Capital Factory hosts up-and-coming startups for SXSW

Kat Sampson

Capital Factory, the leading technology incubator for startups in the Austin area, will host Capital Factory Demo Day 2014 during SXSW. The stakes are high, as 10 of Austin’s most promising startups will have an opportunity to pitch their product to a room full of investors, press, entrepreneurs and potential customers. Here’s a sneak peek at what these products are and the faces behind them.


Aceable, founded by Boston College alumnus Blake Garrett, is an online education platform that weaves in interactive games, animations, stories and reward systems in an effort to make the learning process not only more enjoyable, but also more effective. Aceable is currently partnering with companies that provide driver’s education and safety courses in order to make those more entertaining.


Amir Elaguizy founded Cratejoy — a site that helps online sellers streamline their storefront to payment collections — after speaking with many subscription commerce founders.

“They were more then eager to tell me just how terrible the existing tools were for subscriptions,” Elaguizy said. “We’re builders through and through and can’t resist a problem we know we can solve well. It was inevitable that we’d end up trying to fix subscription commerce once we learned of the problems.”


While many toddlers can navigate tablets with amazing ease, Famigo CEO Q. Beck — a former executive at Nickelodeon and DreamWorks — felt there was a need for a more family-friendly tablet experience. Matt McDonnell, Famigo’s vice president for operations, said Famigo was created to fill this need.

“It is a platform for families to find the best mobile apps, videos, websites and games in the safest environment,” McDonnell said.

Local Plant Source

Zac Tolbert, the founder of Local Plant Source, spent years working as a landscape architect before realizing that there was a need for a more efficient mode of communication for landscapers, architects and the nurseries they buy products from.

“I realized that if landscape architects could design projects based on plants grown at local nurseries, the entire industry could operate more
efficiently,” Tolbert said.

With the creation of the online forum, Local Plant Source, Tolbert plans to “transform the way nurseries connect with their customers, empowering them to comfortably and confidently do business online.”

Loop & Tie 

When it comes down to buying someone a present, gift cards can be the least offensive and most uncreative option. Loop & Tie has taken it upon itself to make the gift giving process easier for the gifter and more exciting for the giftee. Gifters are able to select a monetary amount and plug in the recipient’s email. Once the recipient gets an email, they are able to shop for gifts that fall under the price range chosen without ever knowing the exact amount. Most of the items allow the shopper to pick from a variety of foods, gadgets and home decor.


In a city like Austin, where a large emphasis is placed on hip, up-and-coming restaurants, Mahana makes the dining experience easier. The app lets users see how long the waits are at all their favorite restaurants and works with the restaurants to reward returning customers with free appetizers, invites to small events or priority seating.   


When homebuilder Jeff Burke tried to sell houses during the 2008 economic collapse, he ended up learning a lot about the how brokers market properties.

“I didn’t understand why all the data an agent sees in the Multiple Listing Service wasn’t available to the public to provide buyers and sellers 100 percent accurate data delivered in real-time,” Burke said. “That’s what NuHabitat provides.”

NuHabitat, which is set up like a search engine, gives agents, homebuyers and sellers the ability to use MLS, the most reliable source for real estate data.

“We want to make NuHabitat the best online search vehicle to find your dream home while improving the value proposition agents bring to their clients,” Burke said.

Rail Yard

“We founded Rail Yard to give businesses a way to find Internet and phone service online and get the right services at the best price,” Rail Yard co-founder Cristi Jakubik said. “Our company has moved the Internet and phone service marketplace online, which brings transparency and efficiency to an entrenched industry. In addition, we’re working on predictive modeling to better inform our recommendations of services to our customers.”


We all have an aunt who somehow finds the time to artistically and thoroughly put together a scrapbook of family memories. Weeva allows the same thing in a more efficient and streamlined manner. The website, which places a greater emphasis on storytelling and preservation, gives users the chance to collect memories from family and friends and compile them into a book with space for photos. Weeva is a great way to commemorate a family member or an event in someone’s life.


Spokefly founder Nate McGuire said the idea for his company came one day when he was waiting for a bus next to a rack filled with bikes. He wondered why he couldn’t just take a bike from the rack and ride it home.

With Spokefly, finding, renting and riding a bike is made easy.

“You use Spokefly by reserving a bike on our mobile app and website and then unlocking the lock on the bike using the combination we show you," McGuire said. "You can ride the bike wherever you want, so no fixed endpoints. You lock the bike up wherever you want and check it in with your smartphone’s GPS.”