D printer is self-contained with an integrated high-speed computer and can fully be operated over an intuitive 7-inch touchscreen. ZEUS comes ready out of the box, setup time is less than 10 min.
Plantaware calls itself "the Internet of Plants." It is a Web service and modular hardware to help gardeners and farmers grow better plants with minimal efforts.
Users can download GrowCycles, whicch help growers achieve the best possible results by displaying - in sync with actual life cycle of the plant - step by step caring instructions, trivia, suggestions, tips and alerts, delivered as text, video and pictures. These interactive events are used to help users decide what to plant, advise them of problems, and remind them of things to do in their garden or farm.
ProGrids matches related products to content in the form of a native advertising unit. We have built a proprietary product matching technology that reads complex content and incorporates disparate signals in order to serve up the right products at the right time and to the right person.matches related products to content in the form of a native advertising unit.
It is a proprietary product matching technology that reads complex content and incorporates disparate signals in order to serve up the right products at the right time and to the right person.
Our judges include Ethan Applen (Warner Bros.), Jules Walker (KPMG), Robyn Ward (UTA), Eric Martineau-Fortin (White Star Capital, Mark Landay (Dynamic Synergy0, Jed Katz (Javelin Venture Partners), Brian Garrett (Crosscut Ventures)
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Joined Vator on
The ProGrids Platform matches related products to content in the form of a native advertising unit. We do this by reading each page of a publisher's site and using contextual matching, retargeting, and big data analytics to determine which products to show, to which person, and on which websites. We are the first platform where Advertisers can market their products in a native advertising unit that is predictable, easily optimized, and in real-time.
Advertisers can not programmatically market their products on content websites. There is no platform that allows for real-time bidding, optimization, and scalability of product ads on websites. This is a huge inefficiency that leaves millions of dollars a month in advertising budgets unspent.
Advertisers are able to bid, in real-time, for their products to show up in the ProGrids Product Widget. They are then able to manage and optimize their campaigns by publisher, placement, and products through the ProGrids interface.
Clients include Walmart, Nordstrom, Sephora, Urban Outfitters, and others , with JCrew, Estee Lauder, and eBay on the waiting list.
Technology: How We Match Related Products:
Contextual Matching: Machine Learning, Natural Language, and Keyword-to-Product Mapping.
Retargeting: Merchant Pixel Implementation, User Behavior, and Audience Modeling.
Big Data: Product Performance, Publisher Modeling, and Widget Optimization.
Patents/Intellectual Property: Working on patents in certain retargeting and display ad optimization techniques.
- 1,700 Publishers (33% Organic, 43% joined in last 2-months)
- Sales were up 70% MOM in July 2014, and are trending at 78% MOM for August.
- Product Ad Impressions in August: 20MM+ (All US)
Online display advertising is a $20BN a year industry. In just a couple of years Product Listing Ads have come to dominate search marketing with the top 20 search advertisers on Google spending more than 60% of their budget on Product Ads instead of traditional ads. The ProGrids Platform of Product Listings on content websites is a merger of both technologies and media types, which we believe will yield a market of over $10BN. The Product listings industry is growing at 618% YOY, and the Display Advertising industry CAGR is 13.4% YOY.
We are a team of online marketing veterans with over 10+ years of experience in Paid Search, Display, and Affiliate Marketing, and have Advisors that have launched successful Web Startups. The founders have unique domain expertise working at both major competitors Commission Junction and Linkshare, having been consultants for major advertisers like Walmart, and having worked for one of the top Black Friday websites on the internet, BlackFriday.fm.
Joined Vator on
StrokeApp is a HIPAA-compliant, patient-facing iPad application to provide stroke-specific information based on the patient's type, location & severity of stroke. The novel & patent-pending features of the pRN template include 1) customized content generated by patient-specific data that 2) require provider engagement and re-engagement from admission to discharge, as well as the following outpatient settings.The Health System Enterprise StrokeApp requires a licensed provider to enter the necessary clinical information (<90sec) onto a tablet pre-loaded with StrokeApp, which provides relevant content to address common questions and challenges associated the type of stroke the patient has been diagnosed with. StrokeApp leverages the inpatient environment to provide need-to-know information for the appropriate period of hospitalization with content that is individualized to the user's health literacy, preparedness, and pace.
StrokeApp is designed to be a health coach, or a personal RN, that begins at admission and remains accessible to a patient or caregiver throughout the length of hospitalization. As education becomes enhanced, patients and caregivers are empowered to have a compelling dialogue with their providers and vice versa, promoting engagement and better self-management with more compliance, informed decisions, and better outcomes. Similar to Rosetta Stone's innovative approach in teaching different languages, personalRN will help patients and loved ones become fluent in the language of their disease.
Joined Vator on
AIO Robotics is the next generation 3D Printer company from Los Angeles. We built the world's first All-in-One 3D Printer ZEUS that can Scan, Print, Copy, and Fax 3D objects with the touch of a button. No technical skills required, the 3D printer is self-contained with an integrated high-speed computer and can fully be operated over an intuitive 7-inch touchscreen. ZEUS comes ready out of the box, setup time is less than 10 min.
