vowed he'd never invest in a music startup. "Only healthcare is that much kinda silly," he told the crowd gathered last week for The Startup Factory accelerator's
biannual showcase/graduation in Durham.
Ironically enough, two of TSF's most promising young startup graduates hail from each of those scary startup categories. And they're the first of TSF's 35 company-portfolio to take them on.
The first, BoomBoxFM
, is using a personalized weekly newsletter to introduce thousands of subscribers to new music in their favorite genres. The goal of founder and music industry veteran Michael Hoy
is to expose the artists behind the four million songs on Spotify that have never been played, and in a way not yet attempted by any other music discovery app or company (of which there are many). Word is spreading fast, as 16,000 people have subscribed and 3,500 new artists have been featured so far this year, and Hoy's is seeing validation with high email opens and click through rates. He'll attempt to raise a seed round this summer.
, meanwhile, has jumped onto the national stage for its innovative way of simplifying the patient consent process required by the federal government in order for doctors to release health records (our previous story here
). A patent is pending for the technology and process. And Tuesday June 2, founders Paul Emanuel
and Clinton Racine presented in Washington
to U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander's staff (Senate members weren't there due to Patriot Act debate) about health privacy and security. They're also working to raise money this summer, as well as line up a larger development team.
2015 is a critical year for The Startup Factory. It's nearing the end of the fund that has made those 35 investments over the past four years. The companies have raised more than $17 million (including TSF's investment). One has exited and 19 have secured funds outside TSF. Two companies are expected to close rounds any day. Due to SEC rules, the TSF can't share how fundraising is going.
But last week's event was another chance to prove to a room of investors that Heivly, partner Dave Neal and associate Lizzy Hazeltine continue to take bets on big industry opportunities and ideas.
Joining ELXR and BoomBoxFM were AgileRealm
, a tool for developers and product teams to better communicate design specs and with 34 beta testers on board, and AnyCloud, a former NC IDEA grant winner
building a simple tool for aggregating in one place photos, videos and documents stored or shared on any service. Both of these companies will need to raise rounds to continue their work. All four will continue to work out of The Startup Factory while they test and fundraise, and likely until a new class starts in the Fall.
Check out the four company pitches below. And stay tuned for the opening of the Fall 2015 application period.