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(Techstars Seattle Photo)

Validate the market. Sell before you build. Seek failure. And go all in.

Those are some of the tips shared by founders participating in the latest Techstars Seattle class.

GeekWire caught up with the entrepreneurs who are apart of the tenth Techstars Seattle cohort, a milestone for the 3-month accelerator that has graduated 100 companies to date over the past decade.

Alumni of the organization — companies such as Remitly, Outreach, Skilljar, Bizible, Leanplum and Zipline — have collectively raised more than $700 million in investment capital. Most have built their startups in the Pacific Northwest, helping expand the entrepreneurial clout in the region.

Here are the ten startups in the newest class (Demo Day is set for May 7 in Seattle), with descriptions from Techstars, which provides $120,000 in funding in exchange for 6 percent common stock as part of the three-month accelerator. Be sure to read our Q&A with Techstars Seattle Managing Director Chris Devore, who reflected on the longevity of Techstars Seattle and dishes on how the Seattle tech scene has changed.

AdaptiLab

AdaptiLab founders James Wu and Allen Lu.

Founders: James Wu and Allen Lu

Headquarters: Seattle, Wash.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: AdaptiLab helps companies build machine learning teams with our automated and robust technical screening platform for candidates’ coding and analytics skills.

What makes you different from the competition? What’s your secret sauce? AdaptiLab has built the first-ever coding platform for assessing data analysis, feature engineering, and model training tasks. We automatically grade candidates’ code and models for quality and performance and provide in-depth technical scoring to the hiring managers distributing the interviews. We also handle question generation and anti-cheating measures. Overall, we add robustness to the recruiting process and drastically reduce the amount of time hiring managers and engineers spend interviewing candidates.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give other entrepreneurs who are just starting out? Conduct significant customer discovery before building a product.

Automaton

Automaton founders MH Lines and Julia Funderburk.

Founders: MH Lines, Julia Funderburk, and Andrew Graves

Headquarters: Kirkland, Wash.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: We provide quality and test automation for the millions of business users managing SaaS technology stacks, to keep lead flow and configurations working as expected.

What makes you different from the competition? What’s your secret sauce? Our competitors are built for SDETs or require software development skills. We provide a simplified UI so that marketers and sales ops pros can do recurring testing, regression testing or smoke testing at the click of a button.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give other entrepreneurs who are just starting out? Know your stuff — your TAM, your moat, your customer — and then go with it. The high-growth approach doesn’t make sense for every business, but if it does, find a tribe and some leaders — we chose Techstars — and just go with it.

DataChain

DataChain founders Arjun Pillai and Prasanna Venkatesan.

Founders: Arjun Pillai and Prasanna Venkatesan

Headquarters: Denver, Colo.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: DataChain is a B2B sales and marketing insights platform — an artificial intelligence platform that proactively keeps track of companies and lets salespeople know the right time and context to sell.

What makes you different from the competition? What’s your secret sauce? The way we unify the first party (company-owned) data with the publicly-available data about a company is pretty unique. We bring in huge amounts of public data about the company from more than 200 sources and tie it intelligently with the company-owned data. This enables us to do effective intelligence that will help the companies to better market and sell to their customers.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give other entrepreneurs who are just starting out? Before writing a single line of code, go out and talk to your potential customers and ask them how much they’d pay for it (don’t ask if they need it). Don’t build because you feel that the world needs it; make sure it really does.

Kristalic

Kristalic founders Filip Kozera and Jos van der Westhuizen.

Founders: Filip Kozera and Jos van der Westhuizen

Headquarters: San Francisco, Calif.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: We crystallise your memories by extracting information from what you hear and say and make that content rapidly searchable.

