Hotels are just starting to adopt Bluetooth-enabled smart locks, meaning that--if you're lucky--you can skip stopping at the desk and just walk up to your room, and not have to hassle with those plastic key fobs. But, just how far are we from ubiquitous, smartphone-enabled hotel locks? We caught up with TJ Person, the CEO of Dallas-based OpenKey (www.openkey.co), to learn more about the company, smartphone-based hotel keys, and where the industry is today.
How do you successfully take a small, startup company, and keep it growing and thriving after it's been acquired by a big company? Jeff Erramouspe, the head of Austin's Spanning Cloud Apps (www.spanning.com) tells us all about the company's transition from small startup to a division of EMC, how and why it is continuing to grow--plus how the company fits into the world as EMC itself is acquired by Dell.
Earlier this week, The Wave VR announced a round of funding, to develop a virtual reality environment specifically for live music. We spoke with Adam Arrigo, CEO of the startup, to learn more about what the whole idea behind The Wave's VR software is, and how the company it looking to apply VR to the music industry. The Wave VR is backed by PCB Edge, Presence Capital, Rothenberg Ventures, RRE Ventures, The VR Fund, Seedcamp, plus angels, and dual headquartered in Los Angeles and Austin.
Is the future of farming in the software? Tying together artificial intelligence (AI) software and hardware sensors, Dallas-based Flux Farm (www.fluxiot.com), led by Texas technology veteran Blake Burris, is hoping to create a new vision of farming, which relies more on software algorithms and less on the vagaries of weather and soil. We spoke with Blake about his new startup—which got its start in Israel—and what it's up to here in Texas.
Are you out in public a lot--at festivals, weddings, sporting events, and elsewhere--and wish you had a way to find photos of yourself from those events? Waldo Photos (http://waldo.photos) is hoping to make that as easy as just hopping on your phone and opening an app. The Austin startup recently raised seed funding to build out its solution.
If you are an up and coming, fashion and apparel designer who'd like to launch your own apparel brand, it's quite a significant amount of work to not only design your own apparel, but contracting with garment manufacturers, handling ordering and customer service, and more. Luckily, Austin-based startup Trunkist (www.trunkist.com) recently launched, to handle all of that hassle--from working with apparel manufacturers to taking online orders--for up and coming, fashion designers and influencers.
If you're a big employer, recruiting the right, new employees is usually a big problem--unless you are lucky enough to get some great referrals from your existing employees. Is there a way to make that easier for your employees, and smooth out potential hires for your recruiters and hiring managers? Austin-based Roikoi (www.roikoi.
Austin is the capital of the large scale festival, give its fame for SXSW--but festivals are becoming a big business everywhere. However, despite that popularity, getting information on those festivals is still very difficult. Austin-based startup Everfest (www.everfest.com) is hoping to change that. We spoke with co-founder Jay Manickam--a veteran of uShip-- on the reasons for the startup.
In the day and age of ubiquitous connectivity, smartphones, apps, and more, for the most part, lawn care is an old, traditional industry. What if you could apply some of the trends in on-demand apps to that industry? Austin's LawnStarter (www.lawnstarter.com) is doing just that--trying to bring some of the advantages of on-demand apps to what has been a not very technology savvy business. We spoke with Lawnstarter co-founder Ryan Farley about the company.
Tired of standing in line at the store, waiting to buy something you need? Wish you didn't have to wait for your take out order? What if you could ask someone else to pick all of that up for you? That's the idea behind Favor(www.favordelivery.
In an intensely competitive area, how do you differentiate yourself and grow a company?
Fonality (www.fonality.com) --a Plano-based developer of voice-over-IP phone software and systems--has managed to rise above the crowd of commodity voice-over-IP and PBX service providers, and now has around $40M in revenues. We spoke with David Scult, the company's CEO, to learn more about what the company is doing nowdays.
It's a new world out there, with dozens of industries being disrupted by the whole idea of peer-to-peer marketplaces by such companies as Airbnb, Uber, HomeAway, and Relayrides. However, building a marketplace had--until now--been fairly difficult. A new, Austin startup--Structured Domains (www.structuredomains.
Inspired by his travels across the world, Kash Shaikh started sharing his experience on social media with the hashtag, #besomebody (www.besomebodyblog.com). After stints at Proctor & Gamble and GoPro, Shaikh soon realized he had a bigger mission--to turn what was a hashtag into a global movement. We recently talked to Kash about his new Austin startup and vision for the future.
