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January 17, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Ten startups using Windows Azure make their pitches to investors


Jilliene Helman, co-founder and CEO of Realty Mogul, speaks at the Accelerator Demo Day. (Janet I. Tu / The Seattle Times)

Corrected version

From a site dedicated to crowd-funding for real estate properties to a company that provides instant, automated online presences for restaurants, 10 startups using Windows Azure technology made their pitches to investors today.

In a conference center on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, leaders from each startup stood before an audience of about 300 people — many of them investors — and outlined what their companies did, what need they sought to fill, how they planned to make money, and who their leaders were.

The startups were all part of the Accelerator program, a partnership between Microsoft and tech incubator TechStars that provides seed money, mentoring, technical support and networking opportunities to startups that create new business applications using Microsoft technologies.

This was the second time Microsoft and TechStars have partnered for the Accelerator program. The first round, held last year, focused on startups creating commercial applications featuring Microsoft’s Kinect motion- and voice-sensing technology.

In this round, some 600 applicants from around the world signed up for the Accelerator program for companies using Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform for developers. Leaders of the10 companies chosen to participate lived in Seattle during the three-month program, which ran from October to December.

Jilliene Helman, co-founder and CEO of Realty Mogul, a company that focuses on crowdfunding for real estate and one of the 10 startups chosen, said she found the mentoring and networking opportunities very valuable.

“It’s not fly-by mentorship,” she said. “It’s roll-your-sleeves-up mentorship.”

She moved from Los Angeles to Seattle in September and her network here now is about as deep as it is in L.A.

“The ability to get access,” through the program, she said, was likely better than she would have been able to get on her own.

Five of the 10 companies in this Accelerator round are from the Seattle area. Here’s more about all 10 companies:

  • Appetas, based in Seattle, allows restaurants to quickly create websites, mobile sites and other online presences.
  • BagsUp, from Sydney, Australia, emphasizes social networks to help people discover and book travel opportunities.
  • Embarke, from San Diego, uses behavior and interest analysis to help companies determine how to best reach and engage customers.
  • Fanzo, based in Seattle, ranks sports fans, giving fans a score, and teams and companies trying to reach sports fans a way of assessing fans’ influence. Kind of like Klout for sports fans.
  • Keebitz, based in Seattle, automates the referral process, from generating referrals to rewarding customers who provide referrals.
  • MetroHub, from Bellevue, offers public cloud monitoring.
  • Mobilligy, from Bellevue, helps people organize their bills and manage their cash flow.
  • Realty Mogul, based in Los Angeles, allows accredited investors to pool their money to invest in vetted real estate deals.
  • Socedo, from Seattle, helps sales and business development teams find leads via the social Web.
  • Staq, based in San Francisco, provides a game management platform — a backend-as-a-service company for free-to-play games on mobile, Web and consoles.

Microsoft is taking applications through Feb. 1 for the next class of Accelerator for Windows Azure, which will take place April to June in Seattle. You can find more information here.

Information in this post was corrected Jan. 18, 2013. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Keebitz is based in Berlin, Germany. The company is now based in Seattle.



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