Techstars Chicago names class for 2016 accelerator

Jun27, 2016

Techstars Chicago announced its accelerator class for 2016 on Monday, naming a group of 10 companies that offer everything from packaged lunches to a connected tracker for children.

The program is Chicago’s leading accelerator, with alumni including SpotHero and Giveforward. Companies often emerge with changed business models, fresh investments and even new names.

This summer’s 90-day bootcamp will feature more instruction than previous years on sales, marketing and growth hacking, and creating viral loops, said managing director Troy Henikoff.

Half of the 10 companies in the accelerator, which starts Monday, haven’t started earning revenue, Henikoff said. He said the focus at such an early stage is on getting and keeping users, and getting them to pay.

“We’re really focused on that growth side, and we’re changing the curriculum of our program somewhat to focus on that more,” Henikoff said.

Techstars Chicago will host a private demo day Sept. 29 at the House of Blues. Participating companies will receive $20,000 in funding in exchange for 6 percent common stock and the option of a $100,000 debt note. Henikoff said the startups also get access to dozens of mentors, free office space and in-kind services from companies including Microsoft and SendGrid.

This year’s class draws startups from across the country but lacks the international presence of 2015’s cohort. Most of the businesses focus on software, but Henikoff said he was excited to welcome a hardware company for the first time.

Here is this year’s Techstars class; companies are based in Chicago unless otherwise noted.

Bright, which creates software that helps subscription-based businesses track and understand key metrics.

Brightwork (Oregon), a tool for developers to better understand APIs.

CompleteSet (Ohio), a site where people can buy and sell collectible items and memorabilia.

ConvertFlow (Florida), which makes tools that help companies capture emails and more from website visitors.

Fitbot (Florida), a management dashboard for personal trainers and coaches.

Jio, a hardware startup that makes a tiny device for helping parents keep track of their children. The company announced Monday that it has raised $1.2 million from investors including former Motorola Mobility senior vice president of design Jim Wicks, Samsung SmartThings vice president Tyler Hall and Techstars.

LogicGate, a tool that lets businesses create applications without coding using drag-and-drop software.

Pak’d, a packaged lunch delivery service for families.

PartySlate, a site that curates event photos and connects visitors to vendors. It’s also a member of Wistem, the program at 1871 for women founders.

Stationfy (California), a site where sports fans follow and watch their favorite athlete’s and teams’ moments.

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