It's a new world out there of mobile devices. However, mobile devices are not smart enough--yet--to figure out the context of where you are and what you need, without prompting. Austin's Mahana (www.mahana.io), headed by Bryan Menell, is looking to bring that context to make mobile devices smarter, by using things like beacons. We spoke with Bryan about the company and its vision.
What is Mahana?
Bryan Menell: Mahana is a platform that is comprised of three components.
All too often, most of the attention in the technology world goes to the flashiest, celebrity-driven or sexy social media companies--while companies building real businesses but which don't have quite a sexy presence are ignored. However, those companies -- particularly in Texas -- have often proven to be the big winners in building long term growth and jobs.
There's a new venture fund in town--LiveOak Venture Partners (www.liveoakvp.com)--one of the first, large funds to close commitments in many years here in Texas. The new fund is headed by early stage, technology investment veterans, including Ben Scott, Krishna Srinivasan, and Venu Shamapant, who have all spent a lot of time in the Texas market.
Content is king--or so they say. However, what if you were creating lots of content, but nobody ever saw it? That's the situation that many marketers and brands are finding, according Steve Sachs, the CEO of Austin-based OneSpot (www.onespot.com)--and a problem that OneSpot is tackling by using content advertising. We sat down with Steve to learn about exactly what content advertising is, why marketers and brands are using it, and how OneSpot's products help in the area.
For our profile today, we're running an interview we recently conducted with Christian Okonsky, CEO of Austin's KLD Energy (www.kldenergy.com), which is developing electric drive systems for the electric motorcycle, car, and other industries. The company has recently been showing off its first, shipping product, the oneDrive, which the company says provides a big advance on existing electric drivetrains.
In the world of banking, the rapidly changing world of technology is creating a new world for financial institutions, as customers no longer visit branches, but are accessing their banking institutions through their smartphone and tablet. That rapid change in technology has heavily impacted community financial institutions, who do not have the financial resources that big banks do to create and develop their own mobile apps and infrastructure. To that end, Austin's Q2 (www.q2ebanking.
Online event ticketing sites have been around for a long time. However, Austin-based Ticketbud (www.ticketbud.com) thinks it has figured out an even better way to provide online event ticketing. To learn more about how the company wants to transform how people use online event ticketing services, we spoke with CEO Lynn Yeldell about the company.
What is Ticketbud?
Lynn Yeldell: We're an online ticketing, event ticketing and registration service.
What's the best way to learn how to be an entrepreneur? In the belief that you can't learn to be an entrepreneur without some hands on experience, Bart Bohn and the co-founders of the 3 Day Startup (www.3daystartup.org) program have created a program which teaches college students entrepreneurial skills--not by boring lectures or long projects, but through a weekend project. We caught up with Bart to learn more about the program and its roots in Austin.
Enterprise software may not be the sexiest area for technology news, but it's been the source of some of the biggest IPO and M&A successes in the last year or so in the technology industry. It's also one of the key parts of the high industry here in Texas. So it's no surprise that the state is also behind the move towards cloud computing, thanks to companies such as Rackspace (www.rackspace.
What in the world is identity management, and why do the customers of UnboundID (www.unboundid.com), based in Austin, care about such things? We caught up with Andy Land, VP of Marketing of the company, tells us why the ability to scale to hundreds of millions of users is important to their customers. UnboundID is backed by OpenView Partners and Silverton.
It seems like nowadays, just about everyone is now using an iPhone or Android smartphone. That shift--which has happened in only the past few years---is the inspiration behind Austin's Toopher (www.toopher.com), which is using the ubiquity of smartphones to make it easier for websites and businesses to prevent fraud.
If you're an attorney on the go, what's the best way to look up that legal reference or check through current statutes? There aren't that many options. However, a Houston-based startup, PushLegal (www.pushlegal.com), is hoping to change that, by creating a set of mobile applications which allow lawyers to look up statutes, rules, and case law on the go. We spoke with the firm's co-founder and COO, Alex Torry, who helped us understand what the company offers to its users.
