The Philadelphia Dorm Room Fund is excited to announce our newest investment in ZenKars, an online retailer of used cars! On the supply side, ZenKars partners with commercial sellers, like fleet management companies and banks, to offer their used cars directly to consumers, bypassing auto-auctions and dealers. On the demand side, ZenKars offers a hassle-free online buying experience with detailed information about the cars, as well as related products like warranties.
Co-founders Jim Chabas and Venkat Jonnala met as roommates during their first year as MBAs at the Wharton School. Leveraging Venkat’s past experience with automotive remarketing at Boston Consulting Group, Jim’s entrepreneurial background, and input from Wharton alumni who worked in the car industry, they arrived at an idea. By rethinking the value chain in the used car market, they discovered an opportunity to sidestep middlemen and therefore offer end consumers lower pricing for used cars. ZenKars was born!
DreamIt Ventures, Startl, and Comcast Ventures partner to immerse 65 entrepreneurs in the New York City entrepreneurial community; while providing working space, resources, and a communal atmosphere for three months in Manhattan.
NEW YORK CITY – MAY 10, 2013 – DreamIt Ventures, Startl, and Comcast Ventures today announced the 16 startup companies selected to participate in the DreamIt New York 2013 accelerator program. The Summer 2013 class will enter an intense, three-month bootcamp, beginning Monday, May 13, to rapidly advance their innovative solutions and business models to market. DreamIt New York will be hosting a Kickoff Weekend Reception for the New York City entrepreneurial community at Google on Friday, May 10, 2013 at 6 p.m. to welcome the 16 companies and celebrate the program launch.
The DreamIt New York 2013 program is a collaboration between DreamIt Ventures, Startl, and Comcast Ventures. In addition to the traditional accelerator model, this year’s summer experience includes a specialty track for education technology companies in conjunction with Startl. Once again, DreamIt Israel’s program returns with a strong group of Israeli-based startups. Lastly, for the fourth time in two years, the DreamIt Access program will include five minority-led startups sponsored by Comcast Ventures, the venture capital affiliate of Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and an investor in the DreamIt Access program.
DreamIt Ventures, DreamIt Israel, Startl, and Comcast Ventures selected the 16 participating companies based on the strength of their founders and their entrepreneurial passion, and the level of innovation in their products or services. Each startup will receive a stipend of up to $25,000. During the three-month boot camp, they will receive in-depth mentoring and coaching from experienced entrepreneurs and industry thought leaders. Additionally, the companies will be provided workspace in Manhattan and have an opportunity to test their business models with potential customers.
“We’re really excited to welcome this incredibly diverse group of companies to DreamIt NYC,” said Mark Wachen, Managing Director, DreamIt New York. “The competition this year was unprecedented, and the talent level of the entrepreneurs in this year’s program is extraordinary.”
In DreamIt style, the startups accepted to participate are comprised of world-class entrepreneurs. In total, 65 entrepreneurs will participate in the summer cycle. The companies include students and alumni from top institutions, including: Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kellogg School of Management, University of Southern California, Tel Aviv University, and Northwestern University. The class is filled with team members from leading companies like Facebook, Hulu, NBC Universal, Channel Production Films, DoubleClick, Clear Channel Malls, and Ignite NYC.
The 16 selected companies are:
Callida Energy: Smart building SaaS solution for commercial facilities.
CreatorUp: The Online Web Series School: Learn from top web video experts how to create and market your own videos on the web.
GamePress: GamePress lets you create, share, and play mobile games on your iPad. With GamePress you don’t need to know any programming, or have graphics design skills.
Glassboard: Glassboard is the collaboration network for research and development.
HeyKiki: Aggregation platform for the education space (Kayak for class/activity searches).
Instrumagic: Creates super friendly magical musical instruments on mobile devices
License Buddy: Platform to help licensed professionals to meet continuing education requirements.
Mimoona: Mimoona enables any website to integrate a fully featured crowdfunding platform into their site in less than 30 minutes
Miner: The easy way to deliver highly-contextual mobile content to people that are physically present at any location.
Perkle: an online community that connects consumers, businesses and charities, and rewards them all with great perks for helping each other.
Serviceful: Maids Radar makes it easy to find which House Cleaning Companies are available to clean your house today, without the call or search.
Stylr Inc.: Window shop your favorite clothing stores right from your iPhone. With Stylr you know what is in stock before you go to the store.
TouchBase: Business cards you can tap on any smartphone to download their content immediately and accurately – no camera, no NFC, and no QR codes required.
Trippin’ In: an unique “Engagement meter” for places and sites, measuring the real social pulse of local businesses.
WeDidIt: a web platform and mobile app for nonprofit fundraising.
wireLawyer: LinkedIn for lawyers; creating the largest virtual law practice in the world and improving social advocacy.
The program is located in Manhattan at 555 8th Avenue (between 37th and 38th streets) and runs through August 16, 2013. Demo Day, an invite-only event for investors and media, will be Wednesday, August 7, 2013 in New York City.
Supporting partners of DreamIt New York include marquee sponsors: MorganLewis, EisnerAmper, and LaunchSquad. Additional support from law firm silver sponsors, include: Cooley, Dentons, Schnader Harrison Segal and Lewis, and Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe.
