St. Louis Startup Scene: Norse Corp's New Partnership With McAfee Security, TuneSpeak Raising Its Voice And Aisle411 Fully Digitizes Shopping With Estimote
Get Me a Jury, Stat
Winners of the St. Louis County Economic Council’s Startup Challenge were announced at the recently-held Startup Connection event. Taking first prize is Juristat, one of the city’s hottest startups founded less than two years ago by Drew Winship. The company—whose slogan is “Helping lawyers predict the future”—develops data tools that help provide valuable litigation intelligence to attorneys. The company gets $50,000 along with a package of goodies, including free office space at a St. Louis County incubator.
Taking second place and $30,000 in the Startup Challenge is Young Inventions LLC, which created the Sinek System, a kitchen appliance that allows consumers to pour a mug of fresh craft beer from craft breweries across the nation. Observable Networks, an enterprise network security and management startup, took home third place and $20,000. Both companies also get a package of services.
Clean Up In aisle411
The indoor retail mapping platform aisle411 announced yesterday a partnership with Estimote, which develops sensor-based analytics and engagement platforms to enhance the in-store shopping experience for both shoppers and retailers. By combining aisle411’s mobile indoor maps and inventory search feature with Estimote’s indoor location technology, the companies can fully digitize retail shopping. “Our technology puts a store’s entire inventory in the palm of a customer’s hand,” says aisle411 CEO Nathan Pettyjohn. The partnered technology is currently being beta-tested in major home improvement and sporting good retailers across the U.S., with plans to scale nationally in the first quarter of 2014.
Capital Innovators is accepting applications for its spring 2014 class, now through November 15. The accelerator program invests $50,000 in four or five startups chosen for each class for a total of $500,000 every year. Capital Innovator’s portfolio includes 29 companies that have gone on to raise more than $38 million in follow-on funding, including such St. Louis stalwarts as Bonfyre, TrakBill, LockerDome and aisle411. Their newest class—recently announced—includes Pixel Press, HealthyMe, Kingdom Scene, Symvato and RoverTown.
The cyber security startup based in St Louis, Norse Corp, has announced a partnership with McAfee, one of the world’s leading computer security software companies. Along with five other partners, Norse will join the McAfee Security Innovation Alliance, a program that will provide security solutions that maximize the value of existing customer investments. The partnership means Norse will have access to McAfee’s mammoth customer base. The company—co-founded in 2010 by Saint Louis University graduate Sam Glines and Tommy Stiansen, a Norwegian computer scientist and computer security expert—expects increased revenue in 2014 as a result of the partnership.
Name That Tune
TuneSpeak was named one of the most promising new companies in the music-tech world at the SF MusicTech Summit in San Francisco. The band-to-fan loyalty program enables bands to create contests where fans earn points through participation, such as watching music videos, listening to tunes and sharing a band’s content on social media. The company—founded by brothers Tom and Rick Pernikoff—is increasing its website visitors by an impressive quarter over quarter rate of 268 percent. TuneSpeak will remain in beta testing for the rest of the year, with a public rollout likely in 2014. The MusicTech Summit isn’t the first time the company has been recognized for their promise. The company is a graduate of Capital Innovators’ accelerator program including a $50,000 investment, as well as a recent $500,000 venture capital investment led by Cultivation Capital.
St. Louis startup TrakBill has launched a new mobile app allowing users to track legislative bills in real time wherever they are. The app—built in concert with a contract iOS developer at the University of Illinois (founder Steven Marciniak’s alma mater)—is currently available only for iPads and iPhones with an Android version expected later in the year. Currently, users of the app can track bills in real time in Missouri, Illinois and the U.S. Congress, with more states available by the end of this month. At the time of writing, TrakBill (but not the app) also operates in Kansas, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Virginia. The company plans to expand soon into California, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina and Washington, with the lofty goal of all 50 states by the end of the year.