German startups MeteoViva, Minodes, Brandnew seek traction, funding in US

german chancellor dirk kanngiesser

By Dennis Clemente

While gaining traction is crucial in the US market, it’s also where German startups can get funding to scale their businesses globally

NEW YORK–The presenters at the German Accelerator at Rise last March 22 had one thing in mind. They know the US market is big. While gaining traction is crucial in the US market, it’s also where they know they can get funding to scale their businesses globally.

German startups MeteoViva, Minodes and Brandnew presented their startups to a panel of venture capitalists–Urs Cete, managing partner at BDMI; Ulrich Quay, head at BMW Ventures; Alicia Syrett, founder and CEO at Pantegrion Capital; and  Anton Waltz, managing director of US Digital Ventures.  

meteovivaMeteoViva helps the customers save 15 to 40 percent of energy costs in corporate buildings with its unique Saas solution. Its technology is reportedly based on a patented computer simulation model and was developed at RWTH Aachen University (Germany’s MIT).

It essentially predicts how much heating and cooling a building to maintain the desired climate at the lowest cost. It can reportedly be used in any building–factories, office buildings, shopping centers.

For retail analytics, Minodes offers insights into visitors’ in-store shopping behavior using Wi-Fi sensors it puts on stores. Data is viewable in its dashboard and in customizable email reports. Additional and more granular reports are provided depending on business requirements

As it optimizes in-store customer pathways, Minodes also offers omnichannel retargeting and beacon campaigns. For instance, it retargets offline store visitors through Facebook Google Apps. Now in 12 countries, it is in the United States to gain traction and get better valuation.

simple process Offering itself as influencer marketing in its presentation, Brandnew  connects brands with influential users on Instagram. It hopes to address the 3 key frustrations for brands and agencies–scalability, targeting and analytics–through its Saas service, either on subscription or six-month basis. Rates are about $20,000 depending on campaign.

A VC said it needs a “one money-shot sentence” for better positioning.

Dirk Kannigiesser, CEO of the German Accelerator in Silicon Valley, was in attendance to present the startups and VCs along with CleanTech, Berlin’s largest industrial park, which is optimally aligned to the requirements of productive-driven companies.

Mass 3D production, cinematic VR and hoverboards at Hardwired

NEW YORK–Last March 9, Hardwired NYC featured  Jonathan Schwartz

founder & CPO, Voodoo Manufacturing; Yuval Boger, CEO of Sensics, Cyril Ebersweiler, founder and managing director of HAX and Jens Christensen, founder & CEO of Jaunt VR.

http://www.meetup.com/Hardwired-NYC/events/228778453/

It’s not often you hear presenters talk about insights into an industry, so it was good to hear  Schwartz discuss why interest in 3D printing went down a few years ago. As observed, 3D consumer printing did not become the hit it was expected to be. This has given Voodoo Manufacturing a big opportunity to market itself as 3D mass producers.

In mass production, 3D printing can be more affordable and easily scalable, providing high quality and reliability in the long haul.

Schwartz said Voodoo Manufacturing makes it easy for any company to work with them. Sending a 3D file is reportedly a cinch. It then goes through a process of validation, repair (if needed), orientation, plating and slicing.

Boger talked about Sensics and how it creates cutting-edge VR products, advancing choice and innovation alongside a community of contributors and partners.

Still dreaming of the ultimate hoverboard? You’re not alone. So far, we have the hoverboard, the Segway, the Segway with knee steering, the one-wheeled platform, the one-wheeled skateboard and the electric skateboard. Ebersweiler of HAX sees more morphing happening in hoverboards in 2016.

Ebersweiler of HAX is the man to talk to if you want to know where the hoverboard craze is going. HAX’s factories in China builds hoverboards along with products for the lifestyle, health and robotics industries. Started in China four year years ago, HAX now has offices in New York and San Francisco.

Inventing is only half the battle, of course, as protecting and commercializing it is the main challenge.

