The first annual 9Mile Labs demo day just concluded, and I had fun checking out the nine new startups emerging from the B2B incubator.
Did I have some favorites? Sure, did, including Kevin Nakao’s MeritShare; Bonnie Cech’s Cadence MD; Damon Danieli’s Appuri and Kyle Schei’s Comr.se (though I think they need a new name).
Of course, it’s hard to pick winners after hearing six-minute pitches. But these four were the companies I’d probably want to hear more about, if I were investing my own money.
Here’s a look at the nine, with some notes on each presentation.
MeritShare: “MeritShare provide simple recognition to their team in a way that was fun, simple and social.”
Notes: MeritShare CEO Kevin Nakao took the stage after showing a video of a customer, saying that the solution is a “no brainer.” More than 50 companies are using MeritShare to “motivate” employees, and Nakao says they’ve never lost a premium customer.
The former WhitePages exec said that most companies have a seniority recognition program, meaning you have to show up for 25 years to get a service pin. “Millennials are not going to wait 25 years,” said Nakao, pointing out that employers who recognize employees are able to better retain talent, and that saves money.
“What gets measured, gets done,” said Nakao. The service costs $2.75 per user per month. “MeritShare sticks like super glue,” said Nakao, pointing out the most of the pilot customers have stuck around. The company, which is similar to David Niu’s TinyHR, is growing 15 percent every month.
Airometric Wireless: “At Airometric wireless we believe that with the right set of tools, analytics and maybe some expert help every individual and enterprise can have a the best possible wireless experience.”
Notes: CEO Annie George took the stage to a Nirvana’s “Come as you Are,” pointing out how her new startup is trying to make mobile apps work across devices and networks. They are building a cloud-based platform for developers to test mobile products, boosting application performance along the way. “We help optimize the system, by bringing this all together,” said George, noting that in the mobile arena things can go wrong with devices, networks or applications.
“Imagine what you can do if you can test your products, and see results almost immediately,” said George, a former employee at T-Mobile and Microsoft. George said they are on track to get two contracts by the end of the year, though she didn’t specify what type of customers she’s going after.
Cadence MD: “CadenceMD enables doctors to improve profitability and patient experience by discovering and eliminating waste in their schedules.”
Notes: No one likes hanging around the doctor’s office waiting for their appointment, and Cadence MD is trying to fix that problem. Cadence MD CEO Bonnie Cech offered a strong pitch, noting this recurring pain point, and showing how the startup is looking to inform doctors of wait times, pointing out the inefficiencies in the system. Most impressive, the company has already put its system in place on a trial basis at Swedish Physicians, and its looking to boost the number of trial customers going forward “The market is big, and it is growing,” said Cech, pointing out that patient flow management technologies are on the rise. Cadence is looking to approach organizations with more than 100 doctors.
Appuri: “Appuri normalizes data into Amazon Redshift, a modern, petabyte-scale data warehouse.”
Notes: Smart guys, and they seem to be on to something here. Damon Danieli, former CTO at Z2, is leading the charge in an effort to build a “next generation big data company.” The company is already working with big brands, like EA and HBO GO. Danieli calls the technology a “big data stack for customer engagement at scale.” It helps companies engage with customers, drawing in data from disparate places. “To engage your customers, you have to know your customers,” he said. The technology helps answer questions for mobile app developers like: What marketing campaign brought the highest paying customers?
SpinRiot, Portland: “Simple interactive multi-screen authoring.”
Notes: CEO Dave Richards noted that the company helps marketers create interactive content “in a short period of time,” turning linear presentations into compelling discussions. He noted that they have a better approach to “sales enablement,” pointing out they want to help more than 18 million sales reps do their jobs better. It expects revenue of $450,000 from an initial pilot. (Correction: The dollar figure has been changed to reflect the correct amount of revenue from the pilot).
Ombitron: “Wireless solutions for the Internet of things.”
Ombitron is building a new platform for the “Internet of things,” helping companies bring products to market faster. It is partnered with Sprint and Verizon. It has gotten off the ground with $125,000 in initial funding, with Hammann saying that they plan a full launch on Sprint and Verizon networks soon. “We see a world where everything is connected,” he said.
Givingtrax: “Enabling organizations to manage and promote their giving efforts.”
Notes: CEO Karrie Hungerford said the startup “makes it easy to give back at work,” noting that it is nearly impossible to align programs with values of employees with current systems. She described it as a cloud network to streamline the philanthropic giving process. The startup has over 60 customers, and it is talking to EMC/Isilon about using it with its more than 1,200 employees in the Seattle area. Founders have pumped $550,000 into the business.
Amptab: “Software that connects and manages all products in the supply chain to provide full-service solutions from commodity to consumer.”
Notes: CEO Patrick Henley was introduced by Tim Clothier, vice president of Pacific Coast Feather. Henley said they are building a back office software system that helps companies manage the supply chain, saying they are “passionate about creating a better way to sell.” In the first six weeks, the company sold 74 new clients. They stopped selling after the initial trial, and since August 1 sales have taken off again.
Comr.se: “Comr.se increases eCommerce revenue by powering native transactions anywhere brands connect with their consumers.”
Notes: This startup is pronounced “commerce” — and the company is led by CEO Kyle Schei. It brings transaction-based images that companies can post directly into Facebook “without ever leaving the social stream.” Basically, it is a shopping cart technology, which may sound like a a 90s-era innovation. But it looks cool. The service syncs with existing e-commerce infrastructure, and they “capture transactions in new environments.” By doing so, Schei said they are expanding e-commerce around the Web, noting that they offer a “tangible big data offering.” The company is working with Palo Alto Research Center to show how products sell throughout the Web, also helping match products with specific customers. He said the partnership with PARC is shaving a year off of development.
A great pitch by Schei, who noted that the company has logged 5,600 hours in the office; grown to 11 people; and consumed 765 beers.