The Edmond Sun


August 19, 2013

VentureSpur launches 2nd class of entrepreneurs

OKLA. CITY — VentureSpur, the seed fund and venture accelerator with programs in Oklahoma City and Dallas, announced the 2013 participants earlier this month, including the first class hosted at its new Dallas office inside the Dallas Entrepreneur Center. The participants include startups from New York, California, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

“This year’s teams include a diverse mix of both experienced and first-time entrepreneurs who have taken the leap to launch a new venture,” said Kraettli L. Epperson, managing director of VentureSpur and an Edmond resident. “This is a truly extraordinary group of entrepreneurs, including founders who’ve raised tens of millions  of dollars in venture capital for prior ventures and an entrepreneur who recently sold a company to Adobe for $115 million. These entrepreneurs could take their next idea anywhere and get it funded. We’re delighted that they’ve chosen VentureSpur,” Epperson said.

The accelerator provides seed investment, a 12-week “boot camp,” mentorship with successful entrepreneurs, office space, free services and access to further venture capital. It had its first class in 2012, during which it helped several startups raise significant investment capital.

This year’s class includes:

• is a video e-commerce platform that helps online reviewers — “haulers” — who influence millions of buyers daily through their video reviews, to monetize and grow their brand.

• LittleFish provides affinity groups, especially college alumni associations, with tools to track the individual interests of their members through social media data mining and taxonomic analysis, and to build more meaningful connections.

• OrderMyGear provides a co-branded e-commerce platform for distributors to make ordering and fulfillment of sports team apparel and equipment faster, easier and less expensive.

• SIVI’s LaunchLeader platform provides investors and accelerators with highly qualified entrepreneurs through a series of attitude, knowledge and aptitude tests, combined with entrepreneurial education.

• SPARXLife is an EdTech platform that helps people discover a sense of their purpose in life and matches them with learning and career opportunities that fit.

• TogaBOX is a platform to allow consumers to organize the flow of email and other messages from their favorite online vendors while enhancing the relationship between brands and consumers.

• Zalongo provides families with a truly private social network that is exclusively for coordinating family events and for sharing memories and messages.

The startup founders are eager to start their journey with VentureSpur, launching their companies during the next 12 weeks. “We chose to participate in VentureSpur because we knew we wouldn’t be able to replicate this environment on our own … We looked at accelerators in LA and NYC, but VentureSpur was uniquely interested in EdTech and passionate about what we were building …,” said Shannon Meairs, CEO of SPARXLife.

In addition to hard work, the teams are looking forward to the camaraderie of the accelerator experience: “We ultimately hope to launch a working prototype and raise a Series A, but more than that, we hope to build lasting relationships with the mentors, investors and other startups,” Meairs said.

Nicholas Seet, CTO and co-founder of SIVI, added “Our goal is to validate our product, build a network, get customers, raise a seed round of financing and, of course, have some fun along the way!”

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