A new way to startup

Millennial startups compete to accelerate social businesses

Competition and web series

The next generation of social entrepreneurs is here, but changing the world is hard work and it’s never easy to start up. That’s why IBM gave 10 startups—each with a mission to do social good—a chance to raise their profiles and compete to win software, services, mentorship and a trip to TED@IBM. The action was documented in a series of webisodes that demonstrate how these innovators worked with IBM to transform their big ideas into big change. It’s a new way to start up.

Announcing


Sproutel



IBM New Way to Startup
Entrepreneur of the Year


Watch the announcement Watch the entire series

How the competition worked

March 14-18

One member from each of the 10 teams traveled to Austin to pitch their venture to a panel of expert judges at SXSW. Five teams moved on.

April 20-24

Two members from each of the five teams returned to Austin for a one week accelerator where they lived in a house with the other teams to compete in daily challenges using IBM technologies.

April 24 - June 15

Fans joined the action, voting for their favorite teams by tweeting the team’s unique hashtag on Twitter.

July 1

The winning team was announced, earning a trip to the exclusive TED@IBM 2015 event.


Read the official competition rulesDownload now

SXSW pitches and finalists

It was standing room only at the pitch event and 5 teams moved forward to the April accelerator.

Meet the teams

From medical devices to energy conservation, these great organizations are using business skills to build a better world.


Read the A New Way to Startup blog to learn more about your favorite teams and get an insider perspective on the competition.

The technology portfolio

To complete the accelerator challenges, teams used IBM technologies to communicate and collaborate.

IBM Verse

Experience email reimagined. With less clutter and more clarity, IBM Verse is email that understands you.

IBM Watson Analytics

Watson Analytics brings analytics to the people with easy access and conversational terms. Find what matters most to your business with IBM Watson Analytics.

Meet the host, judges and special guest

Host - Chelsea Krost

At only 23 years old Millennial Expert and Co-Founder of The MPulse, Chelsea Krost, is an accomplished speaker, published author, television talk show host, radio show host, and certified health coach. She empowers millennials to make their voices heard through platforms like her weekly Twitter chat, #MillennialTalk, where she invites experts to participate in conversations about politics, work, education, technology, and current trends. Her newest project, The MPulse, a news app by millennials for millennials, providing stories and resources that apply to the millennial demographic directly, will launch in January 2015...

Judge - Zita Cassizzi

Zita Cassizzi is Chief Digital Officer at TOMS. She oversees the digital...

Judge - Matthew Dowd

During the past thirty years, Matthew Dowd has helped shape strategies and...

Judge - David Heath

David Heath is the co-Founder and chief executive officer of BOMBAS. Prior to...

Special guest - Rachel Hurt

Rachel is the daughter of Debra and Brett Hurt, who was the founder...

Judge - Brian Fanzo

Brian Fanzo is currently the Partner and Chief Digital Strategist at Broadsuite...

Accelerator Judge - Rachel Charlesworth

Rachel Charlesworth is the Vice President of Brand at RideScout, a mobil...

Accelerator Judge - Carol L. Cone

most recently joined On Purpose—A Strategy Consulting firm accelerating bu...

Judges - The Butler Bros

Founded in 2002, The Butler Bros are an Austin, Texas based creative commu...

Expert Mentor - Tom Meredith

Tom is co-founder and Chairman of the board of managers of Meritage Capita...

VC Mentor - Justin Siegel

Justin is an entrepreneur and investor. He is the co-founder and CEO of two...

VC Mentor - Laura J. Kilcrease

Founder of Triton Venture Partners, L.P. Triton Ventures is an Austin, Texas...

VC Mentor - Adam Zeplain

moved to Austin, Texas in 2006 to study at St. Edward’s University and neve...

VC Mentor - Kyle Ballarta

Kyle is the CEO and Founder of Falkon Ventures, an innovative venture capital...

VC Mentor - Brett Hurt

Brett Hurt is a seed-stage investor at Hurt Family Investments (HFI) in par...

Chelsea Krost


Chelsea Krost

At only 23 years old Millennial Expert and Co-Founder of The MPulse, Chelsea Krost, is an accomplished speaker, published author, television talk show host, radio show host, and certified health coach. She empowers millennials to make their voices heard through platforms like her weekly Twitter chat, #MillennialTalk, where she invites experts to participate in conversations about politics, work, education, technology, and current trends. Her newest project, The MPulse, a news app by millennials for millennials, providing stories and resources that apply to the millennial demographic directly, will launch in January 2015.


