As some of you probably know, Techcrunch Disrupt is back in New York this week, spotlighting the big names, bright stars and exciting up-and-comers of the tech industry. The event, which began on Monday and concludes today, has been an exciting one, with the Hackathon giving birth to some really fresh ideas, the panels and speakers dropping some genuine wisdom, and Startup Alley offering a healthy mix of exciting new products.
The granddaddy of the event, though, as it has been every year, is the Startup Battlefield, which pits the hottest new startup companies against each other in a battle royale fight to the finish. Well, not exactly, but it does make for really engrossing (and, sometimes, inspiring) stage presentations, as tech startups show off, pitch, and sell the merits of their products to a panel of VCs, entrepreneurs, product experts and Techcrunch editors on the way to winning the coveted Disrupt Cup and the $50,000 check that goes with it.
This year's Startup Battlefield consists of 28 companies, each one launching their prized product on the Disrupt stage. While the field will be whittled down to six this afternoon for a drama-filled last round, we figure you'd be interested in seeing who exactly are these 28 finalists.
3DLT Over the last couple of years, home 3D printing has become a lucrative cottage market, with cheaper and more powerful hardware making it more accessible than ever. As with any burgeoning market, 3D printing needs a marketplace and 3DLT is looking to fill that void. Using a model based on content marketplaces like Graphic River and iStockPhoto, the company is looking to establish a wide selection of curated 3D models that hobbyists and entrepreneurs can download and bring to life using their home 3D printers, essentially making the process even more accessible to a greater group of people who don't want to fiddle working on their own 3D models.
Secured Funding: $10,000, Location: Cincinnati, USA
42 Customizing the retail experience depending on the customer's past habits and preferences is nothing new for e-commerce websites. In fact, it's been a point of focus for many marketers the last few years. Startup company 42 aims to bring some of that tailored experience to brick and mortar stores. No, it's not going to be some James Bond rotating shelves when you walk by kind of deal -- instead, they give each customer a digital ID, perform analytics at the point of sale, then keep in touch post-sales, providing the clients with tailored communication that will be relevant to their buying habits (e.g. if they like to buy a specific brand of footwear, they'll likely get an email when the new collection from that brand hits the shelves). The idea is to give customers a more tailored experience with each consecutive trip to the store, making each further visit more efficient than the last.
Secured Funding: $15,000, Location: Toronto, Canada
AppArchitect Creating apps without laborious coding has become a booming category in the last year. AppArchitect is one of the newest entrants to the growing space, offering a web app that lets you build iOS apps using a simple drag-and-drop interface. Unlike many similar web-based services, AppArchitect doesn't tie users to templates, allowing them to design their own apps the way they see fit. While the current feature set could be a bit limited in scope, the platform itself is "fully extendable," with other developers able to implement feature requirements using plugins via SDK, so this could prove big if the right developers and users decide to embrace the service.
Secured Funding: $265,000, Location: Brooklyn, USA
Bidzy Want to get a tailored suit, but have no idea where in town you can get one? Take it to Bidzy. A new matching service, it's designed to pair up people who need a specific product or service with a merchant looking to sell it to them. Buyers post products they want, merchants bid on them, and Bidzy coordinates the transaction every step of the way, ensuring both parties get exactly what they bargain for.
Secured Funding: $70,000, Location: Reno, USA
Donay Open source programs are great, but the lack of support makes it a difficult choice for a lot of users. Donay is a service that looks to bridge the gap, allowing users willing to pay for fixes and features to compensate developers willing to help them. Basically, if you want a specialized export feature on that open-source word processor you're using that doesn't offer it, you can put a request on the site with an accompanying price. Developers can take you up on the offer, then receive the money via Paypal when the fix or feature is fulfilled. The system integrates with a number of popular bug-tracking systems, as well, to help the service monitor when the change is in place.
Secured Funding: $160,000, Location: Amersfoort, Netherlands
EatWith If you told me you like traveling halfway around the world to show up at the home of a person you met online to have dinner with them, then return home the next day, I'd probably call you weird. At EatWith, though, that's exactly what members of the community do. The idea is, instead of eating at restaurants during travels, why not experience a homecooked meal in someone's home? Users pay for the experience, of course (EatWith, we're assuming, takes a percentage for their income), essentially, allowing locals to turn their homes into temporary dining destinations for curious visitors looking to experience something new.
