Los Angeles Business Journal

MuckerLab Startups Present at Second Demo Day

By Natalie Jarvey Thursday, January 17, 2013

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been corrected. The article originally stated that MuckerLab had decided against increasing its initial investment in its startups. The accelerator later said it is still considering boosting its investment.

It was graduation day Wednesday for the second startup class from Santa Monica accelerator MuckerLab.

A group of 10 startups presented at MuckerLab’s demo day, hoping to attract the eye of investors and other industry insiders.

Mucker worked with the companies for three months leading up to demo day, offering mentorship, work space and up to $21,000 in funding in exchange for less than 10 percent stake in each company.

Although it was only the second class of startups it has mentored since it announced its launch in late 2011, MuckerLab has had a high level of success.

All eight companies from MuckerLab’s first class raised funding rounds after they graduated, said Erik Rannala, MuckerLab’s co-founder and managing partner. In total, the companies have raised $15 million and created more than 100 jobs in Los Angeles.

As accelerators in Los Angeles have become more established, each is taking a slightly different approach. Launchpad LA, for example, has upped its investment in every company to $100,000.

MuckerLab is considering increasing its investment. Mucker will sometimes follow on with an investment in the company after it graduates from the program.

“We tend to focus more on the results and how we can be helpful to the business,” Rannala said. “Companies don’t do this for the money. It’s an added benefit.”

The companies in MuckerLab’s second class were almost evenly split between consumer services and enterprise products.

On the consumer side is The Black Tux, an online tux rental service. Customers pay to rent their tuxes and receive them in the mail 10 days before their event.

Another ecommerce company to come out of MuckerLab is RocksBox, a San Francisco subscription service for borrowing and buying jewelry.

GetMeRated is a mobile app geared toward teens and twentysomethings who want to find new friends online. The app, which relies on photos, conversation starters and chat features to connect people, currently has about 150,000 users.

Also dealing in the mobile space is TouchFrame, the publisher of interactive game shows where players can compete against celebrities such as Mike Tyson.

Panjo, meanwhile, is looking to go up against eBay by acting as an online marketplace for auto, sport and hobby enthusiasts.

Younity has created a cloud database where people can store their files to access from any device.

On the enterprise side is Blayze, an online platform to help YouTube channels and media companies, such as MTV and MGM, buy highly targeted viewers.

Also working with YouTube’s platform is Subblime, which is trying to help YouTube channels monetize through product recommendations.

Analytics company MarkedUp, meanwhile, is providing analytics for desktop applications so the developers can see how engaged their customers are.

Eventum is helping brands market themselves at large corporate events through photo sharing services online.

With the graduation, MuckerLab has begun selecting startups for its third class, which won’t start for another few months.