If you've ever been sitting around tailgating at a college football game, but don't have any tickets, you're familiar with the issues with trying to find a ticket and having to deal with sometime unscrupulous ticket scalpers at the gate. However, now that everyone has a mobile phone, why not use that phone to connect with other fans who have extra tickets, at the game? That's the idea behind MeetMeTix (www.meetmetix.com), a new Austin startup headed by Jesse B. Dyer.
Looking to take your online business connections and turn that into a stronger, in-person, off-line relationship, Austin-based CanWeStudios (www.canwestudios.com) launched its app yesterday. We caught up with co-founder James Sinclair to learn more about the company.
What is CanWe Studios?
James Sinclair: CanWe Studios is a platform company that designs technology that allows users to identify other people that have commonality with one another. It's based on an outcome prediction tool.
In an age of instant cell phone photos, kids having phones at a very early age, and social media sites a regular part of every teen's social life, there's been an unfortunate intersection of easy-to-access cell phone cameras, the Internet, and illicit photos from teens. We spoke with Steven White, co-founder and CEO of ImageVision (www.imagevision.
As an online retailer, what's the best way to find and attract online consumers to buy your products? And, how do you do it profitably? Austin's Adlucent (www.adlucent.com), headed by Jon Armstrong talked to us about how the company is applying big data analytics and software to the online, paid search market, to help those retailers better find and land customers.
What is Adlucent?
Jon Armstrong: Adlucent is a big data analytics and technology company that specializes in e-commerce.
2012 Interview Index
August 13, 2012 Moler, Lacey (BellyBallot)
July 30, 2012 Susman, Aron (TheSquareFoot)
June 25, 2012 Hopen, Chris (TappIn)
June 18, 2012 Knight, Clay (Safarious)
June 6, 2012 Gordon, Chuck (Sparefoot)
June 4, 2012 Treadaway, Chris (Polygraph)
May 29, 2012 Wyatt, Chris (Youtoo)
April 17, 2012 Decker, Sam (Mass Relevance)
April 10, 2012 Genovese, Matt (Door64)
January 11, 2012 Magierski, Brian (Appconomy)
2011 Interview Index
December 14, 2011 David Borland, Larry Wikelius and (Calxeda)
November 28, 2011 Fasullo, Greg (Entouch Controls)
November 7, 2011 Weingarten, Tara (VroomGirls)
October 19, 2011 Layne, Carrie (Bestbuzz)
October 10, 2011 Rogers, Patti (Rallyhood)
September 28, 2011 Gates, Sara (Wisegate)
May 9, 2011 Abel, Scott (Spiceworks)
April 13, 2011 Knitowski, Alan (Phunware)
January 5, 2011 Dachis, Jeffrey (Dachis Group)
2010 Interview Index
November 10, 2010 Agrawal, Rakesh (SnapStream)
November 8, 2010 Clark, Bill (MicroVenture Marketplace)
August 4, 2010 Peters, Greg (Zilliant)
July 12, 2010 Koonce, Ryan (aDealio)
June 7, 2010 Arrow, John (MutualMobile)
January 21, 2010 Waterhouse, Trent (Lineage Power)
2009 Interview Index
September 23, 2009 Hood, Dave (Troux)
July 7, 2009 Kane, Bill (Mumboe)
June 29, 2009 Kiser, Steve (Sychron)
May 13, 2009 Balthazar, Jim (Nuventix)
April 3, 2009 Wilson, Brad (80legs)
March 27, 2009 Trudeau, Matthew (HourVille)
March 23, 2009 Augustin, Michael (Gendai Games)
2008 Interview Index
December 11, 2008 Reeder, Russell (LibreDigital)
September 17, 2008 Gascon, Derek (Caringo)
August 29, 2008 Harriman, Steve (NetQOS)
June 13, 2008 Mills, Brendon (Ripcode)
April 28, 2008 Broockman, Eric (Alereon)
March 18, 2008 Upton, Larry (Edioma)
March 5, 2008 Lochow, John (Sipera Systems)
February 4, 2008 Fasullo, Greg (Eltek Valere)
2007 Interview Index
November 14, 2007 Hoffman, Rick (Clearcube)
September 24, 2007 Stewart, Branndon (InovaWave)
September 17, 2007 Shastry, Rahm (Nascentric)
September 12, 2007 Hammock, Jim (itzbig)
August 27, 2007 Malloy, Craig (Lifesize)