Presenting the 8 finalists for Vator Splash Oakland!

Steven Loeb · April 23, 2015 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/3d49

These 8 startups will be pitching their ideas to some of the top tech VCs and entrepreneurs!

Today, Vator will be holding its annual Splash Oakland, where speakers such as Marco Zappacosta, Co-founder & CEO of Thumbtack, Adam Goldenberg, CEO of JustFab, and Slava Rubin, Founder & CEO of Indiegogo, will be giving their thoughts about the current state of technology and venture capital. 

In addition, Vator will  also be holding another startup competition, where some of the best, most innovative startups will pitch  their ideas in front of top-notch VCs, angel and corporate investors and high-tech influencers.

Here are the eight companies that will be presenting today:

 

BriteHub

BriteHub, a provider of  supply chain management tools to make their customer's days more efficient.

It is a cloud based manufacturing application connecting buyers and suppliers in the product design and manufacturing space, allowing them to connect with verified suppliers or collaborate with their network of suppliers, share design files and collaborate all in one interface and see all company activity in their customized dashboard.

 

Wonderspark

Wonderspark, a casual mobile game developer, who game, called Alter/Ego, combines the visuals and excitement of a hardcore action game with the strategy and accessibility of a card-combat-based role

Through activity monitors and background location, Alter/Ego takes the things you do in the real world & converts them into a fantastic adventure that users are always playing. Players earn cards through their real-world activity. Time spent at "work", for instance, is translated into the fantasy world as "questing". Sleeping at home recovers health & stamina.

 

Countable, an online web- and mobile-based governmental application that provides information about key legislations for eligible voters,

Users can use it to learn about issues, influence their representatives in government, and rally their community and friends around those issues. Organizations and politicians can use Countable to build support for their positions, expand their membership and drive donations. 

 

CrowdStreet

CrowdStreet a crowdfunding marketplace solution connecting accredited investors with institutional-quality real estate investments.

It provides real estate operators, funds and private equity companies a full-service marketplace solution for presenting investments online, marketing opportunities publicly, managing the offer process and maintaining ongoing investor relationships.  The CrowdStreet solution is enriched by services and business partnerships that empower real estate sponsors to modernize their fundraising processes and embrace online capital formation.

 

ShowKit a cloud-based communication platform that adds real-time screen sharing, co-navigation and video chat to any mobile app with a few lines of code.

With ShowKit customer care agents can tap, swipe, draw and view the screen of a mobile user in real-time while communicating with them via video/audio chat right inside the app.  ShowKit’s goal is to reduce resolution times and repeat calls for technical defects, and increase customer loyalty and conversions by providing a more efficient and effective mobile support experience.

 

Cloudsteada private cloud platform that seamlessly integrates an unlimited number of applications, giving users massive privacy improvements compared to current cloud services such as Google and Dropbox.

Users can run any application, written in any popular language. That means that Cloudstead’s growing platform adapts quickly to the changing needs of users across varied businesses. Currently, Cloudstead has over a dozen applications, including email, calendar, storage, surveys, collaborative documents, bug tracking, project management and more.

 

ShareRoot, a content marketing platform, which aggregates user generated content from Instagram and Twitter in a platform that brands can access and securely request for the rights to those images.

The company has created a SaaS platform that gives brands the ability to source UGC from various social channels. It utilizes APIs from the major social networks that allow for images and image information to be pulled from the platforms chronologically. Its tools allow brands to seek out images, send out custom requests for the rights to the images, and post their newly sourced content to multiple platforms. 

 

Thesis Couture, a performance driven, fashion footwear brand.

Using structural engineering, advanced material science and with a keen focus on human factors, its team has created a patent-pending internal architecture of core components to replace the century-old parts and processes still used in today’s painful high heels. The design and materials measurably improve load distribution across the foot, impact shock, and kinematics, resulting in a healthier and longer-wearing shoe that never compromises on high fashion or sexy aesthetic. 

The prizes

Here is what the winner of Vator Splash Oakland will receive:

A one-hour individual sit-down meetings with at least 10 top-notch VCs, including Javelin Venture Partners.

Plus, the winner receives in-kind prizes worth more than $40,000, including an one-year subscription to Rackspace, four round-trip tickets courtesy Alaska Airlines, a Shine activity and sleep monitory from Misfit Wearables, a bottle of Bread & Butter wine; complimentary services courtesy Scrubbed and Stratpoint, and more to come. 

We are stoked to have Rackspace be our preferred managed hosting provider for our startup finalists. Here's why its managed cloud service is valuable: Why a Managed Cloud service is better than unmanaged.

