Entrepreneur

YourMechanic drives off with first prize at TechCrunch Disrupt

YourMechanic is the winner of TechCrunch Disrupt’s Startup Battlefield competition. Lit Motors took second place.

Over the course of the three-day conference, 30 companies were whittled down to seven, which competed on stage to win a prize of $50,000, the Disrupt Cup, and buzz.

Each company made its final pitch and answered questions on stage, and the judges deliberated to select the most deserving winner.

This year, the judges were Michael Arrington from CrunchFund, Roelof Botha from Sequoia Capital, Chris Dixon from Founder Collective, David Lee from SV Angel, Marissa Mayer from Yahoo, and David Sacks from Yammer.

The final contestants were Lit Motors, Expect Labs, Gyft, Saya, Zumper, YourMechanic, and Prior Knowledge.

Lit Motors aspires to manufacture a fully-electric, self-balancing motorcycle. This two-wheeled vehicle is a hybrid of a motorcycle and a car. It has a steering wheel and a protective outer shell like a car but is the size of a motorcycle. The company has one prototype but is raising $20 million to bring it to market. If successful, the vehicle will debut in 2014 for $19,000 a pop. Read more on VentureBeat.

Expect Labs created an iPad app called MindMeld. The technology analyzes and understands conversations in real time and uses that information to put relevant content in front of the user. The platform applies voice recognition technology, predictive modeling, and proactive information discovery to enhance the quality of communication.

Gyft is a mobile gift card platform that lets people buy, save, and redeem gift cards from their phones. The app supports more than 100 retailers and eliminates the need for consumers to keep track of actual cards. Brands can use it to offer targeted  promotions and incentives and drive customer engagement. It has announced backing from Google Ventures, Founder Collective, and 500 Startups.

Saya is an African company that strives to bring smartphone-like messaging to basic mobile devices. Its ‘cross platform chat application’ greatly reduces the cost of text messaging, and it brings features like Facebook chat, location-based chat, and multimedia exchange to low-end phones. Within two months, its beta app had 400,000 downloads and 9 million SMS invitations.

Zumper helps users find rental apartments. Those seeking a new home enter search criteria, like price, size, and neighborhood, and a list of available apartments comes out. The listings are carefully indexed to streamline the hunting process, and users can message landlords on the platform. It plans to make money by promoting listings and aggregating sales data.

Billed as the “Uber of Car Maintenance”, YourMechanic is a marketplace that lets users call mechanics to their location, on-demand. Mechanics make house calls, and the price is significantly lower than visiting a brick-and-mortar auto repair shop. The company graduated from Y Combinators Winter 2012 class and has raised $1.8 million in seed funding from SV Angel, Yuri Milner, Andreessen Horowitz, Crunchfund, and others.

PriorKnowledge is a predictive database for app developers. The company has a Veritable API that can make existing applications smarter. The technology searches for causal relationships in data, analyzes that information, and generates predictions that can be used to evolve the product.


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