AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sputnik ATX, a new Austin accelerator focusing on growth companies, today announced its inaugural class of startups, featuring four promising companies representing several different sectors. Applicants represented a wide variety of industries, 10 states within the U.S., and nine different countries. In all, Sputnik ATX received 207 applications for its initial class, all with a common thread of innovation.
“We not only selected startups with innovative concepts, we selected entrepreneurs with outstanding passion and grit,” said Oksana Malysheva. “The founders we chose exhibit the skills and vision necessary to defy the odds. We are excited to partner with these creators, innovators, trailblazers and entrepreneurs to get their ideas off the ground and to the public where they can change the world. We are confident that the Sputnik ATX program will help these entrepreneurs reach their full potential and will continue to drive innovation in Texas.”
The four startups chosen for Sputnik’s inaugural class include:
- YouPei.me – Big companies make money from your data, while YouPei.me helps you get some of that money back. Their platform provides any credit or debit card holder cash back, bitcoin, loyalty points and savings at over 5,000 partner brands, including Forever 21, Sam’s Club, and Denny’s.
- Redenim – a personal styling, data analytics platform for women that sends jeans to customers’ homes, matching their personal style and size, and spares them the time wasted in dressing rooms. Customers decide which pairs they would like to buy and which to send back.
- Backtracks – a podcast analytics and hosting platform that allows podcast publishers and advertisers to receive actionable data and insights, allowing them to adjust and target content for their audiences.
- Meowtel – a tech company that has created a platform to connect cat owners to trusted, verified cat sitters nearby. While many apps exist for dog sitting, there is an unmet need for the cat community.
Each finalist will receive $100,000 in seed money and will participate in a three-month curriculum beginning January 16, which will include classes, mentoring and funding guidance. Unlike many other accelerators that offer open or optional mentoring resources, the Sputnik ATX program highly tailors its mentoring to focus on helping entrepreneurs increase product-market fit and increase sales.
At the end of the curriculum, the participating startups have the opportunity to present to a panel of investors on a demo day as well as leverage Sputnik ATX resources to look for additional funding.
“At Sputnik, we believe early stage investing is a team sport,” said Joe Merrill, co-founder of Sputnik ATX. “In other words, entrepreneurs only succeed when they have a collaborative network to support one another. That’s why at the end of their time with us, we want our cohort members to graduate with a solid network of mentors, peers, and other investors.”
Sputnik ATX will open its next application round for the summer cohort in May. Entrepreneurs living within a 300-mile radius of Austin (including San Antonio, Dallas and Houston), or those who agree to move their businesses within that radius if accepted into the program, are eligible to apply. Applicants are required to have a minimum viable product and at least one paying customer.
About Sputnik ATX
Sputnik ATX is an Austin, TX based accelerator that funds maker-founders who go out and change the world. Sputnik ATX was named after the first satellite to enter Earth’s orbit, an event that touched off a new era of innovation and competition that still influences the world today. The Russian word ‘Sputnik’ translates to ‘partner,’ which describes this accelerator’s intention: to partner with and mentor chosen startups. The accelerator was born out of a venture fund founded by Dr. Oksana Malysheva and Joe Merrill. After investing in companies around the world, the entrepreneurial atmosphere of Austin inspired Malysheva and Merrill to consider the city as a new home for their efforts. Sputnik ATX launched on Oct. 4, 2017, the 60th anniversary of the Sputnik-1 satellite launch.