Stay tuned for the winner, which will  be announced later today!

Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs

Thumbtack.com

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

Thumbtack helps you accomplish the personal projects that are central to your life.

Whether you need to paint your home, learn a new language, or plan your daughter's birthday party, Thumbtack is the easiest and most dependable way to hire the right professional for your projects.

Get started by answering a few questions about your specific needs. Within hours, Thumbtack will introduce you to several available and qualified professionals. Compare custom quotes, reviews, and profiles and hire when you’re ready.

By connecting customers like you to the right pros, we enable independent professionals to grow their businesses and do what they love. We’re proud that many of our pros have doubled or even tripled the size of their businesses through Thumbtack.

Thumbtack is available nationwide for more than 700 project categories.

Countable

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

Countable is an iPhone app, Android app and website where users can learn about issues, influence their representatives in government, and rally their community and friends around those issues. I can use Countable to tell my Senators how to vote on Keystone, encourage my friends to do the same, get credit for their activism, and get updates on how my reps actually vote - all in moments, on my way to work in the morning.

Organizations and politicians can use Countable to build support for their positions, expand their membership and drive donations. Revenue will come from giving organizations and companies a new way to reach and influence Countable’s coveted rich demographic of influencers.

We’ve had outstanding early adoption, are growing rapidly and are the first to crack the code on the civic social graph - a massive market exceeding $80bn.

 

Wonderspark

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

Background:

Wonderspark is a new company from the co-founder/Creative Director of Self Aware Games, the developer of Big Fish Casino, one of the highest-grossing ($200M+/yr), most successful, and most enduring apps in iOS history. 

The Problem:

A whole generation of people who grew up with games no longer has time to play them. Whether it's parenthood, or a high-pressure job, there are millions of self-identified "gamers" who simply can't play the games they love anymore, and the five-minute time-wasters that are prevalent on the App Store are a poor replacement, because they lack the things that real games provide - challenge, mastery, progression, narrative, and a genuinely social experience.

The Game:

Our new game, Alter/Ego, combines the visuals and excitement of a hardcore action game with the strategy and accessibility of a card-combat-based role playing game.

However, Alter/Ego isn't just about the few minutes a day you have time to play, it's also a game you play with your *life*. Through activity monitors and background location, Alter/Ego takes the things you do in the real world & converts them into a fantastic adventure that you're always playing.

The core mechanic of Alter/Ego is a fast-paced, accessible card combat game that mimics short-range combat between two people. It's played with a combination of reusable and consumable cards, like a mash-up of War (the simple two-player card game) and Magic: The Gathering, but with the character progression & development of a role-playing game, like Blizzard's Diablo.

Players earn cards through their real-world activity. Time spent at "work", for instance, is translated into the fantasy world as "questing". Sleeping at home recovers health & stamina. No matter how exciting or how routine a player's life is, their real-world experience shapes the experience of their player-character in-game, and helps to create their role in a fantastic, alternate-reality fight for humanity's future.

Alter/Ego is built specifically for a generation of people who grew up on games but whose free time is extremely scarce & valuable. It gives players everything they love about games - mastery, challenge, narrative, progress, social interaction - and delivers a brand-new style of game designed from the ground up for the cutting edge of mobile technology.

Our Approach:

We've pioneered technology that lets us iterate 20-50x faster than most of our competition. At Self Aware, this approach let a team of five people dethrone Zynga in 2010 from the #1 Casino game spot on the App Store with a team 1/10th their size with 1/100th of their budget.

We combine 20+ years experience creating hit games wtih robust customer feedback and analytics, which lets us create something genuinely new and exciting, and optimize it incredibly fast.

Our approach has always been to build something that was impossible to build before that moment in time, and to combine novel technology and novel mechanics in a way that still feels familiar to players.

One of our biggest strengths is that we understand how to create games that foster genuine social interactions - both between existing friends, and between people who are meeting for the first time in our game. Our players play our games for years and create lasting relationships that often extend beyond the confines of our game. Real social interaction is a core value for us. The fact that because of it, we achieve best-in-class retention & monetization is just icing on the cake.

BriteHub

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

BriteHub’s current software establishes a foundation for healthy business procedures through effective internal and external collaboration management and real-time notifications. Our solution eliminates the back and forth emails and multiple versions of PDF’s that often leads to delays and mistakes during this crucial process. Our cutting edge and agile approach to development is not only a cost effective solution but adaptable and configurable as manufacturing grows. Our unique and easy-to-use workflow tools track the daily valuable data needed to have clear visibility into the strengths and weaknesses within internal teams and a network of suppliers. In addition, our web

 

Thesis Couture

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

Thesis couture is the world’s first performance driven, fashion footwear brand within the $40B global high heel market.

