Don your robes, apply your waterproof mascara and prepare for an indulgent celebratory lunch at some place like the Cheesecake Factory: it’s graduation day for the Spring 2012 TechStars. Each of the 13 companies will be introducing their products to a slew of mentors, investors and reporters at today’s Demo Day, with the hopes of knocking their socks off and–hopefully, fingers crossed!–nabbing some VC bucks. The show starts at 8 a.m., folks, so grab your coffee and we’ll see you then.
11:58 a.m.: Oh look, Bondsy founder Diego Zambrano’s epic beard has its own Twitter account.
11:41 a.m.: Demos are over! Now’s the time to eat and shmooze at the press/investor luncheon.
11:33 a.m.: Karma wants to disrupt the wireless business. Given our morning of technical difficulties, we are tempted to storm the stage and snatch the device that’s going to enable them to do this.
11:23 a.m.: Lua takes the stage to “Burning Down the House,” which inspires us to check out the escape route situation. But apparently the founders are just FIRED UP about helping distributed workforces collaborate. Teams on movie sets and concert tours are relying on walkie talkies and hollering, which is absurd. Hence, Lua’s mobile-first solution. Their beta market focus is the entertainment business. They’ve signed the Dark Knight Rises team since entering TechStars, so we fully intend to fish for spoilers later.
11:18 a.m.: Oh god, there goes all of our money: Pickie pulls from your social channels and brand preferences and creates what’s basically a personalized catalog. We’re a little skeptical of the obligatory “big data” mention in this pitch, though — feels a little buzzy to us.
11:07 a.m.: 10Sheet plans to reinvent the $65 billion bookkeeping market, removing the need for a human to do the work. The program pulls the information from your accounts and assembles it into one statement. Plus, they’ve created a virtual bookkeeper to do 95 percent of the labor for $69/month.Well, there goes another white collar line of work.
11:01 a.m.: Poptip CEO Kelsey Falter is obsessed with feedback, she tells us. Her slideshow involves multiple images of Doctor Evil, which lines up nicely with Poptip’s “take over the world” game plan. Short version: offer a native, social feedback solution for ALL THE BRANDS.
10:53 a.m.: Condition One aims to offer a more immersive media experience. Your iPad becomes a virtual window — move it and you get a wider view. The CEO explains he wanted to create something that could capture the horror of his experiences as a photojournalist in wartorn areas like Iraq and Afganistan. Heavy.
Mark Cuban lead their seed round and it sounds like brands are already intrigued.
10:38a.m.: Tony Hsieh gets up to make a few remarks. He opens with opening with a story about how a music exec once, on a tour of Zappos, demanded a customer service rep look up how much his wife spent on shoes. ($62,000. Goddamn.) Then its on to an explanation of why he cares about company culture. In short, by the time he sold LinkExchange, the culture had drifted so far he was miserable. Nowadays, he isn’t exactly worried about his mortgage, so he built place he wanted to be every day. So settle on some principles you’re willing to hire and fire based on and stick to them. As the song says: Nice workk if you can get it.
10:35 a.m.: After a break, time to shut everyone up and start the presentations once more. (VC Roger Ehrenberg is specifically singled out for shushing.)
10:13 a.m.: Sure, okay, Seth Godin intros Wander, saying it changed the way he thought about travel on the Internet then handing it over to the pitch man, CEO Jeremy Fisher. Wander initially looks like a Tumblr created just for travel blogs, but posts are tagged with a “star mention” that means you can go to a place page, like for Paris, and see all the related posts.
10:05 a.m.: Classitivity wants to make it easier for you to find a class, like Seamless for takeout and ZocDoc for doctors’ appointments. Now if only we were actually motivated enough for spin class, we’d be all set. Meanwhile, those offering classes rely on emails, flyers, and Craigslist currently, and they’re often just half full. Add 2 and 2, guys.
9:57 a.m.: Marquee starts with the confrontational stat that WordPress is even more reviled than the US Congress. Ouch. They promise they’re laying the groundwork for a “syndication platform.” Does that mean it’ll get my personal blog more than 5 hits per month?
9:50 a.m.: Bondsy looks a whole lot like an Instagram that allows you to buy stuff your friends and friends of friends are selling. We are instantly enamoured of the founder, who has a Biblical beard and cracks a joke about how long it took for the US to give him “a fucking green card.”
“Your social graph can finally offer you liquidity,” he promises.
9:40a.m.: Moveline proposes to make moving less of a nightmare. (We’re listening.) They’ve built a platform that allows you access to not just local moving companies, but vendors in other areas who might have some extra space in their truck on the trip from point a to b.
9:21 a.m.: Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy, just took the stage to introduce the first company, a neighborhood investment tool called SmallKnot.
9:17 a.m.: And we’re off! David Tisch has taken the stage as Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” fades out. An announcement that five of this season’s TechStars are female founders received a smattering of applause.
8:46 a.m.: Bright spot: They’re playing Jay Z. But it’s” Empire State of Mind,” of course.
8:34 a.m.: We rushed to get here and apparently nothing actually starts until 9 a.m.? THANKS, TECHSTARS. Upon arriving, we immediately stepped in gum. THANKS, WEBSTER HALL. Also, the TechStars wifi isn’t working, so we are going off of Jessica’s janky hotspot, so forgive us if updates are spotty.
8:30 a.m.: Jessica: I’ve never seen so many white people in one room before. Kelly: Aren’t you from Pennsylvania?