Abril Plug and Play Accelerator announces 2nd batch of startups!

Cabe na Mala, Fleety, Nutrisoft and Lotebox will participate in the six-month program, which includes a trip to Silicon Valley

São Paulo, January 12, 2015- Abril Plug and Play, a startup accelerator created by the Abril Group together with Plug and Play in Silicon Valley, has announced the four companies selected for its second batch. Cabe na Mala, Fleety, Lotebox and Nutrisoft will go through a six-month acceleration program, including a trip to Silicon Valley, the global center for technological innovation and high-impact entrepreneurship.
“It was a challenging selection process. The level of the finalists was very high. We are confident that those chosen will take off during the acceleration period,” says Roger Tamassia, Executive Director of Abril Plug and Play. The accelerator doubled the number of entries, from 250 in the first selection to 500 in the present one.

Entrepreneurs receive R$ 140 thousand as seed investment to develop their businesses. They are incubated inside Abril’s building in São Paulo, from January to March of 2015. During this period, they take part in workshops and meetings with mentors from several specialties, with great experience in the market. “One of our differentiators is of being very close to and intensely monitoring these companies. We entered the business together with entrepreneurs, making a difference in each project,” explains Tamassia.

After the incubation period in Brazil, the teams travel to the Plug and Play campus in Sunnyvale, California. According to the accelerator director, the immersion in Silicon Valley brings several advantages: “The international experience is very important to the maturity of the projects. It also puts the entrepreneurs definitely at the same pace as the best startups in the world. And for those seeking internationalization, this is also a chance to understand the market and to look for investment.”

Apart from the cash prize and the exchange experience, the program offers disclosure at the Abril’s brands, products and services focused on startups, and facilitated networking with potential customers and partners.

At the end of the process, the companies present their solutions to investors in two Demo Days, one in Brazil and the other in the United States. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I hope they enjoy it as much as we did, which generated great fruits to us,” says Carlos Mira, CEO for TruckPad, a startup accelerated in the first class that was the winner of the event in the Silicon Valley in December with over 30 other companies from all over the world.
Abril Plug and Play will open the selection process for its third class in March 2015. Companies that signed up for previous cycles and were not chosen will be able to re-submit their entrance.

For more information, contact Jupe at jupe@plugandplaytechcenter.com

Check out below the selected startups and their founders
Cabe na Mala – https://www.cabenamala.com.br/
A web platform connecting people who want products from abroad to travelers willing to bring these orders in their luggage in exchange for a cash reward. Previously, the startup had been through the SEED acceleration program, sponsored by the government of Minas Gerais, where it finished as the great winner.
“We are in a steep growth and the support from Abril and Plug and Play, through its media power, contact network and basis in the United States will be essential to further speed up this process,” says Ana Paula Lessa, President of Cabe na Mala.

Fleety – https://www.fleety.com.br/
“Car Airbnb”, this solution allows people to rent their vehicles to other users. The startup was the winner of the SENAI Startup Challenge 2014 and third placed in Challenge Brazil.
“Fleety proposes a new lifestyle in which sharing not only helps people save or make money with their cars, but also contributes to a more intelligent and sustainable mobility. Now, participating in the Abril Plug and Play Acceleration program, we seek to make our service even faster and strengthen our expansion plan, taking this innovation to more people,” says André Marim, CEO for Fleety.

Lotebox – http://www.lotebox.co/
The first Brazilian startup to be an official partner of Salesforce, Lotebox is a web platform that optimizes the operation of international trade companies, finding the best deals in transport containers. Previously, the company was selected in the Startup Chile program and was accelerated by SEED in Belo Horizonte, as well as being one of the winners in the last DEMO Brasil event.
“Our intention is to revolutionize the global logistics through simple solutions in complex markets”, states Eduardo Carvalho and Luiz Garcia, co-founders of Lotebox.

NutriSoft Brazil – http://nutrisoft.com.br/
Mobile health application for controlling food intake, diets and physical exercise, with over 700 thousand downloads. Its founder, Gustavo Silva, was a finalist at the 2014 Edition of the Inspiring Youth Award.
“I see the acceleration program at Abril Plug and Play as a great possibility for refining the platform and expanding the nutritional service throughout Brazil,” said Gustavo.