Chelsea has been a speaker at Sage Summit, S.H.E. Summit, MasterCard’s Card Forum Expo, PCPC Beauty Council, and Ad Week, and has collaborated with Cosmopolitan Magazine as a Millennial Board Member, Kotex as a spokesperson, Intel for Change as their Millennial Ambassador, and has consulted for MasterCard, TurboTax, The Rotary, and Kyocera, to name a few.


You can learn more about Chelsea by visiting her website: http://chelseakrost.com

Zita Cassizzi


Zita Cassizzi

Zita Cassizzi is Chief Digital Officer at TOMS. She oversees the digital experience including the P&L, social, mobile as well as direct international omni-channel presence and build out.


Cassizzi brings more than 20 years of experience in creating and leading global direct businesses, marketing and digital commerce. Cassizzi joined TOMS following a 16 year career at Dell where she was most recently Vice President, Head of Global Consumer & SMB Strategy. Cassizzi also previously served as Global Vice President, Dell.com with holistic responsibility for Dell.com, as well as the Global Vice President for Consumer Marketing and Dell.com.


Cassizzi has been named as one of the Top 100 inspirational marketers by The Internationalist. Cassizzi is co-founder of women's networking organizations at both TOMS and Dell. She has also served as a board member for SafePlace, an industry leading non-profit organization in Austin.


Cassizzi holds a bachelor's degree and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.

Matthew Dowd


Matthew Dowd

During the past thirty years, Matthew Dowd has helped shape strategies and campaigns for CEOs, corporations, foundations, governments, candidates, and presidents. He most recently founded Paradox Capital, a social impact venture fund which is focused on for-profit social good companies. His experience in business and politics will help bridge the paradox between capitalism and social consciousness.


Over the last 25 years, Dowd has been an active entrepreneur in Austin, Texas founding three companies which have been highly successful including Vianovo and Public Strategies, all of which he sold his interests in to pursue other endeavors.


Dowd has worked both sides of the aisle, but now considers himself an Independent. Dowd’s political work includes serving as the chief strategist on two winning re-election efforts – for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006 and for President George W. Bush in 2004. His innovative approach on the 2004 and 2000 campaigns led the bi-partisan American Association of Political Consultants to name him Strategist of the Year.


In the 1980s and 1990s, he advised a wide variety of political clients including helping former Democrat Texas Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock win election and re-election. He began his career as a member of Democrat U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen's staff, and has worked on the staffs of two Democratic Congressmen.


Dowd currently serves as a special correspondent and analyst for ABC News where he appears on This Week, Good Morning America, and Nightline, and writes a regular column for various publications. Dowd covers not only politics but cultural, economic, and spiritual trends as well. He has served on the boards of various non-profit entities including Seton Family of Hospitals, a Catholic nonprofit health system in Texas. He was adviser to Bono at the One Campaign, and to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has taught seminars at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs.


He is co-author of the New York Times bestseller Applebee’s America: How Successful Political, Business and Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community.

David Heath


David Heath

David Heath is the co-Founder and chief executive officer of BOMBAS. Prior to the launch in 2013, David dedicated two years to rigorous product testing and refinement to create the best performing and most stylish athletic-leisure sock available, while staying true to their mission of helping those in need. David holds a BA from Babson College with majors in Marketing, Management, and Entrepreneurship. Previously, he led business development as one of the founding employees at UrbanDaddy and served as Executive Director of Membership Opportunities at Vibe Media. As a true serial entrepreneur, David has invested and consulted on a range of start-up businesses from concept, through launch and continued growth. David has been seen on ABC’s Shark Tank, NBC TODAY Show and Bloomberg TV.

Rachel Hurt


Rachel Hurt

Rachel is the daughter of Debra and Brett Hurt, who was the founder of Bazaarvoice (NASDAQ: BV) and Coremetrics (acquired by IBM). Together, Debra and Brett co-lead Hurt Family Investments and Rachel frequently helps. Rachel is 10-years old, in 4th grade, and a native Austinite. She has been exposed to many important facets of life and entrepreneurship that most children don’t get to see. However, the biggest difference is that she is constantly curious and learns quickly.


Rachel has most recently been a judge panelist for a YPO Shark Tank competition. Last year, she was also a co-judge to Brett as well as Josh Baer (founder of Capital Factory) and Bob Metcalfe (founder of 3COM) at HackTX, University of Texas at Austin's Hack-a-thon (reportedly the largest in the state). Rachel is involved in some of the early-stage companies that Debra and Brett are investors in and her activities have included attending investor update meetings, such as Blue Avocado's, and reviewing products and visiting manufacturing sites like Deep Eddy Vodka (Rachel is their "Official Honey Taster”). Two of the start-up pitches she helped Hurt Family Investments evaluate were Thread Dating, Zachary Dell’s startup, and Wisecrack, Jacob Salamon’s startup, and she decided to invest some of her allowance savings in both companies, making her one of the youngest angel investors in the world.


