Founder Institute, the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator with chapters in over 200 cities including over 30 in Europe, has announced that its quarterly international Founder Showcase will feature a keynote presentation by storied investor Jason Calacanis. The Showcase takes place on 10 February from 5:30pm to 8:00pm PST (2:30am – 5:00am CET).
Calacanis is an American entrepreneur and investor with a background in the media. He is an early investor in companies like Uber, Thumbtack and Robinhood, and is currently the host of the popular podcasts, “This Week in Startups” and “All-In.”
In addition to his investment career, Calacanis founded and sold several digital media-related startups, including Weblogs, Inc., an online publishing company that sold to AOL, VentureReporter.net, a digital publication about venture capital which also exited, and Mahalo, a Google competitor that used human editors to review websites and write search engine results pages.
Held in Silicon Valley during normal times, Founder Showcase went completely digital and global during the pandemic. Entrepreneurs from around the world can join the interactive event, which features presentations from promising pre-seed startups, feedback from leading venture capitalists like Calacanis, as well as several networking sessions with key startup ecosystem players.
Past hosts at the event include Tesla founder Elon Musk, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, and Box co-founder Aaron Levie, among many others. Companies who’ve pitched at the event have gone on to raise over $1.5 billion in venture capital funding collectively according to the accelerator, and past winners include successful startups like Udemy and Thumbtack.
The accelerator also announced the 10 startups which will be pitching. They represent six countries across three continents. Here’s the full list:
Annamarie Saarinen, co-founder, Bloom Standard (Hong Kong, SAR)
Based in Hong Kong, SAR, Bloom Standard is deploying the first autonomous ultrasound imaging tech to democratize access to cardiac and COVID-19 screening for resource-limited settings. Utilizing scalable AI technology, Bloom Standard helps to combat poor access to pediatric heart and lung imaging – for every child, but particularly the medically fragile, including heart defects, pneumonia or respiratory conditions.
Majdi Alnabih, founder & CEO, ZipLunch (Canada)
Based in Toronto, Ontario, ZipLunch is a marketplace that helps busy professionals at home or at the office save valuable time and money by simplifying meal ordering from their favorite restaurants. The app offers users 10-15 menu items daily and says it differentiates itself from competitors by not charging delivery/service fees to its customers while also charging restaurants lower commissions for products sold on the platform.
Carolyn Peer, co-founder & CEO, Humaxa (USA)
Based in Cameron Park, California, Humaxa offers its customers an employee retention platform complete with an AI Assistant that predicts and prevents their best employees from leaving. The assistant, called “Max,” is an ad-on for Slack and Microsoft Teams that can ask for feedback on employee happiness but also offer solutions based on that feedback.
Baker Bozeyeh, co-founder & CEO, Flowless (Palestine)
Based in Rawabi, Palestine, Flowless provides smart solutions to help utility companies enhance water supply efficiency, utilizing emerging technologies for automated faults detection and process optimization. According to its website, the system leverages IoT devices to collect real-time data about the water network, analyzing the data using artificial intelligence to interpret insights to help utility companies detect water leaks and health risks.
Nick Hegeman, CEO, PaintJet (USA)
Based in Nashville, Tennessee, PaintJet is a robotic service provider that helps building owners and property managers lower the cost to paint large, commercial buildings. Their technology is portable and can adapt to the specifications of commercial painting projects for customers around the US. In developing their patent-pending technology, the company’s focus was on increasing the quality and speed of traditional commercial painting methods.
Caroline Ndiangui, co-founder, iFunza (Kenya)
Based in Nairobi, Kenya, iFunza is a platform bringing together parents, teachers and administrators to improve education outcomes. Educators can communicate with parents and students via an easy-to-use app, empowering them to take charge of their classrooms and share valuable information and lessons with parents, so the child’s education can better continue at home. It also allows a space to showcase a student’s learnings by adding photos and videos to their own digital portfolios.
Russell Cole, founder & CEO, AGXactly (Canada)
Based in Toronto, Ontario, AGXactly is an agriculture informatics SaaS provider that helps farmers of high-value crops reduce crop losses and maximize every dollar per acre. The company leverages aerial imaging, proprietary algorithms and a simple customer user interface to help their customers reduce crop losses by 33%, according to their website. They keep a tally on their website of total crops saved by farmers who use their platform, and it currently counts “1,189,738 individual plants saved.”
Matt Belachew, Founder & CEO, Wearme (China, USA)
Based in Shanghai, China and Oakland, California, Wearme is a community and marketplace that helps small and medium-sized smart wearable developers to increase their sales. The company connects every part of the process from product development to sales and marketing by working with wearable developers to match them with reliable manufacturers to build, vetted influencers to sell, and customers to buy their products.
Frederic Scherer, founder & CEO, JITbase (Canada)
Based in Montreal, Quebec, JITbase is a SaaS company that helps manufacturers to optimize interactions between humans and machines. The company builds on basic CNC machine monitoring by using algorithms to show machinists on the shop floor where to go and when, according to their website. Similar to how GPS tells vehicle drivers where to go, Like GPS in a car that indicates where to go, JIT’s Optimal Path System (OPS) tells machinists which machine he or she should tend to next based on data inputs.
Juan Juan, co-founder & CEO, Fanalyze (USA)
Based in Sacramento, California, Fanalyze is a mobile app that helps fantasy sports players and sports bettors speed up research while providing aggregated data to help with winning decisions. Using search, the app allows fans to find information about player performance as well as the option to make side by side comparisons between players or teams.
Founder Showcase first debuted 12 years ago in Silicon Valley, and shortly after was described by The New York Times as the “American Idol” for startups. Its organizer is Founder Institute, the world’s largest early-stage startup accelerator which has helped accelerate over 4,500 portfolio companies globally and has an estimated portfolio value of USD $30 billion, according to its website.
The accelerator was founded in a classroom at Stanford University in 2009 by Adeo Ressi and Jonathan Greechan. Ressi also founded The Funded, a resource for entrepreneurs to rate and share information about their experiences with venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. The company recently launched a new accelerator program for aspiring venture capitalists called VC Lab which was featured on TechCrunch.
Disclosure: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.