About Abril Plug and Play
Abril Plug and Play, created in February 2014 by the Abril Group, along with the Plug and Play in Silicon Valley, is a startup accelerator pioneer in the concept of enterprise acceleration in Brazil. The initiative aims to find promising digital businesses and foster intrapreneurship and digital culture at Abril.
The accelerator provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to undergo an acceleration program that integrates Brazil and the Silicon Valley, in addition to mentoring, contact networking with potential clients, partners, and investors, media exposure, and other services.
The four companies in the first class (OneTwo, TraktoPRO, TruckPad, and Zase) completed the six-month program, which took place in São Paulo half of the time and in the Silicon Valley, for the other half.

About Abril Group
Abril Group is one of the largest and most influential communications, logistics and education conglomerates in Latin America. Established in 1950, it is comprised by Abril Mídia (Editora Abril, Digital Business, Abril Gráfica and Casa Cor); by DGB (logistics and distribution), and it is the largest shareholder of Abril Educação. The group also includes Fundação Victor Civita (Victor Civita Foundation), created in 1985 with the purpose of improving basic education in Brazil.

Abril provides information, culture, education, and entertainment to virtually all audience segments, operating seamlessly through different media channels.

Learning by Creating with RoboTerra

“Wow, robots! This is really cool! I want to play with this!” Founder and CEO, Yao Zhang, describes kid’s reactions to seeing RoboTerra’s product for the first time. RoboTerra makes tool kits that allow students to tap into their imagination and creativity to design and build their own robots. This kit enhances students’ knowledge and helps them further develop that knowledge by allowing them to apply it practically. Chen Bai, RoboTerra’s robotics engineer, explains that the goal is to inspire kids to learn in both an educational and exciting way: “We want to develop more fun and hands-on projects that really facilitate student’s learning through doing things and thinking critically.”

The customized robotics tool kits connect with cloud learning solutions to enable students to learn essential STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills. Building a robot requires defining its purpose, its scope of work, designing, tooling and assembly. These skills are essential for everyone considering a career in a STEM field.

RoboTerra offers services to both students and educators. Through curriculum development and immersive experiences, RoboTerra reaches out to educational institutions and professional associations to develop quality learning experiences to students. RoboTerra also sponsors summer camps that introduce students to professionals in science and robotics. This helps students discover different career paths and compete in competitions such as FIRST Robotics Competition, First Tech Challenge and World Robotic Olympiad. The RoboTerra team models the traits that they want young people to emulate in their own lives. “We have this open mind to every problem we face and that’s the best message we send to our students. It’s fun to solve problems. It’s fun to take challenges. That’s how we deal with everyday problems and grow,” Yuan Zhou, co-founder and Chief Learning Officer, explains.

Zhang moved her team to Plug and Play in December 2014 after she was looking for a good workspace to expand in the Silicon Valley. “We were very attracted by the knowledge-sharing community here,” Zhang says. She noted that Plug and Play, being one of the very famous technology incubators in the valley, has excellent access to experienced entrepreneurs and investors.

The world’s first kid’s smart watch with wearable digital games is here!

Ambit Networks has created a watch for today’s technologically driven kids that will entertain children while providing parents with peace of mind. AmbyGear allows kids to access educational games and activities that reward them for exercise and punctuality. The GPS function allows parents to ensure the safety of their children while kids gradually learn responsibility and gain a sense of independence. Using an iOS or Android app, parents can decide how their children use the smart watch and will be alerted if the kids have exceeded a safe distance outside their safe area boundaries.

Founder and CEO, Patrick Muggler is proud of the product and excited about the benefits for parents and children. Muggler explains, “AmbyGear drives good behavior by teaching kids where to be, how to behave, and it provides a system to reward kids for doing what their parents expect them to do.” AmbyGear can connect to Google calendar so kids are able to check their daily schedule right from their watch. For example, if a child leaves the house on time to head to school, the watch will monitor the time the child left the house and the time he or she arrived at school and reward points for good behavior. Parents are also able to send text messages to the watch and receive short messages back without any wireless data service subscription.

