LOUD Capital and Chicago Bulls Announce Semifinalists Featuring Collective Graduate GamerJibe

LOUD Capital, an early-stage alternative investment venture capital firm, in partnership with the Chicago Bulls announced today the 20 semifinalists for the first-ever Chicago Bulls Venture Competition, powered By LOUD Capital (CBVC), a pitch challenge that will provide a platform for start-up entrepreneurs with the opportunity to prove the worth of their business idea and value to the Chicago community.

Making it to the semifinal round are 20 submissions that were evaluated based on: strength of management team; value proposition/unique advantage; relevance of market identification/target audience; scalability; intangibles and funding readiness; impact on the Chicago community; and clarity and presentation. 

“Knowing that venture capital can be a very powerful and empowering pathway, we are always intentional about looking at historically underserved founders. I’m proud to say these 20 semifinalists are diverse and represent many different communities.”

Dr. Navin Goyal, co-founder and CEO of LOUD Capital.
  • Eight of the 20 companies (40%) have at least one minority founder or co-founder 
  • Six of the 20 companies (30%) have at least one female founder or co-founder 

Collective graduate of the second cohort of our program in Austin, TX, GamerJibe finds themselves among incredible company as result of the recognition.

GamerJibe is a platform for gamers and influencers to interact online. It enables gamers, game creators, and influencers to easily interact and do business with each other. GamerJibe allows online gamers to discover new games and other players, play games online with new friends, discuss topics such as gameplay strategy, and attend online virtual events.

Further Roster of the Chicago Bulls Venture Competition:

Charge Running
Charge Running is an app designed to enhance the running experience.

PromoShare
PromoShare is a peer-to-peer, word-of-mouth rewards platform for live events and brands.

FanFood
FanFood is a mobile ordering platform dedicated to enhancing the guest experience at live events.

TappedIn
TappedIn is a tech-enabled marketing and analytics company that connects consumers and the food and beverage industry at the critical point of purchase.

SplitGym
SplitGym is a peer-to-peer marketplace to buy and sell unused memberships at fitness studios and gyms.

Fanisko
Fanisko offers a one-stop fan engagement platform that helps brands increase mobile fan retention by using innovative digital engagement techniques while increasing revenue opportunities.

Pepper
Pepper is a connected cooking and nutrition platform. The Pepper smart kitchen scale, which offers integration with smart speaker Amazon Alexa, and guides the user with meal preparation and nutrition management.

Vous Vitamin
Vous Vitamin offers dietary supplements that use survey data and lifestyle information to create bespoke vitamin regimens for users. 

Spotivity
Spotivity is a dynamic and interactive search, mapping, and education app that helps enable users to maximize after-school time.

Gather Voices
Gather Voices offers software that automates creation, management, and publishing of digital videos.

Bitewell
Bitewell is a tech platform that connects users with meals that match their macronutrient and dietary preferences and fitness goals.

Tipoff
Tipoff is a multicultural digital team wordplay game. Revenue comes from app store sales of the game.

Gameday
Gameday allows fans to buy and sell ownership in new and existing sports teams through a tokenized trading exchange.

Honest Game
More than 800,000 high school students each year find themselves academically ineligible for collegiate athletics.

Careband
Careband is a safety and security system for patients with dementia that provides caretakers the ability to track the location of the individual.

PeopleVine
PeopleVine is a brand engagement and rewards platform with a portal that gives customers a place to view activities, number of visits, and any earned points/dollars.

Aurora Tights
Aurora Tights is an athletic brand that sells tights in an array of skin tones.

Good Neighbor
Good Neighbor is a mobile platform that seeks to bolster communication and collaboration among neighbors.

StreamLayer
StreamLayer is an audience engagement company focused on changing the way we watch live video.

“After an overwhelming level of interest in the first Chicago Bulls Venture Competition, we are impressed by the talented group of Chicagoland entrepreneurs named as semifinalists.”

Matt Kobe, vice president of business strategy and analytics, Chicago Bulls.
  • One winner will receive a $50,000 investment from LOUD Capital as well as legal, promotional, business development services that will be issued in phases. 
  • Each round of the challenge will be judged by Chicagoland professionals who have expertise in an array of sectors, including start-up development, professional sports, business, community engagement, and government.
  • Five finalists and one winner will be announced at halftime during a Bulls home game at the United Center on March 10. 

The remaining four contenders will have the option to work with Chicago-area startup incubator 1871 to continue to implement the content of their business plans to get their plans off the ground.

Blended Sense wins ‘Startup of the Year’ at Capital Factory’s annual Venture Summit

Blended Sense, a graduate of Collective’s inaugural cohort in Austin, TX, is a platform serving local small business owners and creative professionals. Founded in early 2019, the company made its way from our MediaTech incubator to the halls of the Capital Factory Accelerator late shortly after graduation. Its founders Abigail Rose, Albert Baez, and Georgina Elizondo Griffin are leading the way in content creation and media tech innovation.