Also at the Hardwired meetup was Christensen who talked about Jaunt VR, which is pioneering the future of creative storytelling through cinematic virtual reality.  

The end-to-end VR company creates cameras and VR tech Through its Jaunt Studios division, it works with brands that want to be involved with good stories.

Founded in 2013, Jaunt also develops the hardware, software, tools, and applications to enable cinematic VR.Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, the company also maintains a presence in Los Angeles and produces branded and original VR content for audiences worldwide.

Growing produce at home, managing diabetes everywhere

NEW YORK–Last December 1, Hardware Meetup featured talks from the founders of Grove, OneDrop and Boxee at the Microsoft offices.

http://www.meetup.com/NY-Hardware-Start-up/events/226827945/

Gabe Blanchet, CEO of Grove, showed how food lovers can grow food at home while–get this–fish swims below it. Yes, even it will fit in a cramped New York apartment  .

Imagine an aquarium but with plants growing on top of it. But why fish? The fish process the food they are fed and produce ammonia-rich waste. Beneficial microbes convert the ammonia to nitrates (organic plant fertilizer), simultaneously supplying the plants with nutrients and the fish with clean water. No need for cleaning your tank.

Blanchet recounts how in its early adopter program, he and his team had 50 prototypes before they developed its current iteration,which was made from the startup’s own manufacturing facility, quite an ambitious project and the work shows. Grove even helps you from start to finish the way you it provides you the seeds, fish to add to your tank, and measure the health of your system. You can grow leafy greens, herbs and fruiting crops.

As of last December 1, Grove has already surpassed its targeted $100,000-Kickstarter crowdfunding goal with over $300,000.

Jeff Dachis of OneDrop Today came from the world of digital advertising, the hugely popular Razorfish but switched to designing a USB-like diabetic management device that come in eye-candy colors.    

Dachis said 30 million Americans suffer diabetes and 5 million of them die every year. He hopes to empower 500M people with diabetes with the merging of both software (allowing diabetics to record experiences in restaurants to share with other diabetics) and hardware (giving them an device that makes it easy for them to live their life with the disease).

The default posting feature in its app is public because it wants to foster community-building and allow everyone to share personal behavior-based insights. Dachis is trying to switch mindsets and make managing the disease less intimidating for diabetics. Even the app allows for a personal stream of likes and stickers.

Idan Cohen, cofounder of Boxee before smart TVs were all the rage, talked about how his company got acquired by Samsung. He’s one of the few hardware startup veterans in New York.

Korea’s Samsung reportedly agreed to pay about $30 million for his company. Boxee developed an interface which allows users to record and store content in the Cloud, providing easier access to Internet video content than other applications.

Could he have kept going with Boxee for 7 years that he was running it?  He paused and thought it over before saying yes. It’s hard to give up your baby, after all.

“You have to deal with hardware, retail, distribution and a lot of other things,” he said.

What preoccupies him these days is close to what Grove is doing–growing produce.

Dog Parker, State of Place lend new meaning to hyperlocal service

NEW YORK–Last November 9, Coinvent held a whole-day tech startup fair with several startups and inspirational talks at the Metropolitan Avenue in Chelsea.

http://pulse.coinvent.co/ny15

Dog Parker was one of the most popular startups as it showed a “doghouse” that provides secure dog parking when you’re out and about in the city with your dog and you need to run an errand. Dog Parker partners with businesses to place Dog Parkers in front their stores.  

Launched in Brooklyn in October 2015, the plan is to expand to the rest of New York and then to as many cities. This service will be offered to members only. Dog owners must sign up online at www.dogparker.com/membership to get an access card to use Dog Parker.

Annual memberships cost $25 per dog. Once approved, a membership card will be mailed to you and allow you to access the network of Dog Parkers. Membership works similarly to ZipCar and Car2Go if you have used those services before.

But how long can you park a dog? Dog Parkers have a maximum time limit of three hours per 12-hour time period. The price is $0.20 per minute ($12 an hour). Membership is an annual fee of $25.

