Tandem Capital, the Silicon Valley startup accelerator that focuses exclusively on early-stage mobile businesses, is today revealing the six companies that are participating in its most recent batch. The seed fund and accelerator raised its second, $32 million fund in June, which it uses to offer $200K convertible notes (in exchange for 10 percent equity) to the startups participating in its accelerator. Like other accelerators, Tandem works closely with its startups on everything from strategy to product design and marketing, offers free work space and daily meeting.
Unlike the many others in the space, however, it keeps its batches small (generally two to six teams) in the belief that smaller class sizes mean higher returns and success rates. Its program is also 6-months long, although this tends to be open-ended, as there's no demo day or graduation day and entrepreneurs are given the choice to remain at Tandem's headquarters after the program ends.
Tandem has been operating as a capital fund since 2007, having invested in and advised the teams behind Juice In The City, Playhaven, and Zumodrive, for example, and launched its mobile accelerator officially in July. Today, Tandem is pulling the curtain back on its second (and third) batches of six startups, and has opened up for submissions to its fall/winter class, with the deadline of October 1st. [You can find coverage of accelerator's first batch here.]
The accelerator focused on incubating lean, mobile-oriented startups disrupting large markets but otherwise doesn't put constraints on ideas its considers for investment. The accelerator's latest batches are fairly wide-ranging. And although Tandem co-founder Doug Renert said the founders had made a decision not to invest in music-focused startups (for a number of good reasons), they broke that oath in their latest round, as you'll see below.
The companies include:
- A-Blast enables merchants to engage customers on their smartphones over the Wi-Fi channel, removing the need for customers to download or open an app.
- Appington, founded by the engineer who built Rovio's analytics framework, offers an audio platform to mobile game developers looking for instant and dramatic increases in their user monetization and retention.
- Heyyolo is an endorsement service for apparel companies that turns their fans into spokespersons through the proliferation of user-generated photos.
- Nusonix, a Canadian-based startup, is building a song-based messaging service that allows people to combine voice messages with their favorite tunes, all with the support of major record labels. Renert says that Nusonix has been a long time in the making, and although the team was hesitant at first, the team has apparently been working hard to get the business-side squared away so that it operates within the industry in a way that won't encourage a million lawsuits. It helps that it has a number of record executives on its board. Tandem will be helping the team build out the product side.
- Parkify was launched by former UC Berkeley students to provide a smartphone-based P2P marketplace for parking spots around college campuses.
- QuadNode, an Indian startup, instantly turns any smartphone into a kid-friendly device, whether a child is borrowing a parent's phone or a pre-teen is getting his or her first device.
These six teams were selected from hundreds of applicants and each company is still in stealth mode, but plan to release their products before the end of the year.
In addition, the first six companies backed by Tandem's most recent fund have lined up their next respective rounds of funding, although not all of them have announced the closings yet. Stay tuned for that. This group includes BitRhymes, the producer of Bingo Bash, currently the no. 1 grossing app on the iPad; Sift, a tablet shopping app that uses email to instantly customize the experience; and UpOut, a next generation local event directory.
For more on Tandem and application submissions, find it here.