Joined Vator on
There are no shortcuts to building revolutionary companies, but our background, network and capital can help smooth the path.
We are looking for dedicated entrepreneurs who have the foresight and personal fortitude to take their ideas and make them happen. In a big way. Passion and conviction required, but also a grounded sense of the realities inherent in starting and building a world-class company. We like entrepreneurs who can cut against the grain.
Joined Vator on
Plug.dj's mission is dedicated to growing positive international communities for sharing and discovering music.
We enable people from all around the world to connect via shared interests and socially consume music/videos in realtime. Our users choose from a wide array of expressive characters, join any number of virtual rooms where they can discover and share music and videos, and communicate with international cohorts.
Our average user spends 2 hrs 30 min on the site per visit while actively engaging in the social consumption of videos and music, gaming mechanics, international chat and social media integration that leaves the user with a positive experience.
In December 2013, we raised $1.25m from Javelin Venture Partners.
Here's a few quick highlights of our progress over the past 6 months:
- Organically grown our community to +3.8m registered users in +190 countries (940k MAU up 54% last 6 months)
- Average active user engagement +2 hrs 30 min (up from 48 min last 6 months)
- Retention: 7D: 48%, 30d: 35%
- Plug.dj is already localized into +20 languages
- Solid, well-rounded team of 4 engineers, 2 designers/artists, 2 marketing/community, 1 BD/sales (from founding team last 6 months)
Joined Vator on
Console OS is Android™ remastered for the desktop.
We've taken Android apart and rebuilt it to be a mainstream desktop operating system. With support for dual-booting alongside Windows™, people with PCs, PC Tablets, and 2-in-1's can now enjoy Android at performance levels never before reached by the platform.
Console OS is designed to run stand-alone, meaning it doesn't have the performance limitations of solutions that run inside of Windows. It does however install from within Windows, making it easy to set up and use.
For the first time, you don't have to buy a Windows tablet, and an Android tablet, to enjoy the two universes of apps without compromise. That's Console OS.
Thousands of people have already signed on to the Console OS vision, with a very successful Kickstarter campaign already closed. Console OS is expected to go into beta late this year.
In the long-term, we plan to keep pushing the limits of Android out, to speed Android's rise as the most popular OS worldwide, on all your devices.
Console OS is the main focus of Mobile Media Ventures, Inc, headquartered in California. We're also building iConsole™, a new kind of Android console.
(While we're currently headquartered in Santa Clara, we are open to other final locations - including both Southern California and Nevada - we expect those discussions to continue over the next 60-90 days as we talk to relevant parties).
Note to Judges: Please check your private folder for pitch deck and expanded team profiles. Contact Vator support if you can't find it.
Joined Vator on
KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm, is the U.S. member firm of KPMG International. KPMG International's member firms have 137,000 professionals, including more than 7,600 partners, in 144 countries.
KPMG's Venture Capital (VC) Practice was created to provide the unique guidance and insights our clients in the VC community need to ensure success in the marketplace. Our services are specifically designed to help venture-backed companies navigate each stage of development—from inception to market leadership. Our seasoned VC professionals are dedicated to assisting clients through the many challenges faced in founding and growing a new venture.
Just getting started? Closing that big growth round? Contemplating an IPO? KPMG’s Venture Capital Practice can help prepare you for the opportunities as well as the obstacles that lie ahead. KPMG developed its service suites to align with the interrelated needs of growing companies on their journey to leadership. Each service suite draws on KPMG’s
knowledge, experience, networks, and commitment to quality and can help deliver significant benefits to growing companies. The Venture Capital Practice includes a large network of professionals who have experience working with new and established companies.
Joined Vator on
Upside helps registered investment advisors beat the “robo-advisors” by leveraging technology and algorithms to advise, manage, and service clients who want next-generation investment services. The company’s fully-automated, white-labeled managed account platform provides advisors with paperless account opening, portfolio selection, automated trading and rebalancing, client and advisor portals, and practice analytics in an intuitive, design-led user interface.
Joined Vator on
IUNU (pronounced “you-new”) is changing the way we grow food. We solve the core problems preventing indoor agriculture from being economical and environmentally sustainable. Our innovative products enable communities to efficiently transition to and master indoor horticulture year round. Compared to current commercial lighting systems, our proprietary Dual Plasma fixture produces 50% less heat, consumes 50% less energy, reduces water consumption, and grows superior produce.
Our world is experiencing record-breaking droughts, herbicide and pesticide pollution, and rapidly rising energy costs. Join us to help create communities with local access to the freshest and best tasting fruits, vegetables, and herbs provided by space efficient urban gardens.
Joined Vator on
PlantAware is the Internet of Plants. Your digital green thumb. A web service and modular hardware to help gardeners and farmers grow better plants with minimal efforts.
This is done by crowd sourcing horticultural knowledge and compiling it into downloadable plant applications we call "GrowCycles".
With a simple click, users can download GrowCycles and enjoy intelligent automation and guidance, adopted specifically to their garden or farm - based on the plants they grow.