We’ve recruited world class experts and luminaries across fashion, technology, and anatomy to reset the standard of design excellence in women’s high heels. Our brilliant team includes a former NASA astronaut, a uniquely-trained fashion scientist and designer, a world class orthopedic surgeon, and more.

Using structural engineering principles, advanced material science and with a keen focus on human factors, we have created a patent-pending internal architecture of core components to replace the century-old parts and processes still used in today’s painful high heels.

Our design and materials measurably improve load distribution across the foot, impact shock, and kinematics, resulting in a healthier and longer-wearing shoe that never compromises on high fashion or sexy aesthetic.

CrowdStreet

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

CrowdStreet provides real estate operators, funds and private equity companies a full-service marketplace solution for presenting investments online, marketing opportunities publicly, managing the offer process and maintaining ongoing investor relationships.  The CrowdStreet solution is enriched by services and business partnerships that empower real estate sponsors to modernize their fundraising processes and embrace online capital formation.  Accredited investors, institutional investors and family offices access an intuitively-designed platform to find institutional-quality real estate investments, complete an online offer workflow, track investment performance and build a commercial real estate portfolio. Based in Portland, Oregon, CrowdStreet was founded in 2013 by a team with deep experience in commercial real estate, securities and finance, marketing, consumer Internet and software development.

ShowKit

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

ShowKit is the next generation of mobile customer support and engagement.  We’ve developed a platform and mobile sdk that enables customer care agents to tap, swipe, draw and view the screen of a mobile user in real-time while communicating with them via video/audio chat right inside the app.  ShowKit’s goal is to reduce resolution times and repeat calls for technical defects, and increase customer loyalty and conversions by providing a more efficient and effective mobile support experience.

Problem

The world is going mobile and apps have become a great way to perform different tasks until you run into a problem and need to speak to a live person.  In most apps today your only options to connect with a live person are to leave the app and call an 800 number or send an email.  Companies are spending millions of dollars on their mobile initiative yet still rely on outdated and ineffective channels to support and engage their mobile customers.  According to analysts from Greenfield Online, Datamonitor/Ovum and Genesys, enterprises in the U.S. lose an estimated $83 billion each year due to defections and abandoned purchases as a direct result of a poor experience.

Market Opportunity

The total mobile app market is huge, $77 billion by 2017.  Mobile use is rapidly becoming integrated into every business sector in every industry, which means these mobile users will need support.

ShowKit provides technology for real-time interaction in any mobile app ranging from shopping to entertainment to productivity.  Offering ShowKit as an platform and sdk allows for wide adoption and keeps us flexible and cost effective.

Our initial target markets will be telecommunications, concierge and the mobile workforce.  Customer support in these markets are traditionally high-touch, and they are feeling the biggest pain and are some of the biggest losers when it comes to supporting their mobile customers.  We also have received the most interest and traction with enterprises in these markets.

 

Why invest now?

 We’re an experienced team of mobile, real-time video and VoIP experts.  With limited funding and a small team we’ve executed on building a great product and have attracted some of the largest companies in the world.  We were finalists at TechCrunch Disrupt NY, which has given us a lot of exposure.  We currently have paying customers ranging from startups to enterprise, and almost $500k in sales.  We’ve done all of this with under $500k in total funding.

 

IndieGoGo

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

IndieGoGo is a collaborative funding platform. Anyone with an idea (creative, cause, or entrepreneurial) can create a campaign on IndieGoGo, offer perks and raise the funds needed for execution - all while keeping 100% ownership. Customers range from artists (musicians, writers, filmmakers, etc.) who pre-sell their work as a way to fund it, to people raising money on behalf of charities to small businesses offering limited edition items or access to fund their start-up capital.

IndieGoGo launched the beta in 2008 within the film vertical. By 2009 IndieGoGo became the largest online film funding platform and brand. In 2010, IndieGoGo focused on further developing its funding tools and opened the platform to more verticals. Recent growth has been excellent at IndieGoGo including:

* Revenue up 24x in last year
* Funding projects from 134 countries
* 11,000+ projects
* Webby Award Nomination (versus Flickr, Vimeo & Digg)

JustFab

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

JustFab (www.JustFab.com) is an online fashion styling service and
lifestyle fashion brand that offers members a fun and engaging personalized
shopping experience. Members of the fashion service are given the celebrity
treatment every month as they receive a customized selection of shoes and
handbags, handpicked by stylists, along with the JustFab basics of denim and
other fashion essentials. VIP members can purchase items for $39.95 and
shipping is always free.

