Texas Venture Labs Selects New Startups, Announces Partnership with GE

Texas Venture Labs (TVL) has accepted 10 new portfolio companies for the spring semester. The accepted companies are equally divided into one of two stages -- early development stage, with a business plan, executive team and need for capital, and funded stage, which comprises companies that have a product, have had an early round of funding and possibly have revenue-generating customers.

TVL taps the academic resources of The University of Texas at Austin to help entrepreneurs progress through company formation, venture backing and successful acquisition. Portfolio companies are chosen through an application screening process, and are assisted through partnerships with Austin Technology Incubator, the Office of Technology Commercialization and the Central Texas Angel Network.

A group of TVL students from multiple graduate programs across the university works side-by-side with a startup's founding executives to address various challenges and tasks common for startups. TVL students come from across campus, including the McCombs School of Business, the Cockrell School of Engineering, the School of Law and the College of Natural Sciences.

"Our TVL team is currently reviewing pricing models, a warning label and go-to-market strategies for us," said Frank Gordon, CEO of Terra Pave International, one of the funded-stage deals accepted by TVL this spring. "It is early enough for the students to have an enormous impact on our business."

TVL has also entered a unique partnership with GE this year, in which TVL students will work on a new GE new product that is scheduled to launch this year. GE decided to partner with TVL after GE Chief Marketing Officer Beth Comstock visited last fall. Comstock observed that while GE has no problem producing technological innovations, the company could apply TVL's attention and discipline regarding market validation.

With TVL starting to emerge from its infancy and establish itself as a hub for technology commercialization and entrepreneurship, companies such as GE are reaching out to build relationships and get ideas on how to better model their internal innovation centers.

"While GE is far from a startup, new product development is very entrepreneurial and the thought process is the same," said TVL Accenture Venture Partner Aaron Lyons. "This will be a good experiment to see if we can apply our approach to new product offerings from one of the largest companies in the world."

Early development-stage deals include:

  • CLEAR Technology Systems has developed the first sustainable process for recycling batteries at half the current cost, and eliminating the associated toxic waste.
  • Datical creates database schema automation software for the $22 billion IT Systems Management market.
  • Game Time Arena (GTA) provides gamers a platform allowing them to interact, communicate and meet up with other gamers to arrange and setup competitive matches for cash with friends or any other gamer within the community.
  • V-Chain Solutions is a value chain solutions provider that enables companies to create a seamless supply chain across multiple software applications.
  • Vecturalux has technology allowing 10G communication up to 40 km over multimode fiber.

Funded-stage deals include:

  • AgileLaw develops mobile applications for lawyers, allowing them to focus on their cases without being encumbered by administrative tasks.
  • Enerlyte's nGAUGE program is fundamentally designed to bring a "miles-per gallon"-like understanding to household energy use.
  • GE's Wattstation enables fast Level 2 charging at home and on the road.
  • Physicians Angels provides an affordable virtual work force that allows healthcare providers to focus more on patient care, not paper care.
  • Terra Pave International Inc. offers soil control technology to customers and aims to supply the market with high quality road improvement products as well as viable replacement for prime coats.
  • Titralyte's Water Lens is a patented system for real-time chemical analysis of water that can be performed at the well site.