By Aaron Sekhri
StartX, a Stanford-founded startup incubator, hosted a demo day on Saturday for its alumnus companies from summer sessions past, including the new startup class of 2012.
Held at the Arrillaga Alumni Center, the event allowed startups to showcase their products to the community, journalists and the public. Below are four companies that stood out for their ingenuity, potential and innovativeness this weekend.
addy presents a new way to catalogue addresses through URLs. Company founder Khaled Naim MBA ’13 argued that it makes little sense to keep using our “archaic, broken street-addressing systems” given the possibilities offered by current web and mapping infrastructure.
The service allows the user to create location tabs, or “addys,” for certain places or events, and present an additional layer on top of existing mapping infrastructure.
According to Naim, the Stanford community has already embraced addy’s technology.
“Many people around Stanford have been using addy to share the location of their tailgate, event or meet-up locations,” he said. “Some businesses around campus are also using addy to help visitors find [them].”
Founded in April 2012 and due for release in November, Pixlee takes advantage of the vast number of user-generated photos in any industry–for example, entertainment, sports or fashion–and uses them to promote for the company and ultimately collect information to help brands understand their customers better.
“User-generated photos are fundamentally changing the way the brands are perceived and Pixlee is going to be at the center of that,” said Pixlee CEO Kyle Wong ’12. “By putting intelligence around these photos we are creating the technology that is going to democratize brands.”
Pixlee has already worked with a number of pilot clients including the San Francisco 49ers and the Stanford Alumni Association. The company is still in its infancy but represents movement in a largely undeveloped market.
Boosted Boards motorizes a Stanford classic–the longboard. The three founders met while pursuing their master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, beginning their venture in earnest during the summer of 2011. Boasting their creation of “the world’s lightest electric vehicle,” the group behind Boosted Boards aims to address “the last-mile problem in transportation,” situations in which a distance is too close to drive to but too far away to walk to. The longboard, powerful enough to brake and go up hills, has found early success, exceeding its Kickstarter aim of $100,000 by almost 400 percent.
MindSumo presents a platform through which college students can demonstrate their creativity and problem-solving skills by allowing businesses to post real-world problems for students to tackle. For students, MindSumo is a place to “prove themselves to employers in a low pressure environment” and take the abstractions of the classroom to the real world.
Co-founders Trent Hazy ’09 and Rohan Puranik ’09 believe that the platform can be a boon to students who wish to invest their creative energies in non-academic areas. The pair claims that MindSumo has thousands of users across 20 colleges solving a host of innovative projects. An interesting example is Reocology, a resource renewal company that challenged MindSumo users to dispose of thousands of tons of glass. Proposals ranged from the artistic, like creating enormous glass art installations, to the scientific, like combing the glass with asphalt to pave roads and runways.