Kids will love the entertainment features of AmbyGear. Ambit Networks has included educational games in the watch that will entertain kids while they are learning. AmbyGear’s designs are small and portable while offering interchangeable armbands with different colors and patterns.

Ambit Networks moved to Plug and Play in October 2014. Muggler decided to join Plug and Play for several reasons: “First, the set up is really easy. It took me one afternoon. All you have to do is come here, sign a simple contract, get insurance on the spot, which is very affordable, and you’re in. You can move in the next morning and you already have lights, Internet, furniture and coffee.” He continues to get the most out of his experience at Plug and Play by attending monthly events and meetups. At Plug and Play, “I have struck deals, met people I would have never have met and forged partnerships and alliances that are helping to build AmbyGear into a big company.”

SchoolCircle is now SimplyCircle, expands product dramatically

SchoolCircle, one of the members of our vibrant Plug and Play community, today announced that they have renamed the company to SimplyCircle. Until now, SchoolCircle has been a site where parents and teachers can communicate about the classroom. But now, you can manage any type of group or club on SimplyCircle, including sports teams, scout troops, PTAs, school-wide communities, groups of families and friends, as well as classroom communities.

SimplyCircle makes it easy to communicate and organize any group, whether it’s a family of four or a group of 100. With SimplyCircle, users can create secure, private communication circles. Then they can send announcements, create events and tasks, share photos and documents, and manage volunteer signups. It’s a one-stop-shop for everything that group leaders need to organize their groups.

We had a chance to catch up with SimplyCircle CEO Elena Krasnoperova last week. “Parents told us that they loved all the features of SchoolCircle, and they wanted to use it for even more parts of their lives – to have their entire lives as parents organized in one place,” said Elena. “We were delighted that they found our product so useful! And given how the product usage was broadening, it made sense to update the name as well.”

In addition to all the work they have been doing improving their core product, the SimplyCircle team has also been busy making acquisitions. They recently acquired four different services that help groups better organize and communicate – Jooners, JustBetweenFriends, Causera, and Qlubb. “We are so excited about welcoming these customers to our SimplyCircle family,” Elena said. “Over the next several months, they’ll all be able to take advantage of the updated SimplyCircle technology and get even more powerful tools to manage their groups.”

The SimplyCircle team has been part of our Plug and Play community since 2014. “For a fast growing startup like us, being at Plug and Play has been a huge benefit,” Elena said. “We are able to take advantage of great networking opportunities, to share ideas and contacts. Plus, the flexibility of being able to add office space capacity quickly as you scale has been valuable.”

1/12/2015: Last Week in Tech, in Tweets

1. We’re watching people play video games on Youtube on TV.

2. CES has been the event of 2015 so far.

3. The PSN is down..again.

4. Automotive innovation at the Detroit Auto Show.

5. Automotive innovation at the Detroit Auto Show.

6. Controversy over the encryption ban in the UK.

7. Elon Musk’s kid thinks the Model S is stupid.

8. No more Uber surges! Hopefully..

Driving Value with Boomerang Commerce!


Boomerang Commerce, a resident of Plug and Play’s Brand & Retail Accelerator, is a digital price optimization service for enterprise retailers. Boomerang’s platform accounts for over 100 pricing variables in real time to add value to digital retailers. Some of the largest retailers in the world including Staples, Sears, and Groupon use Boomerang’s software to price their products.

Boomerang was founded July of 2012 when Guru Hariharan began developing his idea into a software platform. He spent the first six months “hacking his way,” and the idea for the company was finalized by March of 2013. Their pricing optimization service launched two months later at Techcrunch’s Disrupt 2013 Conference where Boomerang’s team was selected as a finalist.

Since 2013 Boomerang has built a “phenomenal team of statisticians, researchers, and ex-consultants.” The startup’s current team of 45 people is composed of industry veterans with experience from Amazon, Google, Adobe, Mckinsey, and Yahoo.

