Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Triangle Startup Factory Kicks Off Fall Class, Welcomes 6 New Companies to Underground

Chris Heivly, left, and partner Dave Neal
Dave Neal and Chris Heivly have selected their next "class" for the Triangle Startup Factory. And they like what they see in the management potential of the new group of ventures that will receive $50,000 in funding as well as mentoring and support over the next three months at the new business accelerator in Durham's American underground.
The new class consists of six companies, all of which are based in the Triangle.
"Each one is selected first for the quality and potential for each entrepreneurial team," co-managing director Heivly says.
The six, with descriptions provided by Neal and Heivly, are are:

Able Devices

Able Device is dedicated to fueling the growth of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications by reducing the cost, complexity, and risk associated with developing embedded wireless applications ranging from remote monitoring to point-of-sale, security, and more. It’s estimated that the average machine-to-machine (M2M) project takes two years, costs millions of dollars, and often ends in failure, which has held back adoption. With Able Devices, M2M applications can be embedded and executed on a mobile operator’s SIM card rather than an external CPU. This approach revolutionizes the wireless architecture of purpose-built machines such as utility meters and security systems resulting in cost saving, ease of development, and future-proofing of M2M applications.

Alekto Corporation

Alekto has a patent-pending business method and technology that, when applied to financial systems in a scalable and pervasive solution, can prevent many of the credit reporting errors that plague consumer credit reports today. In Alekto's Automated Credit Escrow Service ("ACES"), Alekto acts as a third-party between consumers and creditors in credit-influencing transactions. Alekto accepts consumers' payments to creditors and holds those funds in escrow. Alekto does not release those payments to the creditors until the proper credit reporting has been performed.


Artificial Intelligence Patents, has developed a patent-pending solution that will enable everyone – and not just experienced patent searchers –to quickly identify the most relevant technical literature. With a market just under $4 Billion, their software-as-a-service search engine is positioned to take market share from slowly improving and diametrically opposed search engine offerings. AIP developed a patent search technology management tool that utilizes a proprietary learning technology that assimilates only the relevant technological conceptual links between search items. AIP is able to match ideas, rather than just words. Unlike existing solutions, AIP harnesses the accumulated experience of tens of thousands of scientists in order to identify only the most relevant inventions for a given search.


PopUp is a mobile service that literally puts information in its place, delivering curated, hyper-relevant local information from your friends and the brands you trust, based on your location. PopUp enables you to ‘follow’ local content creators (people, brands, organizations and places), and have their advice and offers automatically delivered to your smartphone when you arrive at their location. As a platform PopUp provides channels for content creators to deliver location-relevant information at the place it offers the most value, offering a new form of virtual, location-based user interaction.

Offline Media

Offline is imagining a world where social means more than just sitting behind a computer. They're building an event platform where users can discover people, places, and things to do in real life through casual group events they can quickly create, join, and share. Offline Media leverages your LinkedIn profile to create an event platform for professionals only--a way to set up and attend casual group activities that get professionals off the computer, out into the real world, meeting, networking, and building community. The goal is to make it easier than ever to get together face-to-face and "Live Life Offline".


Tilt365 is a leadership development company that offers a suite of proprietary behavioral assessment tools for progressive organizations determined to create and sustain a culture for disruptive product and service innovation. The Tilt tools offer leaders and teams a real time, dynamic feedback & development platform that fosters and grows performance across a spectrum of disciplines. Forward-thinking corporations invest both dollars and internal resources to harness innovation. The Tilt system allows for easy and quick self-regulation and long-term correction through an interactive application.

What Directors Like

In addition to management, each firm of course does have technology and opportunities that drew attention from Heivly and Neal in the application process.
Heivly notes that intellectual property from Tilt already has Red Hat and facebook as clients.
Meanwhile, the Able Devices group is "made up of [wireless] industry vets from Sony Ericsson," he adds.
Heivly also says the other four are "extra cool due to the space."
  • "Alekto is a real world problem that is getting Fed Govt oversight (consumer credit)"
  • "AIP is interesting with Patent issues (Apple vs. Samsung)"
  • "PopUp and Offline are dealing with mobile technology advances"
None of the six have raised any outside money except from their own personal investment, Heivly adds.

Class Quality

More than 120 firms applied for the Startup Factory, 70 percent of which came from RTP, 7 percent from North Carolina, 18 percent from elsewhere in  the U.S. and 5 percent from other countries.
“Dave and I continue to be amazed at the quality of both the applicants and the business concepts,” Heivly said.
Added Neal in the announcement: “Our selection process is getting more and more difficult as we consider a greater number of excellent opportunities” said Neal. “These six companies represent an even wider diversity of industries, product, and experiences."
The firms that finish the three-month program also are eligible for up to $150,000 in additional funding.

Following Up on the First Class

As for the first "graduates" from earlier this year, Heivly said they are making progress and are still in the Triangle.
"The Spring class are all operations, all remain in Durham and the companies that identified themselves as needing additional funds continue to raise funds with intentions for a Fall closing," Heivly said.

Note: this article first appeared on WRAL Tech Wire, a publishing partner of CED, at http://wraltechwire.com/business/tech_wire/opinion/blogpost/11476379/.

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