Each Dog Parker is reportedly cleaned by a Dog Parker sanitation crew on a scheduled weekly basis and then as-needed if there are any specific issues. Sanitation wipes are available to users at each location to anyone who may want to use them in addition to its sanitation system.

Each Dog Parker aims to keep the temperature inside comfortable for the dog in both the summer and winter. In the summer it plans to have solar-powered fans for air circulation.  On extreme temperature days where the temperature inside the Dog Parker goes below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above 85 degrees, it will not be available for use.

Complementing Dog Parker’s business model somehow is State of Place. Founder Mariela Alfonso said it aims to harness the power of predictive urban data analytics to not only enhance the public good, but also to maximize economic development and engage the community.

State of Place quantifies walkability of existing neighborhoods; identifies built environment assets and needs; prioritize built environment changes with maximum impact on walkability and economic development; forecast the walkability impact of planning scenarios & development proposals; objectively compare planning scenarios & development proposals based on their walkability potential and measure the walkability impact of planning, urban design, and development projects post-implementation.

The benefits is predicted to help provide data–driven evidence of walkable development opportunities; economically justify urban design “asks” of developers; maximize resource allocation and get the biggest bang for your walkability buck; establish an evidence-based RFP process; foster community engagement; turn your planning team into walkability experts and tap into State of Place’s walkability thought-leadership.

State of Place also allows developers, investors, and brokers to leverage the pent-up demand for walkable places while also facilitating stakeholder buy-in by quantifying how delivering walkability is more than just a social good.

For communities, it offers a comprehensive diagnosis of their built environment assets and needs that can be benchmarked against other communities. It serves as an advocacy tool to more effectively justify changes to existing policies, garner developer support, and target key design interventions.

In the talk-workshop portion of the event, Coinvent delved on several diverse subjects ranging from building a world-class startup and the future of phone services to selling your company and hyperlocal marketing.

Female founders tip: Never judge an investor by his loud snore

By Dennis Clemente

NEW YORK– Female founders at the Orrick meetup last October 5  found out one thing: You can never judge investors by their snore volume or constant phone use.  Why? They invested in their startups.

The female founders of Wayup, F Cubed, Manicube, getringly and ELOQUII had those stories to share at the Orrick meetup.

“They probably just had a long day, or were just too busy,” two of the women said. An Duggal, Liz Wessel, Katina Mountanos and Mariah Chase were the panelists who shared their experience as a startup and how they have pitched, wooed and won over investors last October 5 at  Orrick’s offices.

Among the tips they shared with the audience in this law office at the CBS Building were:

  • Nothing will happen unless you talk about it
    Prototype and make it better
    Hire senior as much as possible, not by seniority but those who doesn’t mind rolling down their sleeves to do the dirty work
    Give them two decks — one brief one via email and a comprehensive one, for VCs to use and share with their partners
    Prepare to paint a really audacious goal even if you want to be authentic
    Expect to have coffee meetings with them

WayUp (formerly Campus Job) is a startup that connects college students with local job opportunities. Launched last September 2014, it’s founded by Liz Wessel and JJ Fligelman. In April, the company raised a $7.8 million Series A round. It has reportedly signed up over 5,000 companies and thousands of student users.

The name change was crucial to the success of its business, because Campus Job sounded like it was offering jobs inside a campus only. The site is free for students.

The Female Founders Fund or F Cubed headed by Anu Duggal is a venture capital fund for women to address the paltry number of funds that startups with a female founder or CEO has received. A research study pointed out that only 2.7 percent of US companies receive venture capital funding from 2011 to 2013.

Katina Mountanous of Manicube talked about Manicube, her house call and even — get this — in-office manicure service (if your employer is okay with it) available in cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. She co-founded it with Liz Whitman.

Ringly is working on building the future of wearable technology and connected devices like jewelries.

ELOQII, headed by Chase, is a plus-size fashion brand with a difference. It offers sophisticated outfits for women who can’t find their size.