Edit: added beta code for Adapt.ly
This year, it’s different.
For the past three summers Dreamit Ventures has incubated early-stage startups at the University City Science Center, giving each startup a small bit of seed capital while providing advice from some of the brightest entrepreneurial minds in the city.
Startups like SCVNGR, Seatgeek and Notehall all have roots in the incubator.
This year, DreamIt upped the ante by partnering with Brooklyn-based Startl to incubate more companies than ever and DreamIt is starting to receive national attention as one of the best early stage technology incubators in the country.
Part One : Giveloop, Adapt.ly, Yunno
Part Two: 8tysix, Campus Sponsorship
Part Three : The rest
“One barometer [for the city] is DreamIt,” says Gil Beyda, founder of an early stage technology-focused venture capital firm Genacast Ventures. “Year after year, I’ve seen better companies and better entrepreneurs coming out of there.”
The first two DreamIt seasons culminated in Demo Day, an all-day event where companies show off their wares in the hopes of attracting attention and investment — see last year’s coverage — and that much will stay the same this year when the companies gather on August 11th.
Technically Philly stopped by the incubator last week to get a sneak peak of what some of the companies are working on, and five of 14 were ready to offer a small preview of what they will be presenting.
In the first of three parts, we look at Yunno, Adapt.ly and Give Loop. Tomorrow we will preview two additional companies and on Friday we’ll round up those who didn’t demo their product for us.
Nik Sethi – Electrical Engineering, Computer Science
Garrett Ullom – Computer Science
Keven Lu – Industrial Engineering
According to Nik Sethi, the idea for Adapt.ly is all thanks to an intern.
At one of his old jobs, he watched as an MBA intern was tasked with compiling analytics from the company’s social media campaigns into a spreadsheet to be presented to staff.
“She was controlling an important part of business and doing it in a non-intellectual manner,” says Sethi.
While other advertising channels such as search often have complicated tools to streamline the marketing process, social media marketers have largely been left behind. So Sethi and his co-founders are seeking to bridge the gap with Adapt.ly, a web application that helps businesses manage marketing campaigns across multiple social networking sites.
“The fragmentation in social networks is enormous while search advertising really only has three [Google, Yahoo and Bing],” says Sethi.
Currently in private beta, Adapt.ly allows users to create one advertisement and automatically syndicate it to numerous sources including Facebook, LinkedIn and Reddit.
Adapt.ly will then aggregate the analytics allowing the user to “adapt” campaigns on the fly, removing the need to log in to each social network individually. Using the provided analytics, users can A/B test campaigns across networks and make changes from within Adapt.ly’s dashboard.
If you’d like to take Adapt.ly for a spin, use the beta code “technicallyphilly” upon registration.
The business model: Adapt.ly takes a percentage of each ad click.
Eli Gassert – CEO, Reading, Pa.
Phil Hartmann – CTO, Willow Grove, Pa. via Chicago.
Andres Garcia – Designer, Washington D.C.
After being rejected from last year’s DreamIt class, Eli Gassert, Philt Hartmann and Andres Garcia returned in 2010 with a “social engagement platform” that facilitates contests for brands looking for another marketing channel.
“We want to take that status update and run a contest with it,” says Gassert who was also behind the isNSFW URL shortener.
For example, Chicago Bulls swingman Kyle Korver is using Yunno to ask users to submit their favorite Chicago meal for a chance to win $200.
After entering the contest, Yunno then asks users to become a fan of Korver’s Facebook page and offers the option to push the contest entry to Facebook while awarding Foursquare-like badges for entering.
The business model: All of the company’s current clients are free trials, but the company sees the pricing being based on a cost-per-engagement model. Yunno is currently chasing Zappos, Urban Outfitters and other clients.
Todd Spitz – Business. Columbia University student via Connecticut
Brian Foo – Programmer. Columbia student via North Jersey
The guys at Giveloop think the donation process is antiquated, slow and — worst of all — lacking accountability.
“Younger donors demand more transparency when they donate,” says Spitz.
Giveloop’s platform allows users to create donation campaigns in seconds, allowing users to donate money to specific aspects of a larger campaign. For example, our friends at politics news site PA2010 have already set up a page where users donate to fund specific editorial projects that the site is working on. Each campaign also has a donation feed where users can comment on donations.
After an item receives enough donations it is marked as “completed” and the company can send proof of completion to donors.
The business model: Giveloop takes a five percent fee that campaigns can choose to pass on to donors. According to the company, 90 percent of PA2010 users have chosen to absorb the donation fees.
Tomorrow: Part Two – Two additional companies.
Friday: Part Three – The rest.