Secured Funding: $1.2 million, Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
Enigma Public data is a valuable thing, especially when you can find a way to combine them to show patterns, tendencies and otherwise make sense in some specialized context. That latter part is what Enigma aims to facilitate, offering users a search and discovery platform for publicly-available information, collecting, curating and establishing relationships among otherwise scattered and disorganized data.
Secured Funding: $1,095,000, Location: New York, United States
Floored When you search online for real estate to rent or buy, it's not uncommon to have tons of pictures that show the space. That's, pretty much, the best available way to give prospective buyers or tenants the ability to visualize what they can really do with a space. Floored takes this one step further by using 3D cameras to create interactive virtual worlds that allow users to play around with the space via software, letting them get a better feel of how it will feel like inside the space and what prospective changes they have in mind (like destroying a wall or adding a ledge) will turn out. Basically, they let you redo a space virtually, potentially changing how you shop for real estate space.
Secured Funding: $1 million, Location: New York, United States
Glider Working on contracts is an often messy and confusing affair, with lots of back and forth emails that go annoyingly deep. Glider is a service that seeks to streamline the process, allowing users to see their open contracts in a single, secure place where they can track any changes made, along with the accompanying accountabilities, and find out exactly any reasons for delay. Whether a department deals with sales contracts, non-disclosure agreements, partnerships or any other type of contract, Glider's system can handle the whole process, from getting approvals to collecting digital signatures to providing analytics for your process.
Secured Funding: $550,000, Location: Portland, United States
GradFly Kids today, they don't make 'em like they used to. At least, it seems that way when you see the kind of projects they produce in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). GradFly is a platform that allows students to share those projects with the world, with the intent of acting as a college recommendation service to help educational institutions discover promising students through their accomplishments.
Secured Funding: $10,000, Location: Buffalo, United States
Handle Productivity apps and services are big business these days. Handle is a new entrant in the category that bills itself as "the world's first priority engine," providing users a facility to quickly sort through their inbox to group emails by tasks and assign priorities to each of them.
Secured Funding: $4 million, Location: San Francisco, United States
HealthyOut Meal subscription services are a huge growth market, with more and more people opting to have healthy, hearty meals delivered instead of dealing with all the planning and preparation healthy eating involves. HealthyOut got their start offering an app that helped mobile users find restaurants and dishes based on their nutrition goals and have now decided to move into that growing field. To get a leg up on the various offerings in the market, they're attempting to better serve users by catering to more specific needs, such as Paleo diets, types of cuisine, and price ranges per meal for more customized deliveries.
Secured Funding: $1 million, Location: San Francisco, United States
KeenHome A home automation company, KeenHome produces the Keen Vent, a wirelessly-networked air vent designed to optimize the performance of a home's existing central heating and cooling system. Paired with a proprietary software that intelligently monitors existing conditions in the home, the vents will open and shut based on a customer's specific home layout, lifestyle and various other settings.
Secured Funding: $40,000, Location: New York, United States
Kloudless We use email to send files of all sorts as attachments. However, rarely will we want to keep those attachments strictly in our inboxes. Chances are, you'll want to download it to your hard drive or, as has been the norm these days, put it in one of the dozen or so web services you spend your days on. Kloudless is an Outlook plugin (if you're all about the desktop email client) and a browser plugin (for you Gmail users) that helps you do just that, letting you send email attachments to your accounts in different websites with nothing more than a couple of clicks.
Secured Funding: $888,888, Location: Berkeley, United States
KISI Billed as a "digital doorman," KISI is an electronic door lock that's intended to take the place of conventional lock-and-key systems, allowing you to use a smartpone to control the locks on your home. The electronic lock hardware pairs with a smartphone app, where you can lock and unlock the door, as well as share access to it from other people's phones.
Secured Funding: $90,000, Location: Munich, Germany
Meritful Colleges want the best students they can attract. However, there's rarely any guarantee that the students you want will end up joining the fold. Meritful is a Student Relationship Management (SRM) service aimed at college recruiters, allowing them to track, engage and build meaningful relationships with their stduent prospects.
Secured Funding: $20,000, Location: Ann Arbor, United States
NimbusBase With the limited space in mobile devices, many apps are opting to store user data on their own servers. Problem is, that's a costly operation that often requires app developers to charge extra for the feature. NimbusBase is an application backend that allows apps to save data onto a user's personal cloud (e.g. their Dropbox or Google Drive account), allowing developers to skip the process while giving users full control of their data (it's in their own account to do what they please).
