Twenty-six companies, $843,000 invested, 125 new jobs, one exit – that’s what the Portland Seed Fund has accomplished in just two years, according to Portland Seed Fund General Managers Angela Jackson and Jim Huston as their third class of startups graduated the accelerator program this week.
Both Jackson and Huston say their experiment to see what three months of rigorous mentoring, milestones and $25,000 in seed capital per startup can do to help young companies get off the ground has proven the model works. Portland Seed Fund graduates have gone on to secure additional funding and household-name customers.
Aiming to follow in the footsteps of the PSF alumni before them, six entrepreneurs presented their business concepts and future funding needs at the Portland Seed Fund “Demo Day” on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Each graduating company at Demo Day was introduced by real customers, like TicketMaster, Intel, Korkers Footwear and HVAC contractors, who are already using or piloting these companies’ products and solutions. Portland Seed Fund’s third class of companies includes:
Brandlive – a live, social commerce solution that allows brands to engage with large numbers of customers via web-based video and sell more products. Launched in July 2010 by Co-founder Fritz Brumder, brandlive now has 25 customers, including Keen, growing revenues and is seeking a $1.5 million preferred round.
Wikisway – if Google Maps and Wikipedia had a baby, it would be Wikisway, according to Co-founder Huston Hedinger. Wikisway gives context to web searches that turn up endless amounts of data by visualizing how that data connects. Hedinger jokingly said the solution could simply illustrate “how anything is connected to Kevin Bacon.” Wikisway is looking to raise $750,000 in a second tranche round.
InGrid Solutions – if you’ve ever waited all day for a contractor who then showed up without the right parts, InGrid Solutions is out to change all that. Co-founder Jim Cahill, who worked 10 years in the specialty contractor trade, has introduced a software solution to help contractors like HVAC specialists, plumbers and electricians easily capture customer information, schedule jobs, track where a contractor is going and invoice via mobile devices. InGrid Solutions is raising $500,000 to grow its business.
Mobilitus – founded by two entrepreneurs from Iceland, Mobilitus is a mobile ticketing platform already deployed by TicketMaster and generating millions in revenue. Next, Mobilitus plans to launch what it calls “mobile first mini sites,” simple mobile e-commerce sites that help artists and promoters sell additional merchandise. Co-founder Toti Stefansson said the company is seeking $1 million in an accelerator round.
OnTheGo Platforms – augmented reality applications are moving to a new platform – smart glasses. OntheGo Platform plans to offer new AR smart glasses apps for activities like running, snowboarding, golf and bicycling. Its first product, Ghost Runner, allows runners to don a pair of glasses that holds their running data (route, time, pace, etc.) and race against another runner they can see through the glasses. The company is seeking $600,000 for its seed round, according to Founder Ryan Fink.
Tellagence – simply put, Tellagence’s social analytics solution helps brands predict how “word of mouth” travels across social networks and what the most talked about topics are. Sold as a Software as a Service, Tellagence maps data for the topics that brands care most about and provides a suggested network to grow a company’s message reach. Co-founder Matt Hixson said its customers are asking for 20-40 licenses from Tellagence, and the company is seeking $6 million in a series B round to expand.