Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Meet AngelPad's Freshly Incubated Batch of Start-ups

AngelPad, the start-up accelerator program founded and run by former Googlers, held its second Demo Day today, debuting 13 young companies to investors and the press at its office in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood.

Half of the participants in the 10-week program had a “strong mobile focus,” said AngelPad ringleader Thomas Korte. They included a dating site founded by a woman (!), four lead-generation companies, and various tools to help developers make mashups, make games social, and track customer problems.

AngelPad’s inaugural class last fall was plucked through Korte’s contacts, whereas this group was chosen from about 800 applications, Korte said.

Many AngelPad participants formerly worked at Google and YouTube, though other credentials of the current class include stints at companies like Pandora, Palantir, Microsoft, Intuit, KickApps and Electronic Arts. As compared to zero last time, there are three female co-founders in this bunch.

The class even includes one former participant in rival South Bay start-up accelerator Y Combinator. Andrew Levy of Crittercism, which helps mobile app developers get feedback and crash reports, told NetworkEffect he appreciated the attention he got from AngelPad’s five mentors, as compared to his time at Y Combinator in 2009, when 25 start-ups shared one Paul Graham (Y Combinator has since brought on additional partners).

Many investors and start-up founders had Y Combinator on the brain, as it had its Demo Day last week. Julius Schorzman, founder of Shopobot, a product comparison tool, noted that his class had enrolled in AngelPad before learning that all Y Combinator companies would be offered $150,000 in convertible debt from the Start Fund. But he quickly added, “it’s not like fundraising has been challenging.”

About half of the companies said they already have customers signed up, with a few of them already generating revenue.

Thomas Korte

Asked to name their favorites, investors’ picks were spread quite evenly. A couple companies mentioned often were LocBox, a one-man shop that has already launched an iPad CRM app for local merchants, and Stickery, which makes learning games for preschool kids.

Samir Gupte, an associate at Comcast Interactive Capital, commented to NetworkEffect that he thought the scale of ideas at AngelPad tended to be smaller than those at Y Combinator, where last week’s demos included multiple technology and infrastructure plays.

Andrea Zurek of XG Ventures remarked that all the accelerator programs seem to be getting bigger over time, saying that she liked her options.

As for AngelPad’s track record so far, out of its first class of eight start-ups launched last November, six have raised funding, and two have shut down. Korte said many of the companies had raised venture rather than angel rounds, which is kind of interesting given his organization’s name.

Multiple people told me mobile ad service company MoPub and stealthy e-commerce company Adku seem to be the most promising from the first cohort, which was the same answer I got when they first debuted last year.

Here are the presenters’ one- or two-sentence descriptions of themselves.

Shopobot helps users with purchase decisions by leveraging experts in a user’s social graph and analyzing price volatility.

Astrid is a productivity platform for social and business groups with web, iOS and Android interfaces. It counts 1.7M downloads on Android (so far!).

Hopscotch is a mobile QR reader application providing users personalized and highly relevant information based on location and social connections.

Cloudbot is the command line for all cloud connected services a user has–providing a mobile and web application that makes it easy to access and control information scattered across different Web services.

Kismet is a mobile dating application that uses photos, visited loations and the social graph to tell a user’s story.

Splash is a plug-in module for mobile games, helping developers increase engagement and users discover new casual games.

Crittercism monitors mobile apps, providing developers with actionable crash reports and support request tools within apps.

Stickery is an iOS-based learning and game platform for preschool kids that ranked #1 in the app store for education apps, only 3 weeks after launch (with 70,000 downloads so far).

LocBox is an iPad-based CRM application and lead exchange platform for local merchants.

CompanyLine is a communication and productivity platform for business groups.

Feedgen is a sales lead management platform that enhances the quality of leads by leveraging social profiles and ranking technology.

Coverhound helps consumers choose the right insurance coverage by providing useful information and accurate comparison quotes without selling consumer data to multiple lead buyers.

Secondleap is a vertical search engine helping users to research career changes and providing personalized information about job prospects, salary outlook and schools options.


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