In lieu of receiving birthday presents Rachel has raised and donated more than $500 each for Austin Pets Alive and the Austin Zoo. She has a very philanthropic heart. Rachel loves to travel and is very worldly. Since she was seven she became a pen-pal with Lydia, a 4th-grader in Kenya at the Kibera School for Girls, where Rachel helps to support her and send her to a private school.


Rachel is a people person. She loves meeting new people and learning about them, and she even enjoys speaking in front of large audiences. She and her family were recipients of the LBJ Humanitarian Award in 2014 where she spoke in front of 150 adults.

Brian Fanzo


Brian Fanzo

Brian Fanzo is currently the Partner and Chief Digital Strategist at Broadsuite helping enterprise technology companies utilize new technology such as Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud Computing to be more productive and become more involved in their communities as a social business!


Brian is active across all social channels under the handle @iSocialFanz and was recently named as a top 25 Social Business Leader by IBM & the Economist

Rachel Charlesworth


Rachel Charlesworth

Rachel Charlesworth is the Vice President of Brand at RideScout, a mobile app that displays all the transportation options around a user in real time.


Rachel joined the RideScout team as employee #7 and continues to manage marketing and growth efforts for the company since acquisition by Daimler AG in September 2014.


Prior to her current role, Rachel led marketing and communications efforts for several startups. She currently lives in Austin, Texas.

Carol L. Cone


Carol L. Cone

most recently joined On Purpose—A Strategy Consulting firm accelerating business investments in society for business growth coupled with deep social impact.


Prior to joining On Purpose, Carol was the Global Chief Strategist of Edelman Business + Social Purpose, leading Edelman’s CSR, sustainability and citizenship offering, a team of more than 100 worldwide. When she is not giving speeches to business groups, MBA’s and NGO’s, she rolls up her sleeves to work with clients on purpose initiatives which have included the American Lung Association, Bezos Family Foundation Dove, HP, Microsoft, PNC, Samsung, Southwest Airlines, and Unilever.


Before joining Edelman, she was the founder and CEO of Cone, Inc., where she pioneered the practice of companies and brands linking to social issues for commercial success and societal impact. At Cone, she led the creation of longstanding social initiatives including: Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, Reebok Human Rights programs, Heinz Family Works, PNC Grow Up Great, the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women and P&G’s Live, Learn and Thrive. These programs have raised more than $1.5 billion for social causes.


Carol also created the world’s first cause-related research report, and over the years has executed dozens of studies with citizens, employees and executives.


Through this work she has become a requested expert around the globe, and has been called “arguably the most powerful and visible figure in the world of cause branding” by PRWeek. She is the author of Breakthrough Nonprofit Brands, was the first US Judge of the Cannes PR Lions, was named to PRWeek’s first list of the Most Powerful PR Professionals, and most recently was named to the Purpose 100.


Her most memorable moment: meeting the Dalai Lama at a conference in Calgary, where she spoke following him giving a speech about the power of business to change the world.

The Butler Bros


The Butler Bros

Founded in 2002, The Butler Bros are an Austin, Texas based creative communications firm that believes radical collaboration is the only pat the true brand transformation. They pit creativity, community and ingenuity against their clients’ most daunting challenges. They create brands from scratch, reimagine existing ones, and build integrated campaigns, shape events and design for packaged goods. Their collaborations have been recognized for their creative and cultural impact in the New York Times, Fast Company, Communication Arts, Print, USA Today, CBS News and CNN. View their work at thebutlerbros.com

Tom Meredith


Tom Meredith

Tom Meredith is co-founder and Chairman of the board of managers of Meritage Capital, an investment management firm specializing in multi-manager hedge funds. He is also Chief Executive Officer of MFI Capital, the Meredith family’s private investment arm.


He has served as Acting Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Motorola, Inc., and in various senior positions at Dell Inc., including Senior Vice President of Business Development and Strategy, Managing Director of Dell Ventures and Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining Dell, he was Vice President and Treasurer for Sun Microsystems and Co-Founder and General Manager of Amdahl Capital Corporation.


