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era demo day 2013

There’s no rest for the folks at New York City’s Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA). After graduating its most recent class at the end of May, the firm is today announcing the next round of companies for its Summer 2013 class.

The ten companies were chosen from more than 1,200 applicants — the most competitive class ERA has had so far. This is the fifth class for ERA after kicking off its accelerator program two years ago, and it includes some new territory for the firm, like education technology, as well companies focusing on such New York mainstays as ad technology and retail.

“We always try to look around and see what other industries are relevant for New York … ed-tech is one,” said ERA managing director Jonathan Axelrod in an interview.

As part of the accelerator program, the startups will receive a $40,000 investment from ERA (with potential for follow-on), co-working space at the firm’s spiffy new office, legal advice, and access to a network of more than 200 NYC  technology mentors.

After covering ERA’s graduates for a while now, I’ve been consistently struck by the level of quality from its graduates. The firm doesn’t have the prestige of TechStars or 500 Startups, but for the most parts I’ve always found its accelerator companies more interesting — like MxHero’s attempt to save us from e-mail hell, TheSquareFoot’s play to revamp commercial real estate, and Trendalytics’ use of big data for retailer trends.

“We actively avoid things we see as ‘me too’ clones,” Axelrod said, “We’re less interested in being play No. 4 in a space.” He also notes that ERA isn’t afraid of accepting enterprise-focused companies, even if they don’t seem as sexy up-front as a new mobile app.

Here are the companies taking part in ERA’s Summer 2013 class:

Admitted.ly: A college discovery platform that matches students with universities based on personality and psychometric tests. It shows students their chances of admission through personalized “Admittability Scores” and provides customized recommendations for improvement based on interests, location, budget, and goals.

Agolo: Makes Twitter a powerful, personalized communication service, detecting questions and providing answers derived from what friends and followers tweet and follow. Agolo gives Twitter users a new way to quickly get the info they want through the opinions of the people they care about.

ClosetDash: is the place to shop and swap the fashions women love. It takes the consignment model to the a new level by letting shoppers swap their clothes for credit toward merchandise in ClosetDash’s stylish inventory, making the experience easy, fun, green—and affordable.

Gigzolo: An online marketplace for identifying and booking musicians, photographers and live entertainment for events. Users interact directly with artists through text or video chat, and easily compare pricing, videos and reviews.

Machinio: A search engine for buying and selling new and used industrial equipment and machinery. It is the most comprehensive marketplace of its kind, currently delivering more than half a million listings via its unique platform.

Metropolist: Helps its community of users find places they will love through advice from friends and others sharing their tastes. Members find places to go, store favorite destinations, and then recommend to friends—all from Metropolist. It makes social recommendations easy and useful.

Nutmeg Education: Gives teachers a better way to build tests, quizzes, worksheets and other student assessments through a crowd-sourced question bank. It uses the resulting data to connect students with free online resources to deepen their subject expertise and improve performance.

Piiku: Provides a new alternative in video advertising, allowing users to earn and redeem digital currency by watching video ads on their own time in exchange for one-click access to content. It reduces friction for users to experience content while increasing monetization options for publishers and brands.

Rockerbox: simplifies product discovery for consumers with a mobile-first experience and machine learning technology that adapts to each buyer’s tastes. Rockerbox transforms mobile product browsing into a simple, fun and social experience.

Tapactive: Makes it easy and convenient to find and book private workout instructors based on the client’s schedule, goals and personality. Offices, apartments, parks— virtually any other space large or small, can become a Tapactive fitness studio.

Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

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