Capital Factory’s 10th Anniversary celebrated their work with a Venture Summit recognizing its originating founders as well as their network of mentors, investors, and entrepreneurs, at the heart of downtown Austin’s startup community. The full-day summit featured a fireside chat with Ted Wang of Cowboy Ventures and Kerry Rupp of TrueWealth Ventures, a keynote from 1800-Contacts Founder (and Napoleon Dynamite producer), Jonathan Coon, and an acknowledgement of Startup of the Year.

“THEY AREN’T JUST AMAZING AND KIND PEOPLE, BUT THEY ARE ALSO HARD WORKERS LOOKING TO SOLVE A PROBLEM THAT SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE. IT MAKES ME ECSTATIC TO SEE SOMETHING LIKE…

BLENDED SENSE.”

Josh Baer; Founder, Capital Factory

The company seeks to match the right creative professionals to the right projects locally in order to produce and distribute quality content, quickly. They saw that the creative supply chain of today’s marketing sphere is outdated and disconnected in a time when creative services are in high demand because content has rapidly become the cornerstone of marketing for every industry. Quality creative services are not available to the small business owner and creative professionals are undervalued by traditional agencies.

Blended Sense is here to change all of that and more.

For more information about Blended Sense including: how to partner with the brand, purchase their services, or work within their network of freelancers, please contact [email protected] or connect with them online @blendedsense & @blendedsense.io

Collective Takes Home A Scootee!

There are few awards as coveted as the Golden Scooter. Artisan crafted by the recherché Alexandria Marr, Scootee holds it’s place among Oscar, Nobel, and Palme d’Or.

Collective rode home on the inaugural Golden Scooter.

Born of impassioned startup advisors and program Directors from throughout Texas, Marr took upon herself the mission of creating an experience in which the tables are turned for startup founders. Seeing that mission through, supported by DecentBridgepoint Consulting, and Galvanize, Marr found herself at the microphone in front of one of Austin Startup Week’s most notable crowds.

Accelerator & Program Reverse-Pitch

16 programs took the stage throughout the evening but only one would find itself in possession of the first Scootee in history.

The evening was genuinely and incredible and collective effort to help entrepreneurs better know the programs and accelerators that might be a best fit for what they’re doing. While 16 took the stage, Central Texas and the global hub of innovation that Austin is becoming, is now home to some 25 startup oriented curricula and platforms designed specifically with new founders, new ventures, and innovation in mind.

Founders are drilled on their pitch deck, their elevator pitch, and their presentation skills as they plan, prepare, and practice, to bring their ventures to life. Austin Startup Week’s Reverse-Pitch gala put the programs on stage to pitch so that a room of hundreds of founders could hear first hand how the programs work and what they do best for entrepreneurs.

Alexandria Marr could have turned to no one better than Roman Gonzalez, founder of Gardenio, to share the stage in hosting the celebration. As the lights dimmed and hush lulled over the crowd, a spotlight found each of these programs in the hotseat:

  • Tarmac TX – Fostering early-stage startups offering science and technology-based solutions for social and environmental issues.
  • SputnikATX – The accelerator that funds maker-founders; helping people reach their full potential by creating an ecosystem to attract hard-working nerds, connect them with investors, and train them for success.
  • SKU – THE consumer products accelerator; educating and equiping companies with market-validated products for growth into world class brands.
  • Techstars – Over 1,600 companies developed into a combined market capitalization of $18.2bn through this worldwide network.
  • Capital Factory – Focused on helping startups raise funding and increase customer growth by providing coworking space, hosting credits, a Startup Evangelist to advocate for your startup, and access to a mentor network in Texas.
  • Founder Institute – The world’s largest pre-seed accelerator for aspiring and idea-stage entrepreneurs up to the challenge; a comprehensive program to launch a startup with a global network of entrepreneurs to help you be successful
  • SEAL– Austin Technology Incubator’s Student Entrepreneur Acceleration and Launch program which picks the most promising startups emerging from the wide range of entrepreneurial programs to help them confront the next Go / No-Go decision. 
  • DivInc – Bridging the gap between underrepresented entrepreneurs and the resources they need to build profitable, high-growth companies.
  • MassChallenge– A global, zero-equity startup accelerator that has accelerated more than 1,900 startups that have raised more than $4.3 billion in funding and generated $2.5 billion in revenue.
  • Newchip – Making the knowledge, the network, and the communities that develop around strong accelerator programs available to everyone regardless of stage and location in the world.
  • Build Sec Foundry – A long-term incubator helping founders launch security product startups with a community of security professionals and entrepreneurs that provide teams space, mentorship, and access to the most critical services a company needs.
  • Quake Capital – A seed stage venture capital fund and growth accelerator program with funding specific to companies that come through the program and are about more than just money.
  • Impact Hub Accelerator – A free acceleration program based in Austin, TX that develops and brings to market a cohort of solutions focused primarily and purposefully on affordability and workforce development.
  • Texas Venture Labs – Accelerating startups in taking their innovations to market and transforming graduate students into entrepreneurs and business leaders.
  • Bunker Labs – Helping veteran entrepreneurs and military spouses find the quickest route to a successful business; inspiring and equipping with right training and connections to grow those businesses.
  • Collective – Your venture developed from idea to incorporation, in a media and technology focused incubator designed with you in mind; helping you realize the full potential of your talent whether you’re an artist or entrepreneur.
Marr and Nelson??

