11 Startups Get Down to Business in TechStars’ Latest Boulder Class

Four startups from the Boulder/Denver area are among the 11 companies that will be part of this summer’s TechStars program in Boulder.

TechStars announced the members of the class this morning on its blog. The program begins today. The founders of the startups will work in Boulder to improve their business plans, refine their products, learn from mentors, and meet with potential investors. The accelerator program culminates in a demonstration day in early August.

Since graduating its first class in 2007, TechStars has become a key part of Boulder’s startup scene. TechStars alums include SendGrid, which has raised $27.35 million, FullContact, which has raised $8.85 million, and Orbotix, which has raised about $15 million.

TechStars itself has spread to multiple cities, including London, and collectively TechStars startups have raised more than $326 million. TechStars’ co-founder and CEO David Cohen is an Xconomist.

About 1,000 companies applied to be in this year’s class, said Luke Beatty, the first-year managing director for TechStars Boulder. Among the selected startups is a firm from Paris.

The four local startups are Prediculous, Elihuu, and BrandFolder, which are all based in Denver, and Given Goods, which is located in Boulder.

Prediculous develops sports games for social media that are geared toward “casual fans,” co-founder Taylor McLemore said. He describes that segment as fans who are not willing to join fantasy sports leagues but would like to compete against friends over the course of an event like the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

For this year’s tournament, Prediculous created the CourtMania app for Burger King. It allowed players to pick the winners of games and compete against friends and celebrities, including Snoop Dogg. McLemore said the company will focus on mobile platforms and has a partnership to develop an app for an award show on the BET network.

Elihuu is trying to become the matchmaker designers will use to find manufacturers when it’s time to start making their products for consumers, founder and CEO Dorian Ferlauto said.

An ideal user would be someone who has developed a successful project for Kickstarter and needs to deliver it, Ferlauto said. Elihuu gives them a place to upload project designs and CAD drawings. It then will find manufacturers who could build the product or components of the product. They’ll send quotes to the designer, and the project will be on its way.

Ferlauto believes Elihuu can capitalize on two trends that have the potential to converge. One is the return of manufacturers to the U.S. The other is the rise of sites like Kickstarter that allow designers to take small projects to a scale that requires more advanced production skills.

Brandfolder is a site that helps companies create branding and marketing materials such as logos and media kits. The site stores the material and allows the companies and ad agencies easy access to the material, which could simplify how promotional campaigns are created and run.

Given Goods is an online marketplace selling apparel, accessories, and home goods from companies committed to social change, such as improving health or the environment. Given Goods’ site has been up and running since last year.

The other companies are:

LeChat, which is developing chat tools for distributed teams and enterprises.

Hull.io, which is making tools developers can use to add social features to apps faster and more easily than they can now.

SnowShoe, which is developing a small piece of hardware the company calls a stamp that interact with a touchscreen device like an iPad to authenticate mobile transactions.

AdsNative, a company that creates ads that look like a site’s native content and are integrated into the site.

GoodApril, a site that offers free online tax planning software that can be used year round to predict and lower a user’s tax bill.

Shopventory, which is developing software users of mobile payment platforms like Square can use to manage inventory and gather business intelligence.

Augur, which helps mobile app and Web designers tailor the experience to each user.

Each startup receives $18,000 in seed funding and resources like office and server space in exchange for six percent equity. The startups also can take a $100,000 convertible note.

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