MuckerLabs Holds Inaugural Demo Day, First Look at 9 LA-based Startups

Author: Geoff Simon
Published: April 27, 2012 at 9:31 pm

MuckerLabs held it's inaugural demo day yesterday in Santa Monica, culminating 3-months of hard work put in by the first 9 companies to complete the accelerator, mentoring and funding program. The companies that presented ran the gamut, from big data marketing retention technology to physical products like canvas prints to premium private aviation services. Each one talked about the unique problems and markets they are looking to serve and how they plan to solve specific problems within industries ripe for change.

Here is a brief overview of the companies that presented along with some notes and general business descriptions. Each presentation lasted 10 minutes and were done in groups of three.

  • The company aims to  be the default service by which consumers can buy actual prints of their favorite Instagram artists, or their own photos delivered directly as ready-to-hang canvas prints. They had several hanging throughout the space and they looked great. For artists, it's equal to having your own personal gallery, with each getting a unique gallery URL they can use for marketing. They currently generate over 1Mil unique visits/month and have over 20k artists from around the world.
  • Retention Science: The company uses big data to power a proprietary profiling engine which allows SMB's to automate their retention marketing. By focusing on increasing the lifetime value of already existing customers Retention Science can personalize retention strategies and re-engage customers at the right time with the right offer.
  • Lifecrowd: This company has already launched in several cities which was covered here, and aims to expand with it's recent round of initial $5mil in funding. Lifecrowd provides an alternative to the same old bar scene and helps local residents find offline social activities or volunteer opportunities in their area. Everything from Sushi making to dodgeball, line dancing and much more.
  • ecinity: The company takes advantage of artificial intelligence, or AI, and has built a service that is self-learning and automates local online marketing without paying for advertising or lifting a finger according to their marketing material. The company is in closed private beta with 500 customers.
  • Penango: This company is in a very unique position, as it's the only cross-platform, cross-browser encryption solution using standards based (S/MIME) technology. They currently have 5k seats deployed with a backlog of 30,000 seats including the Department of Defense. According to analysts at TechNavio, governments and enterprises are expected to spend over $6bil/year on cloud encryption and security. Penango has 6 patents issued and pending.
  • Laffster: The company bridges the gap between advertisers looking to shift their $60bil TV budget online with actual quality comedic content. The bulk of the comedic content on the web right now is not something advertisers would support. The example given was a lolcat video of kittens chasing a laser pointer, and while this is funny what Laffster is doing is much richer. With comedians like Louis CK, Jon Stewart and other original content they will be distributing content via YouTube channels and their own socially-driven web application. 
  • OttoLikes Labs: The companies flagship product is called VouchTree and allows you to get the benefit of a personalized recommendation engine like netflix's "you might also like" feature without having to go through the up-front time of rating a bunch of items and answering a lot of questions. This isn't just movies though, it's all types of offline products and online services. VouchTree aims to be the recommendation and discovery engine for your lifestyle consumption decisions. This is done with a lot of technology including natural language processing, collaborative filtering and AI as well as the ability to aggregate your social data from 3rd party sites.
  • Financial: Quite simply this solves the problem of, "which credit card should i use to maximize my rewards?" Whether it's miles, rewards, cash back or savings, allows you to use one branded Visa payment card and dynamically routes transactions across your other existing cards to maximize the reward and savings.For credit card companies they can create targeted campaigns to shift "wallet share" in their favor by providing savings for check-ins. likes, follows or email subscriptions and more.
  • Surf Air: This company launched not too long ago on the west coast flying mainly between Los Angeles and Palo Alto and has already sold half of it's 500 available memberships. For a flat fee, $1000/month members can access private jets and fly as much as they want while avoiding TSA hassles, check bag fees and a generally lousy commercial flying experience.


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Article Author: Geoff Simon

Geoff Simon is currently the owner/operator of Simon Search Marketing, a small search marketing firm in Los Angeles, CA. Previously Geoff worked in a content optimization, search analyst role at Disney Interactive Media Group, Intermark Group and G2 Direct & Digital. …

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