Jumpstart Foundry culminated its 2014 business accelerator with the program's annual Investor Day Thursday, and alongside nine entrepreneurial pitches came a big announcement about the incubator's model.
Cofounder and managing director Marcus Whitney told an audience of entrepreneurs and investors that starting next year, Jumpstart will increase its investment per team to $100,000, a notable increase from $15,000 for the five previous classes. Additionally, the accelerator will now run year-round, as opposed to the 14-week summer program.
"We have a responsibility to maintain our position as the best accelerator in the Southeast," Whitney said.
Whitney said Jumpstart was following the lead of other major accelerators like Y Combinator and TechStars, which have each upped their seed funding to $120,000 and $118,000 per team, respectively.
"In offering a larger investment, I think we'll be able to attract more talented startups, more promising teams," said Vic Gatto, Jumpstart CEO. "We can attract teams from around the country to move to Nashville and do their startup here. And certainly, they'll have more capital to grow."
In discussing the 2014 class earlier this week, Gatto said that after five years, the accelerator was ready to take on bigger and more difficult challenges. The nine teams featured several physical product and software hybrids, a model in which Gatto said he saw a lot of opportunity.
To an audience comprising some of Nashville's most innovative entrepreneurial players and partnerships, the following teams pitched their startups.
Spotwise — James Crater, CEO
As a surface parking management platform, Spotwise improves efficiency and revenue for parking managers via data collected by smart cameras. Spotwise has already partnered with local parking company, Premiere Parking. The company is seeking $350,000 in investment funds to further develop products and marketing.
Octovis — Ryan Macy, CEO
Using smart devices like watches and Google Glass, Octovis provides workflow optimization and data to clinicians and medical professionals. By integrating data across many systems and providing it at the point of care, the company seeks to untether doctors from their computers and improve patient care. The company is seeking investments totaling $750,000 to cover capital expenses, patenting and sales and operations.
Aloncii — Ashley Parkes, CEO
Using 3D scanning technology, Aloncii allows consumers to create customized footwear. Consumers can pick their design and have it built to their exact measurements. Aloncii is seeking $200,000 in investments for product development.
Applyance — John Reagan Moore
An application engine for the restaurant industry, Applyance provides a simple system for managers to find and hire employees. Under a subscription model, Applyance says their product optimizes restaurant staffing. The company is seeking $250,000 for product development and sales and marketing.
PinPtr — Will Hedgecock, CEO
Pronounced "pinpointer," PinPtr is a hyper-accurate GPS system. Like the thousands of applications and companies that sprang up after the commercialization of GPS technology, Hedgecock says their system can be the underlying platform for another wave of improved localization technology. PinPtr is asking for $1.4 million in investment funds for business development hiring, sales and marketing and inventory.
Arrister — Andy Chick, CEO
An online marketplace for customized furnishings, Arrister's team says they want to be the "Warby Parker" of furniture. The company is starting small to build their customer base, but is planning a Kickstarter campaign for their first furniture line, and all products are built in Nashville. Arrister is seeking $350,000 in investment capital for labor and manufacturing costs.
Skill Spectrum — Jim Devine, CEO
Skill Spectrum connects students with companies for internships and other opportunities. By improving the internship hiring process, Devine says their platform improves employment odds for students while keeping companies lean and efficient. The company is seeking $200,000 in investment funding.
Boomalang — Chris Gerding, CEO
A language exchange platform, Boomalang connects native speakers to language learners to improve speaking fluency. The company wants to partner with academic institutions first before moving onto global corporation partnerships. Boomalang is asking for $200,000 in investment funding.
Healthcare MarketMaker — Tony Corley, CEO
Billed as the "Zillow" for physician practices, Healthcare MarketMaker is a tool that assists physicians in valuing their practices when they want to buy or sell and also facilitates the brokerage. The company is seeking investments totaling $575,000.
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