As Bunker Labs left the stage, a younger, svelte and sophisticated, Willie Nelson stepped to a microphone, guitar in hand. Surely, this must be the latest Health and Pharma program, introducing the latest innovation in aging and stem cell / DNA technology.

And has his lips parted, angels sang, and it was questionable whether or not this was Willie with an overdose of Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer.

John Zozzaro at the microphone introduced the program of which we’re so personally vested and passionate, that artists and entrepreneurs can meet in the middle through technology and in media innovation, as a collective, we help one another thrive.

Zozzaro struck a chord that night in Austin; a hat tip to the storytellers and songwriters who remind us that even a startup is a matter of passion, creativity, and narrative that makes us sing.

As though everything was right in the world, Impact Hub’s Accelerator, the program through which our Collective was born so that we might focus on impacting our workforce and future, took second. And as you roam the streets of Austin considering that Bird or Lyft, or as you join us in Collective, you might catch a glimpse of that golden scooter; unparalleled artistry and ingenuity thanks to the entrepreneurs of Texas.

Learn more about what we’re doing here

The Inaugural MediaTech Collective

Earlier this year, Serenity Gibbons, for Entrepreneur, penned a wonderfully straightforward look at why startups should look to Accelerators.  It was the sub-headline that caught my attention most, “thrive with a little help from your friends.”

Innovation Together
  1. Comprehensive support
  2. A full roster of activities
  3. Investor access
  4. Accelerated knowledge
  5. A gateway to future customers
  6. Skills development
  7. Risk management
  8. A bigger-picture, long-term view
  9. A springboard
  10. An accelerator for everyone
  11. Motivation and morale
  12. Continued support long after the program ends

Spot on.  

Purposeful, well developed, and intentional startup programs are incredible resources for founders, and as we looked to our own passion and experience in MediaTech Ventures, we wanted to identify how we can serve entrepreneurs, investors, and Accelerators.

Yes, serve Accelerators.  

There is a seed to entrepreneurship; a catalyst which enables our economy to create opportunity, innovation, and jobs.   That seed is in shared knowledge and access – the means to take the risks involved in starting something.

Two Decades Ago

From AOL’s keyword to Yahoo’s directory and acquisition of Broadcast.com, and then from Google’s search engine to Facebook’s social network, the early innovations of the internet changed everything about how we work, and gave rise to Apple’s iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, Instagram, iTunes, Amazon’s Fire and Alexa technologies and more.

In that revolution, our media industry has been wrestling with change and the rapid pace of disruption.  Most significantly, too many music, film, advertising, news, and other media professionals have been left to struggle with how things work today – how to thrive as a working professional and how to succeed as an entrepreneur.

That was our sweet spot.

In looking to how to serve our friends at WMG BoostCapital Records and gBETAGener8torComcast NBCUniversal’s LIFT Labs with Techstars and Techstars MusicAbbey Road Red2112Wallifornia MusicTechSXSW Pitch, and other inflection points for media entrepreneurs, it became clear that our work, our specialty, with startups and venture capital, was in incubating founders and ideas to become enduring companies.

With the incredible support of Austin’s Impact Hub, and their Workforce Development Accelerator, in 2018, our Collective media incubator was born and this month, our cohort graduates.

Why Start in Austin?

Have you noticed how substantially Google, Facebook, and Apple have grown in this part of the world?  With all the talk of startups and technology moving to Texas, we couldn’t help but uncover that the great majority of migration (of both people and capital) is in media.

Understandably so, over the decades, Austin’s Live Music Capital has evolved to being more of a Creative Technology Capital, as filmmakers and musicians alike collaborate with the brilliant engineers and architects calling Austin home.

And it was in this convergence of ideas, resources, specialized mentors, and companies, that we realized the best we can do for startups is take that idea of incubation and acceleration and specialize it: focus everything on the media industry and media innovation so that those benefits Serenity mentioned would be even more substantially available: more comprehensive support, relevant investor access, domain specific knowledge, and continued support for the entirety of our careers in media.