Tom currently serves on the board of directors of Bazaarvoice, Inc., IPX, Inc., Lucid Holdings, Inc., Rallyhood, Inc., Verb, Inc. and Umbel, Inc. He is also a member of the board of directors of The Nature Conservancy and Waller Creek Conservancy.


Tom and his wife, Lynn, have received numerous accolades and awards including being named 2012 Chamber of Commerce Austinites of the Year; recipients of the 2010 Austin Community Foundation Philanthropy Award for donors who have shown philanthropic leadership in Central Texas; the Torch of Liberty Award given by the Anti-Defamation League in 2006; Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year given by the Association of Professional Fundraisers in 2004; and an Honorary Alumni Award given by Leadership Austin in 2003.


Tom serves on the Advisory Boards of the IBM Watson Group, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and the University of Texas System Chancellor’s Technology Commercialization Cabinet. He is also an Emeritus Trustee of the University of Virginia College Foundation Board.

Justin Siegel


Justin Siegel

Justin Siegel is an entrepreneur and investor. He is the co-founder and CEO of two successful mobile entertainment companies. The first company, JSmart Technologies, was a pioneer in mobile games. It was acquired by the SK Group in 2004.


The second company, JNJ Mobile, backed by General Catalyst Partners and Softbank Capital, built one of the first mobile social networks. Today it is one of Android’s top grossing social applications, and a leading mobile platform for HTML5 games.


Justin is the founder and Managing Partner of ATX Angel, LLC, which invests in early stage companies. He is also a Techstars mentor and advisor to Boston Seed Capital.

Laura J. Kilcrease


Laura J. Kilcrease

Laura J. Kilcrease, Founder of Triton Venture Partners, L.P. Triton Ventures is an Austin, Texas-based venture capital fund specializing in high technology spin-off companies and other promising startups. Ms. Kilcrease is the founder and Managing Director of the firm.


Previously, Laura served as Director for the Center for Commercialization and Enterprise (C2E) and founding Director of the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI).


Ms. Kilcrease was one of the key participants in changing the economic landscape of Central Texas into the high tech environment that is widely recognized today.


In doing so, under her leadership, C2E nurtured over 120 companies coast to coast, with an emphasis on the flagship incubator operation of ATI in Austin, Texas. This included other initiatives to commercialize technology and build community infrastructure to foster growth in companies such as The Capital Network - one of the largest business angel networks in the country - where she also served a term as president and the Austin Software Council.


Prior to C2E, Laura spent almost 20 years in executive management, operating, merging, acquiring, turning around or selling high technology companies for both Fortune 100 companies as well as emerging firms.


Ms. Kilcrease is a Chartered Management Accountant. She also holds an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin.


Laura has been recognized for her outstanding achievements and contributions on numerous occasions, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Austin Women Profiles in Power Award, the Texas Women's Hall of Fame - Leadership Category Nominee and UT's McCombs School of Business Women in Business Leadership Conference-Trailblazer Award and recently honored as one of the Big 12 Heroes at the Big 12 Center for Economic Development, Innovation and Commercialization Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. Ms. Kilcrease sits on many boards of portfolio companies as well as educational and community boards such as, Women's Leadership Advisory Board, of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, the Beyster Institute and the IC2 Institute, at The University of Texas at Austin.

Adam Zeplain


Adam Zeplain

Adam Zeplain moved to Austin, Texas in 2006 to study at St. Edward’s University and never left. While studying Communications with a focus in Advertising, Adam founded West Campus Marketing Group. Once a graduate, Adam began his career at G-51 Capital, raising the fourth venture fund for the firm.


Adam quickly became involved in Austin’s vibrant technology and start-up community, joining a G-51 portfolio company, SocialWare, moving to Bazaarvoice as Sales Director, and now serving as Senior Director of Sales at ChatID.


Adam's "work" and hobbies often overlap, as he thoroughly enjoys helping businesses grow from the ground up.


He and his investment group have made valuable investments in Circuit of the Americas, Umbel, PetParent, ROIKOI, ChatID, Branch Basics, Verb, and Polaroid Fotobar. Adam enjoys being hands on with start-ups and serves as an advisor to many entrepreneurs and as a board member to PetParent and Branch Basics.


Also active in the Austin philanthropic community, Adam is on the Board of ZACH Theatre and is a graduate from the Anti-Defamation League's Glass Leadership Institute. Adam has been a supporter of the Center for Child Protection for years and is excited to have supported the organization through Dancing with the Stars 2014.