ShareRoot, Inc.

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

ShareRoot has created a SaaS platform that gives brands the ability to source UGC from various social channels. We currently utilize APIs from the major social networks that allow for images and image information to be pulled from the platforms chronologically. Our unique tool allows brands to seek out images, send out custom requests for the rights to the images, and post their newly sourced content to multiple platforms. We have an additional API that reads each user in order to ensure that the brand is gaining the rights for the image that the specific user has posted. 

We have planning in place for the ability to modify images that the brand has obtained rights to, schedule out posting to social channels, as well as aggregating content into customizable campaign folders. 

Our clients have currently received an average approval rate of 43%, allowing for these brands to source marketing material for little or no cost. 

 

Cloudstead, Inc

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

Cloudstead is a private cloud platform that seamlessly integrates an unlimited number of applications, giving users massive privacy improvements compared to current cloud services such as Google and Dropbox. When a user launches their own cloudstead, we give them a key and throw away ours. We can't ever get in again unless the user requests it.

Cloudstead is remarkably versatile. It can run any application, written in any popular language. That means that Cloudstead’s growing platform adapts quickly to the changing needs of users across varied businesses. Currently, Cloudstead has over a dozen applications, including email, calendar, storage, surveys, collaborative documents, bug tracking, project management and more. Soon, we'll be adding an app a day.

All of these apps work together to form a cohesive system that is a joy to use, while also providing the privacy everyone should have.

Cloudstead is a private cloud that’s also uniquely affordable, offering many of the same benefits that large companies enjoy when they build expensive, complex private clouds.

Questions & Answers:

Q.  Companies like Google and Dropbox provide some of the services you do, such as storage, email and tools. What's Cloudstead's proposition over those services?

A.  Google Apps and/or Dropbox/Box are just a fraction of what users want and need. SMBs, need lots of other software, such as MailChimp, SurveyMonkey, GitHub, Basecamp, Hipchat, Confluence, Jira, New Relic, Airbrake.io, Mixpanel, the list goes on and on.  Cloudstead not only replaces ALL of it, but does so 1) with an integrated system in which all components work together, saving your team a ton of it's most precious resource - time, and 2) much less expensively (savings of 80% or more)

So the accurate comparison is not between Cloudstead and Google/Dropbox, but rather between Cloudstead and a disjointed hodgepodge of 15+ different SaaS applications.  The current cloud patchwork wasn’t designed to work together, and doesn’t.

Here is some of the pain that SMBs experience with stitched together Frankenstein SaaS - and that Cloudstead's integrated system elimiinates:

Management Headache. You have to manage users in a dozen different places. Onboarding is a pain. Offboarding is even worse -- who inherits the files and data? Does your SaaS vendor even support this? Every one is different. With Cloudstead, you manage users in one place, for all your apps. Your accounts will automatically have access to new apps that you install.

It's Expensive. Many of these services call themselves "Freemium," but really they are "Tease, then gouge”; you pass the skimpy free tier in a hurry, and then it gets really expensive. But by then, the hooks are in your company and the switching cost is high, so you're stuck overpaying. With Cloudstead, you pay one flat rate for the right size of your "cloudstead" for both computing power and storage, and then add as many accounts and apps as you like. Your Cloudstead will tell you when it's getting bogged down and it's time to upsize your Cloudstead.

Chaotic Data Management and Lack of Privacy. It’s nearly impossible to track data when it’s stored across a dozen different vendors. Worse, it’s difficult to know who has access to it. By keeping your data in your Cloudstead, you always know where it is, what is public, what is shared, and what is private.

Cloudstead’s integrated system solves all of these problems.

Q. How do you differ from services such as Xendo and Scoro?

A.  Cloudstead is a much broader product than either Xendo or Scoro.

Xendo enables search across multiple third party services and websites. In contrast, Cloudstead not only provides the search, but actually provides the apps themselves AND Cloudstead powers system-wide search across all the Cloudstead applications. Xendo is essentially a feature that is provided within the much broader Cloudstead product.  

Scoro provides a suite of applications.  However, already, even at pre-launch, Cloudstead has many more applications than Scoro. More importantly, Cloudstead is NOT simply a suite of application, it’s an open source platform available for developer and anyone who wants to build for it. The platform is language-agnostic – enabling rapid integration of popular open-source applications. The Cloudstead build platform will be very appealing to independent cloud developers due to how easy it is to use. Because of this, we predict that in the not-too-distant future, we’ll be adding an application a day.

