Q+A: CodeLaunch Finalists Share
Their Startup Stories

Meet the finalists in Frisco-based Code Authority's seed accelerator



Five finalists will vie for a chance to turn their app idea into a reality during Wednesday’s CodeLaunch Pitch Day event at Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco.

The Frisco-based custom software company Code Authority launched its annual seed accelerator in 2013 to help people develop their app ideas. As part of the competition, up to two winners will receive software design and development resources to create their app and in exchange Code Authority will take a minority stake in the startup.

Its fourth installment has brought in the most applicants yet. This year’s finalists come from Frisco, McKinney, and Los Angeles, California. 

“Our first CodeLaunch in 2013 garnered strong regional interest and has since grown to this year’s 247 applicants representing six continents,“ said Jason W. Taylor, president of Code Authority and founder of CodeLaunch, in a release.

The finalists, whose ideas range from a parking app for high-end cars to an integrated project management tool for interior designers, took a moment this week to share what inspired their ideas. 

Co-founders Stephen Levin and Maximilian von Brand of ParkUpFront

What led you to start your business?

As exotic car owners ourselves, we discovered a need in our community for reserved up front parking for high-end cars at restaurants, clubs, and other venues. Many exotic car owners shy away from visiting places if they don’t know whether there will be an available parking spot in front of the establishment where the valet can keep an eye on the car. The ParkUpFront app allows exotic car owners the convenience of knowing they have a reserved, visible parking spot ready for them when they arrive. 

What differentiates your business from others in your particular field?

Currently, there are no parking services that directly cater to exotic car owners. The luxury car industry is a niche market with demanding clients and high visibility. ParkUpFront not only solves a problem for car owners, but also increases business for restaurants, clubs, and other venues, as well as valets.

Is there anything else people should know about you and/or your business?

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is the perfect market to launch ParkUpFront. It has the venues, the demographic, and a thriving economy. Not only is the app a free service for the users, but as an added bonus, many venues will offer incentives for car owners, such as a drink on the house, a free appetizer, or even skipping the line at a club.

Our vision is for ParkUpFront to become a household name and a lifestyle app for all high-end car owners. 


John Clark, president and CEO of USA Renovations, Inc.

What led you to start your business?

As president and CEO of USA Renovations, Inc. since 2010, I have noticed several inefficiencies in the construction industry. Today’s available technology will allow for PROSRent.com to solve a major problem with the construction rental industry. 

What differentiates your business from others in your particular field?

For starters, there are few competitors in this sector at the moment. With those few companies just launching there is no way to determine the differences due to the lack of experience. It’s too soon to determine who or what they are targeting.

Is there anything else people should know about you and/or your business?

PROSRent.com will solve one of the major problems today that consume countless hours from contractors’ work week allowing them to get back to work that matters most.


Eric Fooks, founder of Virtualvue

What led you to start your business?

I’m a serial entrepreneur that continues to identify opportunities that assist consumers in everyday lives.

What differentiates your business from others in your particular field?

Virtualvue’s competitors are positioned from a sellers point of view, Virtualvue is positioned to assist the consumer to make more informed decisions. 

Is there anything else people should know about you and/or your business?

I and my family seek to make the world a better place. Virtualvue is just one way we accomplish this.


Greg Trykoski, founder of Downstream Diesel 

What led you to start your business?

As a fuel sales rep, I noticed inefficiencies in how daily fuel quotes were communicated between buyers and sellers. I set out to find a solution.

What differentiates your business from others in your particular field?

Downstream Diesel will be the only cloud-based (SAS) platform allowing for two-way communication between commercial fuel sellers and buyers.

Is there anything else people should know about you and/or your business?

Downstream Diesel will be the first company to combine the cold nature of commodity sales with the human element of personal relationships.


Co-founders Erinn Valencich and Timothy Scully, Jr. of StyleRow 

What led you to start your business?  

After running a successful interior design business and a separate furniture company for 12 years, we have identified some major problem areas in our industry that need technology solutions. Our industry is traditionally under served by software, and we are thrilled to bring together a fully integrated solution that will help designers shop, source, share, and save products for their projects including invoicing and project management tools.  

StyleRow will revolutionize the way designers and showrooms do business. It’s definitely something that is needed. The power behind Tim’s background in creating engaging digital experiences for Fortune 50 companies combined with a wealth of knowledge around engagement, we feel we are creating an experience that will speak to our vertical in multiple ways like never before. 

What differentiates your business from others in your particular field?  

There are no other businesses in our field that have taken on the outdated systems we use with an complete enterprise suite of software. There are a few that have tried to solve one or two of the issues, but without being fully integrated among the products, the designers and the showrooms, the companies are only marginally effective. StyleRow will be the most effective, complete solution developed to date. A much-needed disruption in a growing, but outdated industry when it comes to technology.

Is there anything else people should know about you and/or your business? 

Tim Scully is an innovative digital executive, previously vice president of digital commerce for HSN, a billion dollar retail play and is credited with having created and launched their mobile business.  Prior, he founded his own agency, BaseSix.

Erinn Valencich is the founder and creative director of Erinn V. Design Group, an award-winning Los Angeles-based boutique design firm. The granddaughter of a fine cabinetmaker and daughter of an architect who studied with Frank Lloyd Wright, Valencich’s approach to design underscores the importance of craftsmanship and materiality, and also celebrates luxe, livable furnishings. 


CodeLaunch Pitch Day

When: 3:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Dr Pepper Arena, 2601 Avenue of the Stars, in Frisco

More info: codelaunch.com

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