Guru was introduced to Plug and Play as he was looking for a “quick and easy way to start.” He did not want to spend extra time on administrative work, and as such our Silicon Valley facility was a natural fit for his team. Accoding to Guru, he was “surprised to see Plug and Play’s massive presence in Silicon Valley as a conglomerate of startups.”

Boomerang’s team just raised an $8.5 million Series A round this past June, and the company has grown 150% since that time. According to Guru, Boomerang’s team will be expanding “very aggressively” with plans to grow to 105 members over the next 11 months.  We’re also very excited to announce that they have also been selected to pitch as finalists at the biggest retail conference in the world, the National Retail Federation Conference, this upcoming Monday.  Boomerang’s team has been selected among five other companies as a finalist for their ‘Startup of the Year’ competition.

Plug and Play Retail is a 12-week startup (stage-agnostic) acceleration and business developmt program based in Silicon Valley. Startups accepted into the program are leveraging technology to solve the biggest problems top brands, retailers, and industry players face today. Plug and Play, along with a round-table of corporations and industry experts, jointly decide the startups that are accepted into the program.

1/05/15: Last Week in Tech, in Tweets

1. Another data breach!

2. Sony is honoring the holiday spirit.

3. Smartwatches just got smarter.

4. Half Life 3? Maybe, don’t get your hopes up.

5. Taco Bell is pushing for a special Emoji.

6. Firefox is coming to your TV.

7. Tons of new gadgets bringing us into the new year.

8. Headphones that charge your smartphone!

Instagooglflickdropbook! No, Wait, Kwilt!


Kwilt, one of Plug and Play‘s portfolio companies, is a cross-platform photo aggregation solution designed to bring all of your memories together in one place. Kwilt’s app scans across Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Google Plus, and Google drive to reconnect users with their social media content. Naturally, the app’s name came about as the company’s founders were looking for an easy way to stitch together their favorite memories using a beautifully designed social media solution. They will tell you that they wanted to call it “Instagooglflickdropbook,’ but that just didn’t have quite the same ring to it.

According to a study released by Ipsos, 1 in 5 US consumers feel that it would be impossible to locate all of their personal photos from the past year. Kwilt’s platform accounts for this decentralization by using a unique cloud-indexing engine to stream all of a given user’s pictures into one place and organize them chronologically to form a beautiful ‘Kwilt.’ Understanding that “users love their content,” Kwilt’s solution scans across multiple social media platforms to stream pictures to you in real time, circumventing the need for storage space without attempting to take ownership of your content.

A native of Ottawa, Kwilt’s Michel Coderre joined Plug and Play as a part of our joint initiative with the Canadian Technology Accelerator Program. Plug and Play’s Canadian Technology Accelerator Program accelerates 20 companies annually and is run by the Canadian Trade Commissioner’s Office. As Michel was in the process of applying for a grant via the Canadian government, he was introduced to the Program that brought him to Silicon Valley for four months.

According to Michel, the process has “been great, I’ve been here since September 8th and it has been pretty invaluable for me. All the options that you guys are offering, the services, and the closeness to prospective customers has been very helpful.”

Shortly after his introduction to Plug and Play, Michel traveled with Kwilt’s team to CES Unveiled New York where over 400 analysts and journalists were invited to preview technology. As stated by Michel, “People really got what we were trying to do. The virtualization, the aggregation, the indexing of all the pictures. It’s very different the way we are approaching this issue.”

Kwilt’s approach is unique as it creates a personal and complete live digital photo stream by simply indexing content and pointing users to the right photos. With different social media platforms emerging on an almost daily basis, Kwilt’s solution stands as a perfect way to keep track of your online presence.

Michel Coderre’s and the rest of the Kwilt team’s remarkable success at Plug and Play stands is testament to the quality of the CTA’s entrepreneurship program. To learn more about the Canadian Technology Accelerator, click here.  To try Kwilt, click here.

12/15/2014: Last Week in Tech, in Tweets!

1. Nest has been integrated into your smartphone’s OS.

2. This week in 3d printing: the new lightsaber!

3.Smartphone sales are on the rise, but not for LG.