Secured Funding: $25,000, Location: New York, United States
Ok'd by PaidPiper A service built around the secure messaging payment system called PaidPiper, Ok'd offers users a simple way to ask others to pay for their purchases. Basically, if you want to buy a product and don't have any money on you, all you have to do is open the Ok'd app, take a picture of the product and ask another Ok'd user (like your mom or your sugar mom) to pay it for you. If mom (or sugar mom) decides to buy you the thing, they just approve the transaction, which will then trigger a barcode and a one-time use number to be sent to your phone. The cashier can then simply scan the barcode or type the number into their system (it works as a single-use debit card) to close the sale.
Secured Funding: $1.2 million, Location: Burlingame, United States
Retrace Billed as “the best way to remember and organize everything about the meetings you have," Retrace is an iPhone app that integrates with your calendar, creating a shared workspace for different users to collect notes, photos and tasks. The idea is to allow access to the workspace to all members in the meeting, so you even if you miss certain items in your notes, others can fill in the gaps.
Secured Funding: $100,000, Location: Palo Alto, United States
Share Practice Share Practice is a knowledge base for doctors, aimed at providing a clinical reference that rank the most effective treatments for every diagnosis. Unlike most resources, though, it's intended as a collaborative service, allowing all doctors to publish their own findings, receive feedback from the community, and review other people's contributions. Availability is limited strictly for doctors.
Secured Funding: $500,000, Location: San Francisco, United States
Spacebar Can't make it to a show your favorite band is doing in the next city? Story of your life. If you'd still like to listen to the show as it happens, though, Spacebar can help by streaming live music from the event direct to your mobile device. You'll still have to pay for the privilege, of course, with the proceeds split a third each among the band, the venue and the streaming service.
Secured Funding: $325,000, Location: San Francisco, United States
Supplizer Running a business is no easy task and you need all the help you can get. Supplizer offers some of that, providing a cloud-based platform that helps users source products, manage suppliers and ship deliveries, essentially providing backend support, allowing you to focus on merchandising, sales and custom support.
Secured Funding: $3.25 million, Location: San Mateo, United States
SupplyShift Monitoring suppliers is an important activity for companies that source products from multiple suppliers. This is even more so for companies concerned about sustainability issues in their supply chains. SupplyShift seeks to help on that end, offering a web service that lets buyers analyze information about their suppliers, expand their sourcing options and, if needed, facilitate sustainability improvements for specific suppliers.
Secured Funding: $1, Location: Santa Cruz, United States
Talkz Messaging apps have become ubiquitous parts of our daily lives. Talkz is a new entrant to the game that brings one ace up its sleeve: it lets users combine both audio and text in every message. When composing a message, you can type, speak or both, with exactly what you wrote and said being sent to the recipient. The best part? It's available on every major smartphone platform.
Secured Funding: $250,000, Location: Newark, United States
Trustev Online ecommerce fraud is a big problem. Trustev offers to help prevent that using their proprietary social printing tech, which adds a layer of verification at the front end of the checkout process. To do that, it pre-qualifes potential customers by analyzing their social data from a wide variety of sources, along with transactional and behavioral information.
Secured Funding: $300,000, Location: Cork, Ireland
UQ Life UQ Life is a smart platform aimed at helping kids learn through collaborative games. Using concepts culled from neuroscience, behavioral motivation, and developmental science, it uses games to teach kids skills in specific areas such as math and science. More than just gaming, the platform integrates a closed social aspect, allowing parents, teachers and tutors to collaborate on games with the kids.
Secured Funding: $1.4 million, Location: San Francisco, United States
Workspot If it was up to companies, employees will use nothing but company-supplied computing devices; if it was up to employees, they'd use their own. Workspot offers a compromise, letting users access enterprise applications through a secure mobile app. That way, employees get to do work on their mobile devices, without compromising the company's security.
Secured Funding: $1.9 million, Location: Menlo Park, United States
Zenefits Managing the company's benefits, payroll and HR functions is often a time-consuming process. Offloading them to outside services is, of course, an option and Zenefits is one of those companies willing to oblige. Intended to function as a set-and-forget, they can handle all of your company's recruiting, benefits, payroll, and other needs all on their own, leaving your employees to focus on other activities.
Secured Funding: $372,000, Location: San Francisco, United States
Stay Tuned for more pics and winner announcement.