Launch Festival 2016 Recap

Being that I did not attend Launch Festival this year, I can only report on the startups I saw on the main stage’s live stream.

My favorites are underlined.

  • Best Overall: CafeX (presentation) – Hardware + software; Robotic coffee bar with app ordering
    Lots of potential, but traditional coffee shops may retain an edge with personal touches. The consumer advantage is less time spent at a coffee shop.
  • IBM SmartCamp winner: CarForce (presentation) – Hardware + software; OBD-II transmitter that sends car diagnostic codes back to dealerships so they can market targeted services to their customers
    Looks like a profitable idea, and potentially makes customers happier and safer, BUT many people already don’t like “stealerships” and wouldn’t be interested in paying them more. Could this be developed in a way that customers could choose a primary 3rd-party repair shop?
  • Best Hardware: LineHealth (presentation) – automated smart pill dispenser with reminders
    PillPack is cool, but since it’s low-tech, it has no reminder or confirmation, and can’t handle prescription changes.
  • Best Design: Flutter (presentation) – Software; Tinder with video, with Snapchat’s interface.
    Groan. Just what we need, a fancier yet still simplistic way to meet matches.
  • Best Social Good: Flow Labs (presentation) – Hardware + software; Simple-to-install per-pipe capacitive smart water meter. You just clip it onto a pipe near the endpoint you want to measure, assign it the right tags, and watch it report to you how much water is being used and where.
    Kill-A-Watt for water, basically.
  • Best Business Model: Stay Wanderful (presentation) – Software; Website widget that persuades hotel website visitors to book direct, thus earning the hotel more money, the customer a reward, and merchants traffic.
    Lots of praise for this company. They demonstrated how their platform is effective, and they are growing fast.
  • Best Presentation: Evertoon (presentation) – Software; App that creates “3D” movies with characters that have a face mapped onto them from a picture, that speak using actual recordings rather than simulated speech, and that can show programmed body language.
    I thought this was a bit lame and that it would probably be little more than a fad even if it caught on.
  • Best Education: Daily Drip (presentation) – Software; micro-learning app for busy professionals, starting with IT
  • Best FinTech: Quantiacs (presentation) – Software; connects authors of trading algorithms without capital to investors with capital
    Man, if only I knew something about the stock market and how to write trading algorithms, I’d be rich with this!
  • Best Demo Pit: Carbon Robotics (presentation) – Hardware; First robotic arm below $5k with safety features and direct trainability. Sensors and software compensate for the cheap, low-precision components to make it as precise as more expensive arms.
  • Best Enterprise (formerly B2B): Whistic (presentation) – Software; makes it easy for companies to audit their vendors for security during the pre-sales due-diligence process.
  • Diamond-in-the-rough: Guardian Circle (presentation) – Software; P2P personal safety app – “all become each other’s first responders” – build a network of people who “guard” you and people you “guard” – and when you have an emergency, a friend can get to you quickly.
  • Best Health: Bloom (presentation) – Hardware + software; personal pregnancy monitor with medical precision
  • Best Hackathon: BetaGig (presentation) – Software; Monster for job shadowing
    • Hackathon Finalist: Orbit (about) – Software; Launches your local development environment into the cloud with one click
      The guys from Orbit actually skipped high school for the day to launch on stage! They know what’s up.
    • Hackathon Finalist: The Interview Club (about) – Software; Makes it easy for the expert to conduct the interview and give valuable feedback
    • Hackathon Finalist: Etch (about) – Software; nine grid pad on which a user draws a symbol to trigger an action
    • Hackathon Finalist: Kikr (about) – Hardware; Motion-tracking wearable device that adds gamification to real life snowboarding
  • Best Alumni Update (formerly 2.0): One Drop (presentation) – Hardware + software; Social diabetes management platform

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