Kyle Ballarta


Kyle Ballarta

Kyle Ballarta is the CEO and Founder of Falkon Ventures, an innovative venture capital fund based in Austin, Texas that offers entrepreneur-focused funding solutions. Mr. Ballarta has extensive experience as an operator, investor, and strategic advisor. Kyle is a member of the initial team at LifeProof a San Diego based consumer electronics company that grew its force from three people to over 250 employees in three years.


LifeProof’s meteoric growth lead to its successful acquisition by industry leader Otterbox in a short period of time. Kyle holds an MBA with a focus in Digital Media Management from St. Edward’s University in Austin, and holds two executive certificates in Innovation and Strategic Impact from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Brett Hurt


Brett Hurt

Brett Hurt is a seed-stage investor at Hurt Family Investments (HFI) in partnership with his wife, Debra. HFI is involved in 37 startups and six VC funds. HFI has directly made 27 startup investments, and Brett has also joined the Advisory Board of ten additional companies. Prior to HFI, Brett founded Bazaarvoice (NASDAQ: BV) and served as CEO and President for 7½ years, leading the company from bootstrapped concept to almost 2,000 clients worldwide and through its successful IPO. He subsequently guided the company through a successful follow-on offering and two acquisitions, PowerReviews and Longboard Media. Prior to Bazaarvoice, Brett founded Coremetrics and helped grow the company into a global, leading marketing analytics solution for the eCommerce industry before its acquisition by IBM.


Brett holds an MBA in High-Tech Entrepreneurship from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BBA in Management Information Systems from the University of Texas at Austin. He serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Wharton School. Brett previously served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the McCombs School of Business and also served on the Board of Directors of Shop.org for six years. Brett established the Bazaarvoice Foundation and is very active in the philanthropic arena. He received the Austin Entrepreneurs Foundation’s Community Leadership Award in 2012. Brett is entrepreneur empowerment group RISE’s Serial Entrepreneur of the year for 2012. He was named by E&Y as Entrepreneur of the Year for Austin in 2009 and is a member of the Austin chapter of the international Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). Brett was named CEO of the Year for large companies by the Austin Business Journal in 2012 and received the Joseph Wharton Award for Young Leadership in 2013. Brett and Debra received the LBJ Humanitarian Award in 2014 for their dedication to public service, philanthropy, and the Austin community. Brett was awarded the Henry Crown Fellowship from The Aspen Institute and joined the 2015 XIX class.


To help support Austin's entrepreneurs, Brett serves as a Partner at Capital Factory and Mentor at Techstars Austin; invests in early-stage companies, funds, and philanthropic endeavors with Hurt Family Investments; serves as the Chairman of the Board at Edgecase (formerly named Compare Metrics); and blogs at Lucky7.io. He can be followed on Twitter at @bazaarbrett.

Judge - Zita Cassizzi

Zita Cassizzi is Chief Digital Officer at TOMS. She oversees the digital...

Judge - Matthew Dowd

During the past thirty years, Matthew Dowd has helped shape strategies and...

Judge - David Heath

David Heath is the co-Founder and chief executive officer of BOMBAS. Prior to...

Special guest - Rachel Hurt

Rachel is the daughter of Debra and Brett Hurt, who was the founder...

Judge - Brian Fanzo

Brian Fanzo is currently the Partner and Chief Digital Strategist at Broadsuite...

Accelerator Judge - Rachel Charlesworth

Rachel Charlesworth is the Vice President of Brand at RideScout, a mobil...

Accelerator Judge - Carol L. Cone

most recently joined On Purpose—A Strategy Consulting firm accelerating bu...

Judges - The Butler Bros

Founded in 2002, The Butler Bros are an Austin, Texas based creative commu...

Expert Mentor - Tom Meredith

Tom is co-founder and Chairman of the board of managers of Meritage Capita...

VC Mentor - Justin Siegel

Justin is an entrepreneur and investor. He is the co-founder and CEO of two...

VC Mentor - Laura J. Kilcrease

Founder of Triton Venture Partners, L.P. Triton Ventures is an Austin, Texas...

VC Mentor - Adam Zeplain

moved to Austin, Texas in 2006 to study at St. Edward’s University and neve...

VC Mentor - Kyle Ballarta

Kyle is the CEO and Founder of Falkon Ventures, an innovative venture capital...

VC Mentor - Brett Hurt

Brett Hurt is a seed-stage investor at Hurt Family Investments (HFI) in par...

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Flickr

Austin accelerator

View the Flickr albums to see photos of the finalists during the accelerator challenges and final presentation.

 Accelerator challenges

 Final presentations


Flickr

SXSW

Check out the Flickr albums for snapshots of the teams during the pitches and at work in the house.

 SXSW house

 SXSW pitches


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