Over 200 mobile startups applied to participate in the MobileBeat 2013 innovation showdown and just two emerged as winners.
Helpshift won the early stage category. Helpshift is a mobile help desk that powers customer service for hundreds of mobile applications. It has built a native mobile SDK that developers can download and code into mobile applications. It connects mobile customers with companies’ support staff to provide a “native support experience.” People on their phones can file a customer service ticket without leaving the app, so they don’t have to visit a website, place a phone call, or send an e-mail to get help. Representatives can create custom alerts and view information about the customers’ mobile devices, account information, debug logs, and transaction history to understand (and respond) to each ticket more specifically. The goal is to boost engagement and sales while reducing customer churn, support ticket volume, overhead costs, and bad reviews. Read more on VentureBeat.
The winner of the mid-stage competition was Capriza. Capriza extends web-based business applications to mobile devices with no coding, no integrations, and no APIs. Despite the growth of mobile enterprise apps, there is still a huge portion of business applications not optimized for mobile phones. Capriza allows employees to quickly pick-and-choose the elements they need from desktop workflows and create an HTML5 app that is easy to use and performs well. In 2011, it was reported that Capriza was raising $10.5 million from Andreessen Horowitz, but SEC filings show less than $2 million raised.
Helpshift and Capriza won 5,000 American Airlines Business ExtrAA points, a strategic bootcamp session with an executive from the IBm Venture Capital Group, a one-hour coaching session with a partner at Emergence Capital Partners, and an editorial feature on VentureBeat.
The competition was tough, and the other eight companies (below) also seemed to impress the judges with their presentations. The panel consisted of director of Silicon Valley Bank Jason Mok; Sean Jacobsohn of Emergence Capital Partners; Deborah Magid, Director of software strategy at IBM Venture Capital Group; partner at Lightspeed Ventures Jeremy Liew; and Sequoia Partner Tim Lee.
Lightt is a mobile app for capturing moments in your everyday life and turning them into videos that you actually watch. Using Lightt, users can take videos and can edit, trim and filter them on the go. The videos are easily saved and shared, and can be searched through later for the pieces you want to watch.
“As you get ready to go to bed at night, closing your eyes and thinking back on memories of the day, what does it look like? That’s the inspiration for life,” said Pat Kramer on stage. “We create a seamless stream of ongoing memories that realistically connects moments together.”
Lettuce Apps is an online inventory- and order-management system that enables businesses to capture, track, and process orders from anywhere in the world in real time. It is designed for small wholesalers and e-commerce sites. The system helps its clients stay organized and manage all their orders. Using its mobile app, sales reps can fill orders in seconds and all the data is automatically synced online, as well as automated packing, shipping, invoicing and more. Founder Raad Mobrem said that the order process involves multiple back office systems that do not talk to each other, and Lettuce pulls them all together.
“When we think of commerce, we think about shopping or money, but we forget about the data,” he said. “We can provide solutions and operational techniques that allow businesses to grow faster, without having to focus on tedious tasks. I hate the fact that most businesses fail, we want to provide software the enables them to succeed. “
The company launched last year and announced a $2.1 million seed round.
Instabug is a tool that runs in the background of an app, enabling users to send their feedback or bugs instantly by just shaking their devices, without interrupting their experience. Instabug runs in the background, gathering all of the details needed for the developer to trace those bugs later. The platform features a dashboard with all relevant information, like operating system, device, version, data, carrier etc… It also integrates with existing bug tracking and/or project management software. The founders are Egyptian and won the MIT Arab Enterprise forum, which had 4000 participants.
People Plus is a rolodex for Google Glass. CEO Peter Berger said the company has “reimagined the contact list for wearable computing.” People wearing glass can survey a room and see potential contacts with contextual information about who they are. For example, an entrepreneur at a tech event can get help from People Plus with identifying VCs in the room, or pinpointing people that they should meet. The goal is to create a “zen-like” experience on Glass that helps you get the most out of networking opportunities, and connect with the right people.
MobileSpaces takes yet another approach to BYOD by placing a strong emphasis on employee privacy. Its software lets phone owners mark all applications they use for work and only those apps can access business data and systems. This is convenient for the consumers because they get to pick their own apps, as well as for the IT teams that are concerned with securing corporate data. MobileSpaces has raised $3 million to date from Accel Partners.
Followapps is mobile application management platform is designed specifically to help chief marketing officers measure the return on investment on their mobile marketing spend and engage their mobile audience. It links a consumer’s mobile app activity with a company’s CRM to measure relevant KPIs and activate mobile audiences.
Open Garden‘s service wants to make it possible to crowd-source mobile and Wi-Fi bandwidth. Basically, if people voluntarily pool their bandwidth together, there’s a much better chance of never being without access to data again. By joining the Open Garden mesh network, you get faster Internet access, stronger coverage, and free mobile broadband.
NewAer is built as an SDK for Android, iPhone, OS X, and Windows, is a software-based proximity platform that works inside of other applications to make them environmentally aware. The platform for machine-to-machine discovery enables any smartphone application or API to be automated from the presence of radio signals received on a device.