ABOUT DREAMIT VENTURES
DreamIt Ventures is a pre-seed stage venture firm, with the goal of helping great people with great ideas build great companies. DreamIt provides the aspiring entrepreneurs that it selects with pre-seed funding, services from leading law firms and accounting firms, mentoring from seasoned entrepreneurs, access to capital, and a creative, rigorous environment to bring innovative business ideas to market. DreamIt was founded in 2008 by three successful technology entrepreneurs who want to create the same type of opportunities that they were fortunate to have had themselves for the next wave of entrepreneurs. Since kicking off in Philadelphia DreamIt has expanded to Austin, New York, and Israel; been named the third best accelerator program in the world by Forbes Magazine; and launched 102 companies with an enterprise value greater than $345M. More information about DreamIt Ventures is available online at www.DreamItVentures.com or via email at email@example.com.
ABOUT DREAMIT ISRAEL
DreamIt Israel (www.dreamitventures.com/Israel) is a unique program for Israeli startups to open the US and global markets. DreamIt Israel is a four month program with the first month in Israel followed by three months in DreamIt NY where Israeli startups work alongside US and international startups.
ABOUT COMCAST VENTURES
Comcast Ventures (www.comcastventures.com) is the venture capital affiliate of Comcast Corporation. Comcast Ventures invests in innovative businesses that represent the next generation of digital, entertainment, media, social, e-commerceand advertising technologies that will change the way people live, work and interact. Comcast Ventures consists of the previously combined Comcast Interactive Capital and NBCUniversal Peacock Equity Fund.
Startl is a social enterprise dedicated to accelerating the growth of digital innovations for learning – from kindergarten to college, inside and outside the classroom. Focused on catalyzing next generation products with the greatest promise of transforming the education sector and the learning market, Startl recruits young innovators and entrepreneurs, immerses them in a rigorous product design and development process and helps them build socially responsible and fiscally sustainable start-ups. Startl received funding from the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Lumina Foundation. For more information, visit www.Startl.org.
The three-month program gives each startup a stipend of up to $25,000 and mentorship. There’s a Demo Day at the end attended by press and investors. Some of the better known startups to come out of DreamIt are SCVNGR, Adaptly, Winston and SeatGeek.
Easy app creation, outside of the land of Ruby and Python, has become a huge phenomenon in the last year. And the latest company to join the fold, AppArchitect, is launching straight from our Disrupt NY stage.
AppArchitect lets you build custom iPhone and iPad apps using a simple drag-and-drop interface. That’s right — you need zero coding experience to build your own iPhone app. It’s a brand new world.
Once you log in to the AppArchitect system, you’ll be asked whether you want to make an iPad or iPhone app. From there, you head straight into a dashboard complete with a Screens tab, Library tab with default background and picture options, and a Properties tab where you can handle styling. You can drag and drop backgrounds, images, add text, maps, or links.
From there, you can test and review your app before submitting it to the App Store for approval.
LevelUp has its own iOS and Android app, which users can link to their credit or debit card and then pay for goods using an on-screen QR code.
The technology was supported by hardware running Genius, a unified platform created by Merchant Warehouse, in October last year. The various readers integrate a number of different transaction methods, payment types and customer loyalty schemes to give merchants a ‘one size fits all’ solution for accepting mobile payments.
NEW YORK (MainStreet) —Bridesmaids dresses are notoriously divisive among wedding parties. But for What’s wURKEN?, Brideside CEO Nicole Staple unveiled how her company tries to use an online algorithm to ease tensions and boost style.
Journeying from a tech incubator in Philadelphia and launching a pop-up shop in Chicago, the Boston-based company is looking to disrupt the way we purchase the most contentious item in fashion.
Jonathan Gosier, a TED senior fellow alum, founded MetaLayer with business partner Matthew Griffithsin 2011 to help non-technical users perform data-driven research such as trend spotting in big data sets, predictive analytics, and visualization using drag and drop data science technology. As an open-source product, the Philadelphia-based company works seamlessly with other data management platforms.
“To get the data you usually have to go to the IT department, accounting department, and other departments,” says Gosier, an alum of the accelerator DreamIt Ventures. “They need SalesForce for their sales data, Quickbooks for their business data. All of these are different technologies and different environments that you have to learn and it can be overwhelming. With our product you can essentially do it all with Metalayer.”
Key Stone Edge
Go figure. FastFig, a startup developed in Easton, launched in Bethlehem and, for the moment, quartered in Philadelphia, has gotten its biggest visibility so far at Austin’s recent South by Southwest fest. And it appears poised for exponential growth.
Billed as a “word processor for math,” FastFig is a cloud-based tool that allows students to do math online – everything from basic arithmetic through algebra to calculus – typing and solving problems in the program without the need to go back-and-forth with calculators, paper and pencil.
Stereotypes is a music messaging app for iOS focused on building groups and sharing music as messages. I spoke last week with CEO Jason Keck about the experience of developing the app, incubating at Dreamit Ventures and plans to include features that will support marketing by musicians, music festivals and music bloggers.
Before Stereotypes became an iOS music app, it went through a phase as a web app that helped people find others with similar taste in music. That wasn’t exciting users so when Co-founders Jason Keck and Eric Bogs spent three months in a tech incubator, Dreamit Ventures in Austin, they redeveloped the app for mobile with a focus on groups of friends sharing music.
Diversity in Silicon Valley has become a hot topic lately.
In a one-and-a-half year long investigation, CNNMoney probed 20 of the most influential technology companies in the U.S.
What they found: racial minorities and women are generally underrepresented in management roles. And those roles are typically dominated by white and Asian men.