8 Promising Startups from Alphalab #Demoday 2016.5

Alphalab is one of the first internationally recognized accelerators developing emerging software businesses. Twice a year they present their final pitches to an audience of friends, investors, and journalists. This is a recap of their second cohort for 2016; 8 Promising startups that hope to save time, money, and resources for their respective fields.

#AdFree: No monies were exchanged for this article. If a pitch sucks, we’ll tell you it sucks. 

tl;dr: Tells Uber/Lyft drivers where to go for higher pay.

Gridwise has a pilot program of about 450 Lyft/Uber/zTrip drivers in Pittsburgh collecting data on the Gridwise app. They use this data to predict ‘surge’ pricing, routes in high demand, and construction. This gives drivers more control over their earning as ride-shares aren’t sharing their data directly with drivers yet. Gridwise plans to expand into eight more cities but must move fast. Uber has piloted a similar feature at last year’s SXSW directing drivers preemptively to pickup areas with probably surge pricing. Also not sharing this information is one of the major tenants of why Uber lost a recent ‘self-employed vs employee‘ case in London. For now, if you’re a driver in Pittsburgh, install the app and earn a bit more cash.

tl;dr: Product placement agency for influential Twitch gamers.

Strix is on the forefront of a new industry called Influencer Marketing. Traditional advertising such as obstructive banner ads aren’t effective. Influencer Marketing and Native Advertising are emerging tactics where advertisers connect directly with content creators (like you or me) to share their product. Strix will prevent the next No Man’s SkyStrix gives gaming live streamers early access to beta and demos to show their audience. Currently they have a network of over 200 top streamers.

tl;dr: Scheduling (or the NoWait) for Childcare. 

If you think being an entrepreneur is hard, try being an entrepreneurial mom. Now you’re facing one of the largest issues in the new freelance economy: finding childcare. Flexable hopes to be the gateway to find childcare on call. The platform is still in closed beta and no screenshots were provided, but the team does have a track record with launching the Whetstone Workgroup co-working space.

tl;dr: Online market for better translation for better SEO.

As the world grows smaller the translation gap looks larger. International trade has left to such mistranslated phrases as “Penis iPhone” and “PooPoo Shakes”. Yes, these were used in the presentation. UTranslated is a direct marketplace connecting  professional translators and brands. So far their program is nothing to scoff at with pilots with Unilever and Pactera. Sadly, in the perfect UTranslated world, comical headlines would all but disappear.

tl;dr: Scheduling (or the NoWait) for Stylists.

Looking sharp for an important meeting, date, or event can often become a hassle. The MyStylist App hopes to let you schedule a stylist appointment even bringing them to your own home. For small businesses and stylists (which are usually independent contractors) this can help build their book of clients and establish predictability to their small business.

tl;dr: Mentors that guide your to finish online courses.

Have you ever signed up for a free online course and not completed it. Don’t feel guilty. 90% is the typical drop-off for students. Mentorscape adds social accountability in the form of mentors that guide you through a course. As for experts, it gives you a chance to polish your skills and earn some cash by teaching others.

tl;dr: Live trading during games for fantasy teams.

Think you can be a better coach? Prove it. Go on fantasy sports. Yet even then, there’s a problem. Most fantasy sports sites lock rosters in stone at the start of a season. Sqwad lets Fantasy Sports players change their roster during the game. On average they’re seeing 20 player changes during a game. Also, 58% of their membership play more than one game a night. Their pilot with the WNBA was a huge success and they’re signing on new partners. While I don’t follow sports, this was the best pitch of the night. 

tl;dr: Listing service for DIY landlords.

If you’re ever dreamed of financial freedom, land-ownership may the path your imagine. However, that path is difficult. Unlike stocks, tenants call you up at 2am when the shower is broken. This is a problem for the 20M units run by DIY landlords across the USA. Tenants can suck. There is also a bunch of turnover. You’ll have to evict them. Nothing is simple, but IKOS is hoping to save you some time if you own a small rental. IKOS syndicates availability listings and using real estate trends for predictive pricing.

tl;dr: Shared economy for expensive lab equipment. 

When you’re a kid, you think a scientist gets a lab and coat. The lab coat is $24.95, the Atomic Force Microscope is more like $495,995. The problem is obvious: Lab coats should cost more. Well, technically, the AFM will only be used so much within a given day and the lab coat is a 24/7 style. As with expensive lab equipment purchased by companies and universities there is a lot of unused time. Atumate brings the shared economy to expensive lab equipment. The app lists niche and specialty equipment at rentals a fraction of the price. So the next time you want to sequence your DNA or record particles on the subatomic level, you could Atumate it. #ProTip: Put your name on the first slide of a pitch, especially if your company’s name autocorrects.