Gener8tor Demos Latest Startups, Growth of Local Scene
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the late 1800s and the “war of currents” between Thomas Edison, an advocate of a direct current (DC) power network, and Nikola Tesla, an alternating current (AC) proponent. “Edison was ultimately right in this discussion, but the technology and the capacity was not there to harvest DC currents” at the time, Edison DC Systems co-founder and president John Meinecke explained. Today, computer microprocessors need DC power, but they’re fed from an AC power system. Meinecke’s company has developed a patent-pending, modular AC to DC converter that delivers power more efficiently to IT server equipment, a solution that he says could save data center operators like Rackspace—which racked up a $27 million electricity bill last year—millions of dollars over time. Edison DC Systems has drawn interest from the likes of Facebook, Microsoft, and Goldman Sachs, Meinecke said.
—LivBlends wants to be the “Keurig machine for smoothies.” Co-founder Matthew Udomphol, an MIT grad and robotics whiz, says the startup has created a healthy and convenient option for the on-the-go professional looking for an alternative to Jamba Juice, Naked Juice, or the sugary snacks often found in office pantries. Making a smoothie from scratch can take 20 minutes, but LivBlends cuts that to 30 seconds with its patent-pending smart blender and a single-serve cup pre-packaged with fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. Insert the “LivPod” into the “LivBase,” press a button, and voila. LivBlends is focusing on selling to offices before it goes directly to consumers, and it is currently delivering 1,000 smoothies per week to seven offices in San Francisco, Udomphol said.
—Most men want to look as suave as actor Bradley Cooper, but their effort level and fashion sense often leaves them looking like Zach Galifianakis with his satchel and tucked-in T-shirt in “The Hangover,” said Derian Baugh. That’s where Baugh’s Des Moines, IA-based company, Men’s Style Lab, comes in. Men sign up on the company’s website and answer a series of questions to determine their “style DNA,” then pay up front for a package of clothing, shoes, and accessories ranging from $250 to $1,750. The box is shipped to the customer for free, and he can keep what he wants and send back what he doesn’t. Men’s Style Lab has more than 30 brands in its repertoire, including Fossil, Levi’s, and Steve Madden. It has more than 200 customers and has generated more than $90,000 in sales in the past three months. Baugh acknowledged that Men’s Style Lab has plenty of competitors, including Chicago-based Trunk Club. But where Trunk Club goes after higher-end consumers, Men’s Style Lab is selling less expensive clothing to a larger target market of “everyday guys,” Baugh said.
—Review Trackers founder and CEO Chris Campbell opened his pitch with a photo of a sign outside a New York City restaurant that had a message written in chalk: “Come in and try the worst meatball sandwich that one guy on Yelp ever had in his life.” The restaurant made light of a bad review, but it’s no joke for businesses: studies have linked a Yelp rating that decreases by one star to a 5 to 9 percent loss in revenue, Campbell said. His Chicago-based company has created an online platform that helps customers monitor and better understand the thousands of reviews and comments about their businesses floating around the Web. Review Trackers is on pace this year to sign up businesses that collectively have more than 20,000 locations, including major brands like Chili’s, Subaru, and Universal Orlando Resort.