Say Hello to 9 New D.C. Startups

D.C. based Launchbox Digital is announcing today the launch of 9 new startups at the LaunchBox08 Demo Day in Reston, Virginia. LaunchBox Digitial is an start-up incubator that has been months in the making. I interviewed Sean Greene back in December when the company was first announced. The 9 companies that they will be announcing today are a diverse set of start-ups.

This is a huge deal for the D.C. area given that the area has been in dire need of a start-up incubator. This is the first one targeted toward early stage web startups. Whether or not these 9 are successful, it’s important that there is a company helping fund dreams based in D.C. Congratulations to the first 9 teams that are part of the first round of Launchbox Digital funding. Here are the 9 startups that will be announced later today:
BuzzHubb LogoFounded by Satjot Sawhney and Ashish Kundra, BuzzHubb is the next generation of a mobile accessible Yahoo Groups for the college student. The company has renamed groups as “Hubbs”. You can view a screencast presentation of the site via the video below.

Heekya LogoHeekya is trying to be the “Wikipedia for social story telling.” The company’s pitch is that “The current model of story telling on the web is pretty fragmented. There are really good individual asset repositories out there (YouTube, Flickr, and Photobucket are a few), but they focus primarily on a given category (photos, video), and have limited ability to address linear story telling. Blogging is a potential answer, but while there are close to 200 million blogs, only 600,000 posts occur each day – too many blogs die the slow death of neglect.”

As such Heekya encourages social story telling through: a simple multi-media story builder, the enabling of story cloning and modification, and browsing and discovery tools. You can view more via the screencast below.

JamLegend LogoFounded by Andrew Lee, Arjun Lall and Ryan Wilson, JamLegend.com is an online version of Guitar Heroes and Rockband. I’ve spoken with the team from JamLegend previously and discussed their approach to this site. Ultimately, I believe the real value here is in creating the tools that help automate the transcription of songs into a JamLegend compatible format. Check out the video below for more details.

Koofers LogoKoofers was founded at Virginia Tech by Michael Rihani, Glynn LoPresti, Patrick Gartlan and Doug Feit. Koofers “allows students to make the relatively opaque process of class and teacher selection fully transparent, by providing grade distributions and teacher feedback to allow a student to shape their individual class schedule, based on their own needs and style.”

MpowerPlayer LogoFounded by Michael Powers (hence the name “mpower”), “Mpowerplayer is targeted to fix the discovery problem in the mobile gaming market today. Unlike ringtones, where the explosive growth and repeat buyer habits of consumers has built a multi-billion dollar market, the mobile gaming market is stalled.” The site provides a PC-based means for consumers to play mobile versions of the games they are interested in and provides them with an easy way to purchase the game.

MyGameMug LogoMyGameMug was founded by Raymond Lau and Erik Yao, two gamers “who wanted to create the match.com for online gaming.” The site will “create a fund and engaging way to find people whose ‘gaming styles’ are compatible to play online.”

Razume LogoRazume was founded by Sam Blum, Kyle Stoneman and Ryan Geist. I met Sam at a D.C. event earlier this year and he sounded pretty passionate about his company. The pitch is that “Razume is addressing the needs of job seekers in the 21-35 year old demographic.” It’s essentially LinkedIn for a younger demographic. Check out the video below for more.

Sharememe LogoFounded by Ahson Wardak and Luc Castera, “ShareMeme is an easy tool to send messages, polls, invitations and other things to your friends and associated groups on the channels that they prefer. ShareMeme is addressing a real problem today – inadvertent ‘spamming’ of friends across all the channels you use to interact with people.”

Zadby LogoFinally, Zadby “deals with the intersection of two phenomena: The continued lack of effectiveness of traditional advertising to reach the 18-35 year old demographic, and the poor means independent web video producers have to monetize the value of the communities that follow them.” The site serves as a market maker for product placement in web based video. I think this idea is great and the site looks well designed. I’ll be interested to see how this pans out.