A few days ago, I had the pleasure of hearing student startups pitch at UT’s Demo Day. These students have been developing their companies for months or years, and this week they had the chance to expose themselves to investors, mentors, and anyone interested in entrepreneurship. Though not every student startup at the University of Texas pitched at the event (such as UniTrade and Echoed), I was amazed with the variety and professionalism of these startups.
Here’s a snapshot of some of my favorites:
Retell provides property management software that automatically delegates issues to the right people. For example, when a tenant submits a maintenance request, the program can automatically contact a plumber and schedule service. Today, Capitol Factory and Tech Ranch use Retell under a pilot program. Personally, I think Retell has a ton of potential.
Traditional restaurant software is expensive, difficult to use, and lacks customization. Using modern technology, Entrée aims to bring new functionality to point-of-sale systems at a fraction of the cost. This summer, Entrée plans to test its software with ten different restaurants. (Note for developers: Entrée will have the first open API for a point-of-sale system.)
Beek is a social network for Spanish-speaking book lovers. In the past few months, Beek has reached over 24,000 followers on Facebook. The company has bootstrapped itself and is positioned to continue growing. With Spanish as the third most-spoken language in the world, Beek offers 500 million people new ways to discover, recommend, and talk about books.
Thousands of people use life coaches (similar to counselors or psychotherapists) to talk about their problems and accomplish their personal goals. MyCoachLive plans to provide a platform to connect people with life coaches via online sessions. Their team includes software developers and a psychologist with a PhD.
Have you ever called a company and waited hours for a 30-second answer? Cerebri uses artificial intelligence to answer questions in call centers, saving callers and businesses time and money. After winning $100,000 in the IBM Watson University Competition, the Cerebri team applied their technology at the United Way Texas 2-1-1 call center. Their plans for the future? Joining an accelerator and taking Cerebri to the next level.
Finally, I’d like to give an honorable mention to FreeBee, which does not have a website. This week, they announced the end of their venture. FreeBee aimed to create an electronic customer loyalty program, but a variety of factors hindered their progress. I think it was extremely noble to admit that they had failed (especially in front of a crowd of 1000 people). I wish the best of luck to the entrepreneurs behind FreeBee and all the student startups at the University of Texas.
What do you think of these student startups?