School’s in session Tuesday for the Techstars accelerator’s newest class of startups, with this year’s group of 10 featuring a heavy dose of Chicago and an international flair.
Seven of the 10 companies picked from more than 900 applicants for this year’s contingent call Chicago home. They’re joined by one company from India, one from Spain and one from Canada.
Most feature business-to-business models, which doesn’t surprise Troy Henikoff ⇒, managing director of Techstars Chicago.
“Chicago tends to be a more B2B city, and we’re good at it,” he said. “We like businesses that are generating real revenue.”
There’s one business-to-consumer company, dog-walker platform Urban Leash. It’s a mobile app for busy pet owners that includes GPS tracking for your pet’s walk. There’s also a bitcoin-based company, Glidera.
Techstars Chicago launched here in 2013, when Excelerate Labs, which graduated three startup classes going back to 2010, merged with the accelerator, based in Boulder, Colo. Other Techstars locations include Boston, London, New York, Seattle and Austin, Texas.
Past Chicago successes include GiveForward, SpotHero and WeDeliver, the latter of which recently was acquired by California-based Deliv.
Participants work out of Techstars’ 1871 headquarters for 13 weeks, ending in a demo-day program in October.
Companies enrolled in Techstars typically take $118,000 in seed capital in return for 7 to 10 percent equity. The basic agreement offers $18,000 for a 6 percent stake, but most companies take another $100,000 in convertible debt, for an additional stake of 1 to 4 percent, depending on the value of the company when it secures further funding, Henikoff said.
Techstars companies also receive a variety of perks from marketing sponsors, including legal and banking services, cloud-hosting credits and frequent-flier miles. The Techstars website values the perks at just under $450,000.
Here is this year’s Techstars class:
Akouba Credit, an underwriting platform aimed at reducing the cost and time required for banks to issue a small business loan.
BetaOut, an India-based consumer-intelligence and marketing-automation platform built specifically for ecommerce businesses.
Glidera, which hopes to help developers build bitcoin buying and selling services into their applications.
Growth Geeks, a marketplace for companies looking to find freelance marketing professionals.
Hooks, based in Alicante, Spain, helps customers discover and configure push notifications.
Infiniscene, helps gamers create live broadcasts in their web browsers.
Routific, a Vancouver-based delivery optimization platform.
Specless, a platform that converts advertising content to different media formats.
Tribe, a platform that helps coordinate coworkers, clients and contractors.
Urban Leash, a mobile app that offers on-demand dog-walking services, including GPS tracking of your dog’s walk.
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