CodeLaunch, the startup competition and traveling accelerator event, is touching down in Dallas for its 11th annual event on November 15.
Six startups from across the U.S., including one from North Texas, will vie on stage at Gilley’s South Side Ballroom for CodeLaunch trophies and its WWF-style Championship belt. Plus, seven startup founders are in the running for up to $150,000 in investment capital from VC fund Cyrannus.
CodeLaunch DFW 2023 combines a seed-accelerator competition, tech expo, networking event, and startup conference for an event that’s equal parts showmanship, tech, and entertainment.
Or as CodeLaunch President Jason W. Taylor puts it, “It’s the greatest startup show on earth.”
This year’s event features a comedy kickoff and an “opening act” from Frisco-based CharaChorder, a successful 2019 CodeLaunch alum. The startup, now profitable and paying dividends to investors, will launch its next-gen tech onstage in a “ChorderCon,” Taylor told us.
Getting startups off the ground with an MVP
Helping startups like CharaChorder and others is what CodeLaunch is all about at its core, Taylor says.
The concept first blasted off in 2013 when he hosted its first startup accelerator focused on launching minimum viable products (MVPs), an event that had about 40 attendees.
Fast forward to today, when Plano-based CodeLaunch fields thousands of applications beyond North Texas. It’s leveled up to become a leading startup launchpad with the addition of an expo, networking events, and hackathons at events across the U.S and, most recently, Mexico.
But Taylor tells us CodeLaunch’s mission remains the same: fueling startups with the tools for liftoff. Even if startups don’t win the top prize, they blast off with real products and traction, the organization says.
CodeLaunch DFW 2023 finalists
This year’s finalists competing at CodeLaunch DFW 2023 represent a range of industries and business models.
Nova (Little Elm, Texas)
North Texas-based Nova, a B2B logistics and sourcing platform with “deep product market fit,” aims to simplify sourcing pipelines for manufacturers and streamline supplier communication. Nova, founded by an “amazing group” student founders from the Frisco ISD and a freshman from UT, has 10-plus target clients piloting its MVP, according to Taylor and CodeLaunch.
Nova Co-Founder Siddhant Singh said the startup helps procurement teams of sizes source materials faster and eliminate the “administration hassle associated with getting the best prices from vendors.”
In a CodeLaunch blog post, Singh said the startup is targeting a 27 billion market that “continues to grow as more technology gets integrated with an antiquated industry.”
By capturing “even less than 1% of the market, our unique solution can stand out with a value add of $270 million to help get rid of the problems associated with material resource planning (MRP) softwares for these manufacturers,” he said.
On LinkedIn, Nova Co-founder Archit Thanikella calls it “the beginning of an incredible journey.” In a recent news release, the company introduced its manufacturer-supplier email communication for procurement, a pain point for many in the industry.
The startup uses automation and AI to generate personalized email templates tailored to different procurement needs. Manufacturers can easily communicate specifics like dimensions and delivery dates, ensuring suppliers instantly receive crucial information, it said.
Novia is seeking pre-seed funding, according to the release. It also announced participation at TechCrunch 2023 and SXSW 2024 to showcase its features that modernize manufacturer-supplier email communication.
Other finalists from around the U.S. are:
All company information provided by CodeLaunch.
Baru (Cleveland Heights, Ohio)
Baru, a shared-economy digital manufacturing platform with a $5M pre-CodeLaunch valuation, demonstrates significant growth potential. Under the leadership of Founder Tino Go, the company offers a unique furniture customization experience using premium, sustainable materials and capitalizes on idle robotics to bring supply chains closer to home. With a product and generating revenue, Baru is set to reshape manufacturing practices. Tino Go has acknowledged the impact of the accelerator, saying, “CodeLaunch’s support is another validation point that Baru has a business that can be the next globe-changing paradigm in manufacturing supply chains.”
Five Star Fans (Columbus, Ohio)
Five Star Fans, spearheaded by Tina Provost—a former Division I athlete—innovates the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) recruiting landscape. The app enables fans to boost athletic recruit profiles by “purchasing likes,” effectively rallying support for prospective student-athletes to join their favored schools. With an operational product and existing revenue, Five Star Fans stands out in the digital recruiting space. Reflecting on the journey, Provost said, “The process to make it through CodeLaunch has really pushed us to the next level with marketing ourselves as founders on social media.”
Lighthouse (Denver, Colorado)
Lighthouse, the Denver-based social network for nonprofits, is a B2B platform connecting charities and foundations to participants, volunteers, and donors. Founded by Mackenzie Langley, it aims to elevate organizational visibility and collaborative opportunities. At the MVP stage with 250 nonprofits on board and backed by 25 letters of intent, Lighthouse is gaining momentum. Langley said the CodeLaunch process has helped refine the startup’s product roadmap with “laser precision, ensuring that we craft the most effective solutions for the challenges nonprofits encounter daily.”
MASLOW (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
MASLOW, founded by Ph.D. and MD candidates at UNC Chapel Hill, offers an AI tool to enhance patient care and alleviate physician workload. The platform, which is currently being piloted in 14 clinics, processes patient responses to social determinants of health (SDoH) questions in over 12 languages, flags health risks, suggests local resources, and summarizes needs for clinicians pre-appointment. Co-founder Nehemiah Stewart said the program has shifted the startup from academia to action—engaging with clinics directly. “The CodeLaunch homework made us go out and speak with dozens of clinics, Stewart said. “Of the 10 clinics we contacted, four of them have expressed a desire to onboard MASLOW immediately.”
