Investors Impressed with StartFast 2015 Companies

@KathrynCartini #SharingStories for Upstate Venture Connect

Handpicked from more than 2,000 applicants, five high-growth startups were well prepared as they pitched to a room full of venture capitalists and angel investors at StartFast Demo Day 2015.

Startfast is an investor backed accelerator program that selects promising entrepreneurs from around the world for three months of coaching, mentoring and business development in Syracuse, N.Y.

The program’s goal isScreen Shot 2015-08-05 at 10.28.41 AM to help its companies make a year’s progress in three months. This year StartFast moved into the Madden School of Business at LeMoyne College where the five teams worked alongside thirteen interns recruited from colleges across Upstate NY.

“This was the fourth StartFast Demo Day and it was amazing to see the diversity of investors and mentors assembled from across the state and even from the West Coast.” said StartFast Cofounder and investor, Martin Babinec.

As a mentor-driven, private capital backed program modeled after the successful TechStars accelerator, StartFast provides early funding for high-potential startup teams. Led by Nasir Ali andChuck Stormon, two Syracuse-based serial entrepreneurs and angel investors, participating companies receive up to $25,000 in seed funding. StartFast investors include members of the Seed Capital Fund of CNY, Cayuga Venture Fund and other Upstate angel investors.

[CrunchBase] Startfast Venture Accelerator Seed Investments

Mogee Founder Shuai PayneThis year five startups encompassing the latest in Internet and mobile technologies made up the most impressive class to date, turning ideas, such as roof inspections using aerial drones and smart cooking pans, into companies primed to change the world.

According to Nasir Ali, “This year’s demo day was a success in every way. The teams were well prepared and the audience of investors and supporters cheered every accomplishment.”

[Photo Gallery] StartFast 2015 Demo Day 

As a culmination to the intensive 100-day accelerator, each startup shared their successes and plans for the future at StartFast Demo Day 2015, held at WCNY Studios in Syracuse. Here are the latest updates from the businesses:

Electronic Gaming FederationElectronic Gaming Federation (EGF)
Founding Team: Tyler Schrodt; Rockie Hunter
Website | Facebook | Twitter
EGF is an electronic sports company working towards an NCAA equivalent for competitive gaming, including titles such as League of Legends, Dota 2 and Starcraft. The company also produces live eSport broadcasts highlighting events, sports and gaming analysis. Over the last three months, EGF surpassed 1,000 players and chartered relationships with college chapters including Cornell, LeMoyne, ASU, BU and Georgia Southern. “What always stuck with me is the spirit of playing, and just as I’ve grown up, today’s video games have too, evolving into an industry that grows at more than 40% annually,” said Schrodt.

HoverStatHoverStat
Founding Team: Leanne Eckelberg; Mark Sapp
Website | Facebook | Twitter
Targeting the $2 Billion solar industry, HoverStat uses smart drones to assess roofs for solar panel placement. By deploying drones, the company collects aerial video that is processed into full reports, including roof measurement diagrams that detail obstructions, damage and shading assessments. “We just signed out first solar customer and this is just the beginning,” said Eckelberg. “We will be the go-to solution for structural management.” No longer does a solar tech have to risk injury getting up on a roof.

SmartyPansSmartyPans
Founding Team: Prachi Baxi; Rahul Baxi
Website | Facebook | Twitter
A modern day cooking system, including a smart cooking pan and free recipe app that interact with each other via Bluetooth, SmartyPans provides live cooking feedback to the user. After selecting a recipe, the user literally speaks to the pan, telling it what ingredients to add. The app then calculates the nutritional information in real-time, and integrates with other nutrition and fitness trackers like MyFitness and FitBit. “Even if you write down everything you eat, you still need to automate caloric tracking,” said Prachi Baxi. “We need a FitBit for food, and that’s how SmartyPans was formed.” Over the last three months, SmartyPans wrapped up the final feature of their new voice based app, which now queries the live USDA database. Jim Joseph, Dean of the Madden School of Business at LeMoyne College, was also selected as a Board Member. Consumers can reserve their limited edition signature pan here.

Mogee AppMogee
Founding Team: Shuai Payne; Michael Moore
Website | Facebook | Twitter
Reshaping the future of messaging, Mogee lets users send fun, animated Emojis in messages. This allows for communication that evolves beyond words. A 3rd party keyboard works with existing messengers like iMessage and Google Hangouts. Users can also build a personalized Mogee library through the Mogee Pack Store, which will feature content from independent illustrators and brands. “Mogee is the Amazon.com of 3rd party keyboards, entering a $46 Billion market,” said Payne. Download the latest version of Mogee here, and check out the custom animations made for LeMoyne, and several other colleges.

BitReadyBitReady
Founding Team: Patrick Kelly; Michael Young
Website | Facebook | Twitter
Cash for the Internet, BitReady is a platform that simplifies BitCoin for the average consumer by allowing users to connect their bank accounts and instantly spend money as Bitcoin. This process bypasses the need to understand the BitCoin technology in order to use it, saving consumers time. Plus, unlike credit cards, no payment information is attached to BitCoin transactions, which helps secure customers’ payments. With product development now complete, the platform has launched in Montana, New Mexico and South Carolina, with New York and New Jersey next in line. “We are also proud to announce that BitReady will be moving its headquarters to Syracuse, having just signed the lease!” said Kelly.

Now it’s your chance to Get Focused, Get Feedback and Get Funded! StartFast’s managing directors are scouting for the class of 2016. Connect with them here.

Topics: Technology, Mobile Apps, Entrepreneurs, Startups