4. Google is planning to roll out a new feature, could compete with Amazon.

5. The Pirate Bay has released their first statement since the police raid.

6. Microsoft is making a case against the US government.

7. Uber is..still controversial.

8. These are the 10 fastest growing cloud startups.

Winter Expo Wrap Up

Yesterday we kicked off our final Expo Event of 2014 here at Plug and Play to an amazing turnout. A mix of 800+ entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate representatives weathered the storm yesterday to see pitches from the most promising startups of this fall’s Internet of Things accelerator.

The day’s events were kicked off with a keynote speech from Johnson and Johnson’s Head of Innovation, Ken Drazan. Ken’s background includes more than 13 years in the healthcare industry and 12 years in the hospital and academic worlds.  A liver transplant surgeon by training, Ken spent several years at Stanford University before moving into entrepreneurial leadership roles in the biopharmaceutical industry and subsequently in the venture capital world. Ken’s speech touched upon Johnson and Johnson’s role as a pioneer in the healthcare innovation space.

 

An additional highlight of the afternoon was the panel discussion titled “IoT and Business Transformation.”  The panel featuring Intel‘s Principal Engineer Milan Milenkovic and Kaiser Permanente‘s Principal Consultant Roger Lam was moderated by Konica Minolta‘s VP of Business Innovation Ekta Sahasi.  The discussion centered on the initiatives that major established companies are taking to leverage and align with the evolving Internet of Things Paradigm.

The day was composed of two 90 minute sessions with 15 5-minute pitches each. At the conclusion of each segment, the judges voted to select three winners by the end of the day. The following companies pitched throughout the day:

Chemisense develops breakthrough chemical sensing technology used in a distributed sensor network.
The STEMP Smart Temperature Patch is the thermometer reinvented for the 21st century, providing immediate, continuous, accurate body temperature monitoring on your smartphone.
Quitbit improves lives by helping people change unhealthy habits – starting with the first connected lighter to help smokers quit.
Advanced remote monitoring ECO solutions and better information to improve health and reduce cost of care. We call it ‘innovation for life.’
Atlas is the fitness monitor that identifies your exercises and more.
BearTek Gloves is the remote control technology built into the gloves you love.
Sensilk is a smart clothing company building sensors into clothes for the whole piece to be washable, dryable, and for all weather.
Caeden is making wearable tech that’s actually wearable- with beautiful design, clinically accurate biometric sensors, and a compelling social app interface.
We make a truly portable and unhackable keyboard that turns light into information.
Locbit provides a seamless and agnostic ‘Internet of Things’ platform that connects all of a building’s data- helping companies become highly efficient and quickly save wasted energy dollars.
Saving energy & predicting failures in commercial buildings using IoT.
DQuid enables the co-creation of connected products and digital content.
CogniVue Corporation licenses embedded vision processing technology to enable power and size constrained cameras in automotive to consumer applications to recognize objects in real time like the human eye.
The Internet of Things for Everyone.
Actually making cameras smart.
First hyperlocal marketing platform for the Brazilian market.
Elegant quoting and invoicing for freelancers.
Where makeup expertise meets technology.
Marketing automation made easy with the tools users want and the features they need.
Openball connects amateur sports participants by helping organizers run professional quality competitions.
Delivering the world’s first Brain Operating System for Brainwave Virtual Reality.
Glassy Pro has developed a Surf Smartwatch to track surf sessions and help surfers improve their performance.
The Always-On Second Screen for the Mobile User.
Reemo (Playtabase’s product) simplifies your life using gestures to control your world.
We bring real-time Big Data Analytics to the masses by making it cost-effective.

The winners from our Startup Camp were Chemisense, Truckpad, and Popslate.  Congratulations to the winning teams!

Plug and Play IoT is a 12-week startup acceleration program based in Silicon Valley. Plug and Play, along with a round-table of corporations and industry experts, will jointly select the startups that will be accepted into the program and invited to Silicon Valley.  Applications are now open for Spring of 2015.

Last week’s turnout was a testament to the quality of the entrepreneurs that joined our IoT accelerator with this past Fall’s class. We want to thank everyone who made the trip to Sunnyvale yesterday, and we hope to have you all back for our next expo this upcoming February.