Dallas billionaire Mark Cuban—owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and a star of ABC’s “Shark Tank”—hardly shies away from speaking his mind. That’s especially true when it comes to entrepreneurial matters.
Take, for instance, Silicon Valley. While Silicon Valley may generate much of the startup buzz in the U.S., Cuban isn’t buying into the hype. In 2012, Cuban branded Silicon Valley as “pretentious” and “conceited.”
“It’s its own little lost world,” Cuban grumbled.
More recently, Cuban told the Triangle Business Journal in North Carolina that entrepreneurship in places like Dallas, Boston and Austin will “dwarf” entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley.
Well, we can assure you that entrepreneurship is alive and well in Austin. Dozens of startups (including SpareFoot, of course) are thriving in Silicon Hills. Here are eight Austin startups that are worth putting on your radar in 2014—and that just might be worthy of Mark Cuban’s attention.
CEO: Peter Li
Co-founders: Michael Kasparian, Barry Leybovich and Peter Li
What it does: “Atlas is a technology that is beyond its time. It measures and calculates live feedback that determines the type, speed and quality of your exercise,” according to CrowdDistrict.
Praise: VentureBeat hailed Atlas as “probably the coolest startup” that presented at the 2013 TechStars Demo Day in Austin.
CEO: Jay Valanju
Co-founders: Team including Jay Valanju and other former executives at Austin-based FundsXpress
What it does: “Customers earn points every time they do a signature transaction with their debit card. They can redeem the points for gift cards from select local and national merchants, either online or through a mobile app,” according to American Banker.
Praise: “Customers love it. They love the fact that they can do their shopping and get something for it without having to do something extra,” Belinda Mobley, business development manager at Commercial National Bank in Texarkana, TX, told American Banker.
Co-founders: Giulio Chiarenza and Michael Pierce
What it does: “Equipboard aims to be the ultimate fan site for people that like gear. People are hungry to know what celebrities use and love, and they actively search for these products. Equipboard will aggregate this information and build a passionate community of fans around it to keep the information relevant,” according to the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas.
Praise: “I really don’t need to spend much time convincing anyone that endorsements from well-known people are an extremely effective way to sell a product,” Tom Cheredar wrote on VentureBeat. “Finding all the endorsements made by one particular celebrity, however, will usually require lots of time and effort, which is something startup Equipboard wants to fix.”
CEO: Jason Bornhorst
Co-founders: Colin Anawaty and Jason Bornhorst
What it does: The digital platform developed by Filament Labs “allows health care providers to keep track of patients dealing with a chronic disease when they’re away from the office,” VentureBeat said. “It will essentially build a mobile app that nurses and doctors can “prescribe” their patients to use … .”
Praise: On Gigaom, Stacey Higginbotham wrote that she “loved” the premise behind Filament Labs. “First, I like that the company isn’t reinventing the wheel with a new device,” Higginbotham wrote.
CEO: Nico Bayerque
Co-founders: Iñaki Abete and Nico Bayerque
What it does: “The product takes Craigslist’s sell-anything ethos and couples it with Amazon’s ease of use and speedy shipping. Simply take a picture of something you want to get rid of, and Gone says it will automatically find the right marketplace to sell it,” according to CNN.
Praise: Whether Gone sells or donates your unwanted items, “your home will end up less cluttered,” CNN reported.
Loop & Tie
CEO: Sara Rodell
Co-founders: Sara Rodell and Jeffrey Stewart
What it does: “Ultimately, Loop & Tie’s goal is to cut the time and hassle out of shopping for a gift without having to sacrifice thoughtfulness or quality,” according to KXAN. “Loop & Tie works by allowing you to send a collection of products–including items like crafted cocktail ingredients, salted caramels, smoked meats or home accessories–to the recipient. The friend receives the gift via email and can choose their preferred item from the gift collection.”
Praise: On GeekDad, Ryan Carlson wrote that Loop & Tie “has identified a great compromise for gift-givers that struggle with picking out specific gifts for friends, relatives, or (gasp) clients.”
CEO: Kyle Samani
Co-founders: Patrick Kolencherry and Kyle Samani
What it does: “Pristine develops apps for Google Glass for healthcare environments to help treat more people at a more affordable cost,” according to the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.
Praise: “We all know that there’s no need to spend countless hours in pursuit of a pipe dream. If there’s no market for your product, you’re dead on arrival. Not so much for Pristine,” according to a website called Pioneers.
CEO: Autumn Manning
Founder: Kenny Tomlin
What it does: “This social media-based recognition program lets your entire team award points to their colleagues that can be redeemed for a variety of different rewards,” according to Entrepreneur.com.
Praise: “The coolest thing is that it’s peer-to-peer rather than from management. I can recognize one of our sales guys for landing a great project or an engineer for doing a great job on a system upgrade,” Erin Jacobs, a senior designer at Austin startup Mass Relevance, told the Austin American-Statesman.