Thanks to a tremendous collaboration with Johnny Kelly and Work Well Coworking East Austin, and the operating support of Austin Larson and Northshore Media Productions’ Kevin Chin and Keith Chen, the curriculum, teachers, and program to develop the future of our media industry is live, through Austin, Texas.

Collective Media Innovation

May 30th, with our friends at Impact Hub, our first cohort of incubated MediaTech startups will share the stage with Hugh Forrest, CPO SXSW, Suzanne Malone, Founder Strategies for Small Business, Brendon Anthony, Director of the Texas Music Office, and our guests in venture capital, to introduce what they’ve set out to accomplish.

JonesSpross

With the incredible support and experience of Imaginnovate and Jones & Spross, as well as teachers including (ready for this? …) Ricky Holm, Founder Chocolate Milk & DonutsErin Reilly, Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at UT Moody College of CommunicationsElijah May, Founder The Experience FirmNaji Kelley, Founder BLNDED MediaBen Faubian, Creative/Art Director Reactive CanvasGavin Gillas, Managing Partner YGC CapitalKory Jones, CoFounder ReillyWorksChris Turnley, VP Retail UFCU,  Elijah Whites, CoFounder Serving SocialCorey Butler, Founder Author.io, Kristine Bryant, Founder Gladiator Consulting, Frank CoppersmithMike Svatek of Rivet Works, CEO Smarter RealityNathan Ryan, CEO Blue Sky PartnersTed Cohen, Head of Corp Dev MediaTech Ventures, Cara McCarty, CoFounder Code PilotAndy Hart, COO MediaTech Ventures, Austin Kueffner, CoFounder Alice DesignElise Krentzel of Nomad Sound, Erin Moore, Executive Director Human Capital SolutionsMoby (Not that Moby), Founder The Fire ShowAlik Mock, Founder GenwiseRob Schmidt, CoFounder Alice DesignEthan Parker, Founder/CEO TrebleMike Erwin, Founder/GP Ecliptic Capital, and Aaron Perman, VP S3 Ventures ……… we’re excited to introduce…

  • Blended Sense, a creative intelligence technology and SaaS product for content production and management. Blended Sense creates digital experiences that connect those who need consistent, quality, content to those who make it locally.  Founded by Abigail Rose and Albert Baez, the team’s combined expertise in tech for local business and the creative arts and production industries (TV/Film/Performance) revealed a major opportunity to transform the space and bring new value to the creative economy.
  • Jeremy Rashad Brown has a mission to provide a viable platform for underrepresented and marginalized artists to authentically tell their stories through various artistic mediums; Brown Boy Productions is live to do just that, primarily through film and streaming content.
  • EEVET customers feel the pain of an empty venue which is caused by a lack of access to diverse talent. Founded by Ben Hodge and Thomas Schneider in San Antonio, they were involved in Nashville’s Project Music incubator and when Nicholas Ramos joined the team, they made their time to Austin to join us. Providing an AI that puts artists in direct contact with booking managers, while holding payments for events in escrow, they’re set about helping artists get paid.
  • Flash Data Transfer is invested in a GUI to make their OEM licensing of technology from Transfersoft, a high speed data transfer protocol, easier to use.  Founded by Thomas Sahs, their solution is 10X faster and 10X cheaper than what’s currently on the market; delivering a secure, high speed large file data technology in demand in entertainment, oil and gas, medical, storage, and video games.
  • Front 7 Rush is a sports media company founded in Houston and Austin, TX by Vince Ingram and Bijan Kelley, with Candice Landry. The company engages the armchair expert via a podcast, online community, and several novel defense-focused fantasy football games with an emphasis in the platform on “All Defense, All the Time!” The launch of our first game, Total Defense, garnered the attention and encouragement of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.
  • Rob Campanell started his media career as a television producer in the early 90s and in 1994, he relocated to Austin to produce “Cyberia” at the University of Texas. The UT student and community television station was just to starting stream its channel over the internet using a video conference technology called CU-SeeMewhich was developed at Cornell University. The combination of VR and video streaming was an exciting vision for the future of media. That vision is in Virtual Idols, a production studio oriented at closing the cultural and language gaps between the United States and Asia by enabling in the U.S. the augmented reality character development so prevalent overseas.

As part of the program, we were also host to what Brandon Thurman, through ROOG, has been building through the University of Texas’ MSTC program for entrepreneurs, as we explored how what we’re doing can apply directly to University programs and media and communication colleges and students.

Join us in Austin, the evening of May 30th, as we bring these companies to life and look to serving more entrepreneurs, investors, and Accelerators throughout the world.

Collective is rolling out to other cities now.  If you’re interested in joining us as a Director, as a teacher, in sponsoring your local community, or as a founder where you live, let’s talk.