And even comparing "apples to apples" (noting that Cloudstead is much more than apples; it's more like the whole supermarket), Cloudstead has major advantages over Scoro, including, cost.  Scoro starts at $11 per user per month. Cloudstead's much more sensible model is pay for usage –meaning the many SMBs with a lot of light users can save on operating costs.

Yet another major advantage of Cloudstead is privacy. Scoro houses users' data on servers that Scoro can access at will, Cloudstead provides a key to users that they own. Period

Q. I've read some about Cloudstead's pipeline.  What are the benefits of signing up right now?

A.  Get your company started Faster:  Today, right out of the box, you can get a new company up and running faster than with Google Apps or any other cloud platform, public or private.

Launch now and within minutes you can start using your cloudstead with: email, calendar, file sharing, email list management, collaborative docs, blogging, online surveys, web analytics, project management, source control, issue tracking. 

Stop Wasting Time:  Most businesses struggle with managing dozens of Incompatible SaaS vendors.  With Cloudstead, all of your accounts are in one place. Enjoy single-sign-on across all apps. Onboarding/offboarding is a cinch.  And we don't lock you in, so you don't have to worry about possibly wanting to go somewhere else in the future.

Save Money:  Cloudstead is a fully-integrated private cloud with a simple all-you-can-eat pricing model. (cost calculator screenshot or textual summary here)

Q. What is your initial target market?

A.  Our first verticals are tech startups and software developers, because:

1) They are intensive users of SaaS;

2) They understand the advantages of a well-designed, integrated system, versus the problems inherent in a patchwork of SaaS vendors.

3) We understand their needs (source control, issue tracking, web conferencing, web analytics, etc). Our “Startup Bundle” app suite is designed exactly for them.

Q. Is there a channel strategy to get adoption? If so, who are your partners? 

A. Yes. We are in talks with datacenters, co-working spaces, and other organizations that are keenly interested in white-labeling Cloudstead to offer to their customers.  We are also talking with consultants ("freelance CTO's") who design and implement whole technology systems for their clients. Cloudstead is a perfect offering in this common scenario. Since Cloudstead is so easy to use and understand, it makes the consultants' jobs easier and their clients happier.

Q. How does your team divvy up responsibilities? 

A. Brian and Jonathan head the technical work. Chip is a swiss army knife, primarily focused on product, customer support and marketing; he also does some tech work. Karen leads our outbound marketing and messaging. EJ handles all the business operations including legal/finance, and also has a strong hand in recruiting and fundraising.

Q. What are the use cases for Cloudstead?

A.  Small-to-midsize company or tech startup is faced with three types of pain commonly associated use of multiple 3rd party cloud services.:

a) Lack of integration- multiple users or departments using on different platforms and services with varied security protocols, passwords, and storage. Information is not as secure, search is cumbersome and the "shadow IT" problem of individual users choosing whatever services they like is wasting time and creating stress for the real IT department and leadership. Cloudstead is a simple, private cloud solution for use by SMBs and startups that want and need their data and cloud software easily managed, searchable and secure.

b) Cost - lack of control over varied cloud SaaS pricing models that can spike after a certain user tier is exceeded. User-based pricing that doesn't account for light vs. heavy users and potential spikes in operating cost from 3rd party cloud vendors make for big headaches in budget. Shadow IT from non-integrated cloud services also creates budget mayhem. Cloudstead is and affordable private cloud solution for use by SMBs and startups that can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars in TOC compared to the current, multi-platofrm approach.

c  User on- and off-boarding. Startups on a growth trajectory are adding new users across a panoply of cloud services. On-boarding them is time-consuming. Furthermore, control over security of data is a concdern when its spread among users on different platforms. SMBs with regular turnover have similar challenges and for both, off-boarding is an even bigger concern and time suck. Cloudstead is a simple and secure private cloud solution for use by SMBs and startups that safeguards control and access to data and makes on and off-boarding users simple and fast.

 


 

18297

Marco Zappacosta

Joined Vator on

Marco Zappacosta is a Co-Founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Thumbtack.
114107

Adam Goldenberg

Joined Vator on

148274

Slava Rubin

Joined Vator on

Slava Rubin is the CEO and co-founder of Indiegogo, a company dedicated to revolutionizing the way that people fund what matters to them, and has led the organization to becoming the largest crowdfunding platform in the world.