What makes you different from the competition? What’s your secret sauce? We’ve finished a masters and PhD in machine learning at Cambridge University. We leverage powerful deep learning models, developed during our research, in order to extract rich latent representations from spoken dialogues. These representations constitute our secret sauce for information extraction and rapid search.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give other entrepreneurs who are just starting out? Actively push yourself to have the widest possible perspective on everything. Whether it be through reading books and articles, or speaking to the wisest people you know, try to develop a habit that makes you take a step back. With our heads in developer mode, we thought we could simply publish a different app each week to test customer interest. After two brutal weeks and two mediocre apps, a meeting with one experienced mentor shed light upon the much better technique of landing pages. Now we know of even better techniques, and we could have saved a lot of work by forcing ourselves to take a step back from the start.

Level

Level founder David Edelstein.

Founder: David Edelstein

Headquarters: Seattle, Wash.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: Level delivers affordable and appropriate credit and savings through employers to enable hard-working Americans to break out of the payday-to-payday cycle.

What makes you different from the competition? What’s your secret sauce? Inspired by innovations in the design and delivery of financial services in “developing” countries, Level employs strategies which are proven outside of the U.S. but are considered novel here.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give other entrepreneurs who are just starting out? Identify a problem you are passionate about solving and make the leap!

Logixboard

Logixboard founders Julian Alvarez (left) and Juan Alvarez (center), with Daniel O., head o operations.

Founders: Julian Alvarez and Juan Alvarez

Headquarters: Miami, Fla.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: Our software is built to help companies all over the world better manage and control their freight operations in an easy and intuitive way.

What makes you different from the competition? What’s your secret sauce? From first-hand industry experience, we understand that the freight industry has low quality and decentralized data. Our solutions are built to tackle this data problem head-on, as opposed to shying away from it.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give other entrepreneurs who are just starting out? Start selling before you start building. We pivoted three times before we wrote a line of code. Grind your way to customer meetings, pitch your idea, iterate, validate, validate again, and then build.

Nodesmith

Nodesmith founders Samm Desmond and Brendan Lee.

Founders: Samm Desmond and Brendan Lee

Headquarters: Seattle, Wash.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: We manage complicated and unreliable blockchain infrastructure so that you can focus solely on your blockchain based application.

What makes you different from the competition? What’s your secret sauce? We focus on the holistic experience of building a blockchain based application. Not only do we provide basic access to blockchain networks, but we provide a suite of services that allow developers to easily build user friendly applications that don’t feel limited by the underlying blockchain infrastructure.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give other entrepreneurs who are just starting out? There is no substitute for getting connected with folks in your local startup scene. In our experience, there is a ton of variance in how startups are built in the various tech hubs across the world — what you read on popular startup blogs is not necessarily reflective of the ecosystem where you’re trying to start a company.

Rammer.ai

Rammer.ai founders Surbhi Rathore and Toshish Jawale.

Founders: Surbhi Rathore and Toshish Jawale

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: Rammer.ai automates notetaking in meetings.

What makes you different from the competition? What’s your secret sauce? Our APIs enable communication platforms to add actionable insights on their platforms without any human intervention.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give other entrepreneurs who are just starting out? Validate the market but trust your instinct.

The Tribl Network

Tribl founders Ikechi Nwabuisi and Jordan Sterling.

Founders: Ikechi Nwabuisi and Jordan Sterling

Headquarters: Austin, Tex./Oakland, Calif.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: Tribl is a P2P platform connecting immigrants to the cultural conversations, communities and experiences happening.

What makes you different from the competition? What’s your secret sauce? We leverage people’s cultural identity/affiliations to connect multinational people no matter where they are instantly.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give other entrepreneurs who are just starting out? Seek failure!

Toggl AR

Toggl founders Amr Adawi and Siamak Freydoonnejad.

Founders: Siamak Freydoonnejad and Amr Adawi

Headquarters: Seattle, Wash.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: Toggl is a mobile app that lets users browse interactive, entertaining AR experiences. It’s YouTube for AR content.

What makes you different from the competition? What’s your secret sauce? We’ve figured out what users actually like to do in AR, and what they find engaging. Also, no one else is doing aggregation of AR content as a platform.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give other entrepreneurs who are just starting out? Go all-in, full-time as fast as you can! Then, quickly build a team of advisors from your network to keep you accountable and give you ongoing feedback.

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