GrowCycles help growers achieve the best possible results by displaying - in sync with actual life cycle of the plant - step by step caring instructions, trivia, suggestions, tips and alerts, delivered as text, video and pictures. These interactive events are used to help users decide what to plant, advise them of problems, and remind them of things to do in their garden or farm.
Monitoring and control is done on our hardware which is made of plug-&-play sensor and device nodes connected by 2way radio to an internet gateway. Nodes are modular and expandable; making them suitable for consumers and professionals alike.
- Consumer Gardeners - the encouragement to grow whatever they want, and the guarantee that they will be successful.
- Professional Farmers - the means to experiment and compare, along with a scaleable modular system for superior agricultural control.
- Cities and Municipalities - the means to unify the control, maintenance and monitoring, of parks and landscapes throughout the city.
Joined Vator on
Invests in early-stage tech companies with incredible potential, managed by teams of energetic, trustworthy and capable leaders. Key focus areas include digital media, Internet commerce, mobile and healthcare IT. Javelin looks for advanced bleeding-edge innovations, where the addressable market size is substantial and strong competitive advantages exist. A typical investment is between $1 to $4 million, with reserves for follow-on investments. In addition, Javelin also considers smaller seed investments for unique companies just getting started. Located in downtown San Francisco, while invests throughout the world. Javelin is a very active investor with a long-term outlook and the objective of creating substantial value.
Joined Vator on
Whistle allows customers to communicate with businesses via popular mobile messaging apps (GoogleHangouts, WhatsApp, WeChat, Viber, etc) & SMS.
We're starting with hotels.
To add detail...
The problem: Over 1 billion people are already using popular mobile messaging apps to to talk with each other. Why can't they use the same proven method of communication and established behavioral patterns to communicate with companies as well?
Through extensive market research the Whistle team has identified a specific problem / use case in the hotel industry to which Whistle's solution can be applied; As technology progresses and millennials become increasingly dependent on technology (and more adverse to in-person, face-to-face communication), hotels are finding that guests are reluctant to report issues to hotel staff via the phone or through face to face interactions. Rather, guests have displayed a pattern of "stomaching" issues throughout the duration of their stay, only to later blindside the hotel with a negative online review, which dramatically impacts the hotels bottom line (as online reviews have become a mainstay of the consumer decision making process).
What is the description of the product: Whistle operates on a single web browser tab. Whistle aggregates customer communications into a minimalistic web and mobile admin panel. Whistle allows businesses to respond or triage incoming messages via a real-time chat interface to and from the customer's preferred app.
Who are your customers: Whistle is targetting the hospitality industry as our early adopter customers (based on customer development / product market fit research), but the broader technology could easily serve many more general use cases.
Whistle has signed contracts with a number of hotels from Los Angeles to New York and will be rolling out a pre-launch pilot program prior to Vator Splash LA.
Why would hotels use this and what is your initial charge: Hotels are choosing Whistle as a pre-emptive solution to negative comments on review sites and social media. Hotels see Whistle as a progressive solution that keeps their business on the forefront of technological innovation. Hotels strategize that Whistle can help position their brand as "tech savvy" in an effort to better connect with their younger guests (especially in response to the industry wide trend of increased smart phone usage among guests).
Whistle's teired SaaS pricing structure is based on the number of rooms in the hotel. Plans start around $125/month.
How big is the market?
The hotel market alone is huge, but perhaps the best way to address this question is to look at the number of people using mobile messaging apps (over 1 billion people). Then ask, what business wouldn't be interested in communicating with their segment of the global population? Perhaps an indication of this answer is the number of companies that have created Facebook pages simply because "that's where our customers are." More accurately, that's where their customers were. Now, they're increasingly talking on WeChat, WhatsApp, and GoogleHangouts. Enter Whistle.
Joined Vator onEric is a founder and managing partner of White Star Capital and has close to 20 years of investment banking and VC experience. He has led multiple investments including Ludia, Betaworks, Science, Dollar Shave Club, Bloglovin’ and Summly.
Joined Vator onEntrepreneur, investor, product strategist. I help start, grow, and run companies. I work with startups and growth oriented companies on products and initiatives that could bring significant economic and societal impact.
Joined Vator onBrian Garrett is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Crosscut Ventures. For his entire career, Brian has been involved in building and funding early-stage technology and media companies.
Joined Vator onJed Katz is the Managing Director of Javelin Venture Partners. One of the pioneers of online commerce, Jed has spent his 20 year career developing, advising & investing in early stage tech ventures.
Joined Vator onRobyn runs New Media Ventures at UTA, working closely with UTA's portfolio of early-stage companies as well as making strategic investments. Prior to UTA, Ms Ward spent 15 years working at startups.
Joined Vator onMark J. Landay, Managing Director of Dynamic Synergy Executive Recruitment. Dynamic Synergy provides start up & growth companies with retained CxO recruitment. Approximately 33% of the companies Mark has consulted to have had positive exits!
Joined Vator onJules re-joined KPMG in September 2011 to help take the Emerging Technology practice to the next level. We work with pre-IPO companies providing audit, tax and advisory services locally and globally.