Mobile Monday Colorado is hosting a member of the TechStars mentor family, Dion Almaer, for their July 19th event. Dion is Managing Director of Developer Relations at Palm (now part of HP). Besides his involvement with TechStars as a mentor, he is a celebrity in the AJAX community as the co-founder of Ajaxian.com, and previously held senior positions within Mozilla and Google. Dion will be able to shed some light on how the largest consumer device company in the world will be integrating WebOS into various product lineups including tablets and intelligent printers. He will talk about the direction of the WebOS operating environment specifically and the future of mobile and the web. It is sure to be a solid event worth checking out.
Gearbox, one of the teams that I’m mentoring in this year’s TechStars Boulder program, is starting to blog about their product. One of their taglines is “reinventing the ball” and while this potentially generates plenty of 14 year old boy jokes it’s pretty amazing stuff.
The ball, which consists of a custom circuit board inside a 3D printed spherical shell (which is pretty cool all by itself) with lots of fun things on it, is completely controlled by a smartphone (in this case, an Android).
The software is still evolving rapidly but if you know anything about trying to control a spherical shell remotely, watching this video will make you pretty excited.
They are planning to release at least one Android based game by demo day along with an open API to let anyone write applications that incorporate the ball. I’m totally psyched to get my hands on one of these.
After a long and awesome day in Seattle ending with a great dinner with the BigDoor board at Emmer & Rye, I came back to my room and watched Episode 6 of this year’s TechStars Founders video serious. It was about the TechStars reunion event and included scenes from the world’s largest Ignite event as well as some beautiful Boulder pictures. It made me smile a big smile. Whenever I see stuff like this and reflect on what I spent my life doing, I’m just a happy little kid.
It is so nice to be back in Boulder after my 10 hours trip home from New York yesterday that included a lot of time on tarmacs, a diverted landing in Colorado Springs, and an I-25 road trip. I really want a personal portable teleportation machine.
I’m about to head out for a run but thought I’d toss up a few fun posts and videos that I saw when scanning through my email and news this morning.
First up is a story from my dad about why He Loves His Pogoplug. It turns out that he is Pogoplug customer #1 and he tells the story of it. He was also in my office last week when Dan and Jed Putterman (the Pogoplug co-founders) were there for a board meeting and they all had fun hanging out together. I love when technology and family cross over.
Next up is a great interview by Steve Bell with Vikas Reddy of Occipital. Late last week eBay announced that they had acquired the RedLaser product from Occipital. I subsequently crowned Occipital the Bootstrappers of TechStars Boulder class of 2008. And, if you watch the video carefully, you’ll see a Pogoplug to the left of Vikas in parts of the video.
Finally, here’s episode #5 of the TechStars Founders 2010 video series titled Risk Takers.
Another TechStars company has been acquired. Well – part of it has been acquired. Today it was announced that eBay has acquired the RedLaser product from Occipital. The Occipital guys tell the story in their post titled Arrival at the Launchpad.
Occipital’s founders – Jeff and Vikas – are the epitome of bootstrap entrepreneurs. Every TechStars class seems to have one and Occipital wins the bootstrapper of TechStars Boulder 2008 award. At the end of the program they had a few chances to raise money but weren’t happy with the valuations so decided to hunker down and just bootstrap things. They reinvented themselves several times until they launched RedLaser which has been a runaway hit (over two million copies sold to date.) As RedLaser took off, they had another set of interesting investment offers but no longer have any need for outside capital.
While they were on their way to creating an interesting mobile ecommerce company, they wanted to work on a much bigger set of technical challenges than RedLaser in computer vision and augmented reality, their areas of passion and technical expertise. In their travels they had a few inquires for an acquisition of the company, but really only wanted to sell the RedLaser product, not the entire company. Fortunately, eBay was very interested in the RedLaser product and the match worked extremely well for both parties.
Given this sale, I expect Occipital is now a long way from ever raising outside capital. Jeff and Vikas are now extremely well funded, are scaling up a very interesting team, and going after a huge vision. Oh – and RedLaser is now free in the iPhone AppStore. Congrats to Occipital, Vikas and Jeff!
Recently, TechStars began expanding outside the United States through its new TechStars Global Affiliate program. From experience, we know that investing internationally from the United States is difficult. However, the demand from entrepreneurs throughout the world for a TechStars-like program has been substantial. So, TechStars opted for an affiliate model which gives the local partner the benefits of working with TechStars such as process know-know and access to the TechStars network. TechStars Global Affiliates are independent entities but we intend to bring them together at least once a year and are in touch with them continuously to help out as we can.
The first TechStars Global Affiliate is Startupbootcamp which is based in Copenhagen but covers Northern Europe (from Scandinavia to the Baltics and even northern Germany and Poland). What does it take to be an affiliate? TechStars is a community-based model so a top requirement is a large local network of serial entrepreneurs. It’s also a chemistry thing and we have to feel that we share values (intellectual honesty, passion and simplicity). And of course you have to know a thing or two about entrepreneurship.
Applications for Startupbootcamp are open until the end of June. If you are in Northern Europe, take a look and apply now!
Your friends Jason and Brad make guest appearance, as does the infamous Do Not Call list.
One of my often quoted lines is that “fear is a useless emotion in business.” Sure – self doubt enters the picture on occasion and there are plenty of dark days, but why be fearful of anything? There’s just no value in it. Watch as some of the TechStars founders confront some new and exciting types of fear that includes some of Boulder’s majestic rocks.
The TechStars Boston 2010 program finished up the other day. I was at investor day and it was awesome to see how far the ten companies came over the last 90 days, especially since I was there on the first day of the program and really had a baseline perspective.
If you follow my twitter feed, you’ll notice that I’ve been posting a bunch of “Mar.gy links” from a company called Marginize. This is one of the companies that I was a mentor for this year and I love what they are doing and what their vision is. But they weren’t recently on CNN – and StarStreet Sports was. If you are into The World Cup, you’ll love this one.
And now, on the eve of TechStars Boston 2010 Demo Day, here is your weekly dose of The Founders video series. If you are going to be in Boston tonight at TechStars Demo Day, I’ll see you there!