Orgaimi (Chicago, Illinois)
Orgaimi, helmed by Founder Paul Giedraitis, is a client intelligence platform designed for law and accounting firms. With a focus on driving firm growth and bolstering the work of data professionals, the B2B AI product has established customers and generates revenue, boasting a $13 million pre-CodeLaunch valuation.
Pre-show development with hackathon teams
The startups work with professional developer teams from event sponsors to accelerate their products before the final event. On November 12th and 13th, each of these six startups will receive 24 hours of expert software development from their designated hackathon teams.
Following the intense development sprint, they’ll take the stage to showcase their products before a live audience, who will then interactively help choose the “Best Startup in DFW for 2023.”
Raheel Malik, founder and CEO, FirstGen Agency, will emcee the event. Judges include Micahel Camp, CEO, Cyrannus; Wendi W. McGowan-Ellis, founding general partner, Cassandra Capital; and James Creedon, deputy managing partner, Impact Initiatives.
$150,000 investment challenge finalists
Presenting sponsor Cyrannus’ $150,000 investment challenge will announce awards for the top “Commercial” and “Impact” startups.
Cyrannus Founder Lee Mosbacker created the challenge to “reward CodeLaunch founders with the opportunity to receive serious cash investments.” Two winners are expected to be announced based on the best Cyrannus score: The “Commercial” startup could receive $100K and the best “Impact” startup could receive $50K. In a blog post, CodeLaunch said a Cyrannus spokesperson noted that “if one winner scored the highest for both challenges, they could potentially receive a total of $150K in investment.”
CodeLaunch lists the Investment Challenge finalists as:
- E360 – Houston 2023 Finalist
- Baru – DFW 2023 Finalist
- Gabu – Mexico 2023 Finalist
- LeaseClub – Atlanta 2023 Semi-Finalist
- BizBat – Mexico 2023 Finalist
- Five Star Fans – DFW 2023 Finalist
- Klout Machine – Ohio 2022 Semi-Finalist
$1.5 million in services provided, so far
CodeLaunch says it has helped launch startups like CharaChorder, ProsRent, StyleRow, KidStrong, Autix, and Evva Health since starting in 2013. The event has contributed over $1.5 million in services to participants so far, according to the organization.
Taylor created CodeLaunch as a unique spin on the seed accelerator concept to make it a “critical amenity” for pre-MVP startups. Its hackathon, which was introduced at its fifth event, sets it apart from other startup accelerators: Finalists leave CodeLaunch with tangible products and MVPs.
CodeLaunch does not take equity from founders or require capital from participating startups, it said. Instead, CodeLaunch focuses on providing startups with necessary resources, education, and a platform to build investable ventures with real digital products. That approach, inspired by Conscious Capitalism values, helps founders to accelerate growth on their own terms.
CodeLaunch sponsors and partners put thousands of dollars in professional seed services behind the winners of its national seed accelerator competition.
Bigger than ever in 2023
David O’Hara, Improving Dallas president, said this year’s event is “going to be bigger than ever.”
CodeLaunch parent company Improving acquired Frisco-based Code Authority in 2019 with plans to expand its event to additional markets. The CodeLaunch brand now hosts events in U.S. markets like Houston, Atlanta, Ohio, and internationally, in Mexico.
“We’re proud to be supporting the startup ecosystem in this way as it aligns with our commitment to Conscious Capitalism, but even more importantly, it’s making a real difference for the folks in the community,” O’Hara said in a statement.
CodeLaunch DFW 2023 at Gilley’s in Dallas on November 15
The DFW 2023 CodeLaunch conference and competition will take place on November 15 at Gilley’s in Dallas. Next year, the event will return to Frisco where it was founded, says President Jason Taylor.
CodeLaunch DFW 2023 is partnering with Mankind, a Dallas nonprofit creating awareness around men’s health issues, through refundable local charity benefit tickets. A portion of the ticket price will be given directly to the charity, according to the organization.
Times and information courtesy of Codelaunch. Check details before you go.
Attendees can visit over 50 exhibitors from startups and leading brands that support the CodeLaunch community and Dallas-Fort Worth entrepreneurship.
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
ChorderCon on Main Stage
2019 CodeLaunch Finalist and Fuel Fund Recipient CharaChorder will reveal their new generational products and announce future plans on the main stage.
6:00 PM – 6:05 PM
The Daily Standup Comedy
DFW comedian and 2x former startup founder Josh Stramiello opens all CodeLaunch shows with a “unique comedic ‘pitch’ unlike any you’ve heard before,” CodeLaunch says.
6:05 PM – 7:45 PM
CodeLaunch Finale Live Show
CodeLaunch says the six finalists will “square off in a head-to-head startup battle format that only CodeLaunch can produce.” The interactive audience and emcee Raheel Malik of First Gen Agency and other judges will decide the winners. Plus, “Cyrannus will deploy $150K in investment offers.”
7:45 PM – 9:00 PM
Networking, Trade Show, and Celebration
Attendees can meet the competition champions, network with the judges, visit exhibitor tables or startups, and grab drinks and food from Gilley’s at the CodeLaunch Startup Expo.
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