Mobile equity crowdfunding platform for non-accredited investors
Slice Capital is a mobile-based equity crowdfunding startup that allows individuals to invest in small businesses. It was founded by business and computer science students from the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University. The Philadelphia-based company aims to stand apart from the industry by allowing unaccredited investors (with a net worth of less than $1 million) to buy and sell shares of internally vetted private companies. Slice Capital also plans to significantly bring down its current investment minimum of $500, allowing individuals to invest smaller amounts in startups. The company, which has sought legal counsel to ensure it is in compliance with recent SEC crowdfunding rules, plans its public launch by mid-May.
Slice Capital has attracted funding from investors that include 123Invest, PennApps Accelerator, Weiss Tech House, and M&T Innovation Fund. The startup has also received signups, prelaunch, from about 15,000 interested investors. Recent legislation (effective May 16, 2016) allows small private companies to raise up to $1 million annually in online capital from the general public. Slice Capital provides the platform for companies to do so and will charge a fee of 1.5 percent on each funding round.
Mobile app that connects users with workout partners
Versafit is a mobile application that connects users with workout partners. The startup out of the University of California, Irvine, aims to be the central hub for everything fitness related. The student founders bootstrapped the company and set out to create a platform that would help people stay fit by solving two of the industry’s biggest problems: motivation and accountability. The Versafit app matches users based on interests and skill levels, so that gym rats, power walkers, or those just looking for a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood can find a partner for any activity at any time.
Since launching on January 1 with $60,000 from the founders, Versafit has attracted more than 300 users. The mobile app is currently free, although the startup hopes to add a regular user plan for $5 per month and a professional plan for $20 per month.
Provider of on-demand, affordable NP house calls for urgent-care needs
WhiteCoat provides home, hotel, and office calls from nurse practitioners at an affordable rate. Student founders from the University of Southern California created an online platform that allows patients to request urgent-care visits, and plan to launch a mobile application later this year (a mobile app for NPs is already in use). The startup keeps rates low by hiring NPs, whose malpractice insurance is significantly lower than that of physicians. The NPs can diagnose, treat, and prescribe medications in addition to performing add-on services such as HIV testing, vitamin B12 injections, and electronic medical record creation. WhiteCoat’s mission is to provide every patient with an affordable house call, starting at $75 per visit or less with in-network insurance including Cigna and Aetna.
WhiteCoat currently offers its on-demand healthcare services throughout Los Angeles and Orange County, and plans to expand to San Diego and other states later this year. In its first four months, the company posted close to $20,000 in revenue. WhiteCoat has also raised $690,000 in funding from Idealab, Strong Ventures, and the University of Southern California Coulter Seed Program in addition to winning prize money from USC Marshall School of Business Women’s Pitch Competition.
Maker of efficient wind turbines to reduce energy cost and emissions
A team from Drexel University set out to create WindiGo Turbines to make wind energy the most efficient source of renewable energy. The startup finalized its wind turbine prototype earlier in March, aiming to develop a product that allows companies to reduce their energy costs and carbon emissions. WindiGo's modular turbines can be adapted to different environments and customer needs through app integration and a sensor-based optimization. Its turbines will have an energy savings potential of more than $6,000 for customers, in addition to a carbon offset of up to 20 tons. WindiGo plans to initially offer its product to small businesses and make power purchasing agreements with larger enterprises, while also taking an active role in educating consumers on the technology so as to eventually enter the residential market. The company’s long-term goal is to expand its services, providing financing, installation, manufacturing, and maintenance.
WindiGo plans to launch its service in October. Its turbines with an expected power output of 1 kilowatt will be priced at $1,000--or $1 per watt, less than half the cost of solar--plus installation costs of up to $2 per watt, depending on clients’ existing infrastructure. WindiGo Turbines aims to reduce the return on investment period to between four and six years; for many green energy products, ROI often takes more than a decade. The prerevenue company, which won first place in the Tech2gether and Drexel Startup Day Business Pitch competitions, is currently in the process of raising investment funds.