Trip Planning Made Easy with Triple

Have you ever tried to plan a trip with family or friends and found collaborating frustrating? Triple offers a simple solution to put the fun back in travel planning.  Co-Founder and CTO, Stephan Meissl, loves to travel but realized how frustrating trying to plan a trip with friends can be. He says, “I like to travel and explore new places with friends, but it’s always a hassle to plan a trip and stay organized, especially when traveling in a group.” He saw this problem and created a solution that surpasses the capabilities of other travel planning sites that do not offer multiuser editing, offline usage and route download. The company is currently looking for engaged users and beta testers “to make the triple experience flawless and as intuitive as possible.”

Triple was selected to spend three months in Silicon Valley by “Go Silicon Valley”, This is an initiative sponsored by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy and the Austria Federal Economic Chamber that helps connect Austrian companies with the community here in the Silicon Valley and the heart of IT innovation. They pitched in front of international judges and won acceptance into Plug and Play’s International Acceleration Program. Triple made their way to Sunnyvale, California in early 2015.

Meissl has always hoped to experience the way of life in Silicon Valley and learn from the best here. He explains, “The environment is very encouraging. It’s an amazing network, one of the best in the world. It is a great opportunity for us to be here and learn and meet great people.” They came here looking to build a network of strategic partners and potential customers while validating their idea and business model and learning all they could in the Silicon Valley.

2/18/2015: Last Week in Tech, in Tweets

1. Second-hand smartphone sales are spiking.

2. Moving one step closer to a cure for Cancer.

3. U.S. Marshalls are putting Dread Pirate Roberts’ Bitcoin up for auction.

4. Times are changing for Sony.

5. Uber just closed another round of funding.

6. Reddit generates a ridiculous amount in ad revenues, will donate 10% to charity.

7. A self-assembling chair!

8. Philz is going nationwide.

Sensbeat Believes in the Power of Music

Music tells a story. Music has the power to make us think and feel. Now there’s a platform to share your story with your family and friends. Sensbeat, a free app for iOS and Andriod users, lets users take photos, write text, and choose a song to complement the image posted. Users can see other posts from their friends as well as look through specific mood categories to help them select the perfect song for how they are feeling. You can then share a “beat” through the app and connect it with your other social media platforms.

Co-founder and CEO of Sensbeat, Leo Wong, recognizes the power of music to evoke and create emotions while transporting us to another time and place through our memories. Wong believes that listening to music is an experience in itself and that is what inspired him to come up with the idea for Sensbeat. Wong realized that sometimes words could not describe his feelings and music provided an outlet. However, he discovered there was no way to share his experience: “I wanted to share the feeling I was having when listening to a song with my friends and realized there was no social media that would let me express myself through music.” Wong recognized an opportunity to create an app that helps bring people closer together.

The Sensbeat team released their app in August 2014 and have continued to grow since then. They recently concluded a $500,000 round of funding. On top of that huge accomplishment, they have been accepted into Plug and Play Tech Center’s International Acceleration Program.

Plug and Play’s International Accelerator is a three-month immersion into the Silicon Valley ecosystem and is designed to enable high-tech startups to explore business development, fund-raising, and other strategic opportunities. Startups are exposed to Plug and Play’s extensive network of corporate, technology and investment partners as well as mentors and advisors. Wong feels very lucky to be accepted into Plug and Play: “The startup culture in Hong Kong is not that rich compared to the states. But nonetheless, we chased our dreams day and night and we were finally able to come to Plug and Play. We are really excited about this journey.”

Wong heard about Plug and Play through their collaboration with Hong Kong Cyberport. In September 2014, Cyberport sent a delegation to Plug and Play for a meet-and-greet networking event in conjunction with F50. Cyberport, founded in 2002, is a “creative digital community with a cluster of technology and digital content tenants” that is owned by Hong Kong’s SAR Government. Their 100,000 square meter operation is host to a number of established companies in addition to an incubation program.

Sensbeat has been a part of Plug and Play’s accelerator for a few weeks and they are already seeing the benefits of the program. Roy Tang, Sensbeat’s lead Andriod engineer believes that “Silicon Valley is a great place and we’ve already met so many people here who are enthusiastic and passionate about what they’re doing.” The only question now is: what song Sensbeat will be sharing to describe their feelings about their success with Plug and Play?

VoxyPAD Revolutionizes Real-Time Collaboration

VoxyPAD is a collaboration tool, much like a virtual whiteboard, that allows you to interact with others in real time by browsing and annotating websites and documents. Files can be stored on the cloud and shared across different platforms such as iOS, Andriod and Windows. You can input text, handwriting and images to documents and share them with colleagues.

Setsuro Tamai, co-founder and CEO, worked for various technology companies in Japan for 20 years before branching out and becoming an entrepreneur himself. He noticed and experienced the frustration of using other collaboration tools where everyone involved would have to sit down at a desktop computer at the same time to work. VoxyPAD is the simple solution to this problem, allowing users to access files cross-platform and get real-time updates throughout the day. He is excited to see his product helping others. Tamai declares that “seeing is believing” when it comes to entrepreneurship.

VoxyPAD can be used with friends, family or co-workers, and helps people “to unlock their productivity and creativity.” VoxyPAD is also expanding globally. In December 2014, Tamai announced to users that Japanese language is now supported for the app.

VoxyPAD has a concise and simple layout that is easy-to-use.  Best of all, the app is free for personal use. You can add a premium subscription with advanced features for $0.99/month or $8.99/year that allows up to 50 people to chat. It also provides cloud-based data access so, for example, you can share Dropbox documents with others.

Tamai moved VoxyPAD to Plug and Play in April 2014 when he discovered the opportunity for global expansion. Silicon Valley has a huge network of entrepreneurs and investors and attracts many startups to the region. Tamai explains that this is in part what drew him to Plug and Play. “This is a good opportunity for me to join in here. Plug and Play is the best place to know when looking for investors and advisors.”

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.