During its “NewsFront” presentation in late April, The Wall Street Journal announced a new reality competition series that would follow a group of 25 entrepreneurs and their companies as they vie for the title of “WSJ Startup of the Year.” Back then, WSJ said the series was the company’s most expensive foray into original online video programing.
Today, WSJ has unveiled the group of startups slated to participate in the series, picking 24 companies from a pool of 500 startups. Each selected startup is a US company, has a prototype or proof of concept, and earns less than $10 million per year. Over the next five months, the companies will compete for the title prize and along the way will receive mentoring from heavy hitters such as Virgin Group’s Sir Richard Branson, co-founder and former CEO of AOL Steve Case, and Tory Burch CEO and designer Tory Burch (also expect MC Hammer and will.i.am to show up, because, why not?).
New episodes will be added to WSJ Live, WSJ’s online video platform that averages 20–25 million streams per month, beginning June 24.
The show’s landing page currently hosts a trailer featuring interviews with successful executives, including Case and Branson. Exclusive sponsorship for the series comes from the New York Stock Exchange’s Big Startup initiative, a nationwide program matching corporate America with new companies.
From the WSJ announcement, here are the 24 companies to be featured in the documentary series:
- Asius Technologies: A new way to deliver sound using patented, inflatable in-ear technology that delivers a richer sound at one-quarter of the volume.
- Brain Sentry: Targeting the more than seven million youth in the U.S. who play football, lacrosse and hockey, Mr. Sentry has developed a helmet-mounted sensor that emits audible alerts when an athlete experiences significant head impact.
- Brewla: With a focus on consumer health, Brewla aims to reinvent frozen food with items derived from brewed processes. Their current product line, Brewla Bars, are all-natural ice pops with no more than 70 calories, less sugar than an apple, and naturally enhanced with vitamins and minerals.
- Chute: Helps brands, publishers and agencies leverage real-time and user-generated visual content from photo-sharing tools like Instagram and Flickr.
- Gamemaster: Creates a seamless transition between the digital and analog worlds by interactively connecting people through mobile real-life games to be played in real-time.
- Infina Connect Healthcare Systems: Automates manual coordination processes, enabling medical practices to send, receive and track patient referrals. Since inception, the company has served more than 4,500 physician users in 1,500 clinics in North Carolina.
- Kairos: Brings facial recognition to businesses via Kairos ID, helping retailers identify and better serve loyalty customers in-store.
- Kenai Sports: Sportswear brand that makes clothing out of trash, including plastic bottles, cell phone cases, keyboards and organic waste, from landfills across the country.
- Light Point Security: Protects enterprises from web-based malware by allowing employees to browse the web from a virtual machine in the cloud.
- LiveSchool: Provides schools nationwide with a system for tracking and improving school culture via an app to track behavior and other key classroom management data.
- The Muse: A career platform that helps people figure out what they want to do with their lives — and then how to get there — by surfacing job listings, career content and rich media profiles from a spectrum of retail, tech and media companies.
- MyCityWay: A multi-national startup pioneering a new generation of self-learning, personalized mobile interfaces and apps to guide residents and visitors through their daily experiences.
- NanoSatisfi: Grounded by the premise that access to space should be simple and widespread, the company enables students and educators to run their own applications, games and experiments onboard a satellite.
- PlanetReuse Marketplace: With a mission to help reduce the amount of landfill waste in the U.S. from 40% to 30% by 2020, PlanetReuse Marketplace powered by InvenQuery makes reclaimed material easier to procure to save money, serve LEED efforts and sustain the planet.
- Radiate Athletics: A sports apparel brand designed to inspire athletes to achieve optimal performance levels by showing body temperature increases during exercise through color changes in the apparel itself.
- Rebellion Photonics: Builds special chemical imaging cameras that can spot explosive gas leaks on rigs and refineries.
- Snaps!: Allows users to add virtual content or “snaps” to new or existing photos to connect brands and consumers more easily.
- Speek: Makes simple, free and visual conference calls by creating an easy-to-remember personal link (i.e., speek.com/YourName) for calls rather than using a traditional phone number and PIN.
- SwipeSense: Aims to save 100,000 lives lost every year due to hospital-acquired infections by providing hospital staff with a portable, trackable hand sanitation device that dispenses alcohol gel with the swipe of a hand while transmitting usage data wirelessly to a web-based application.
- Syntellia: Revolutionizes typing on smartphones by allowing users to type on the familiar keyboard layout without needing to look at the screen. It does this through patent-pending, predictive text technology initially created for the blind.
- Trendalytics: A platform that helps brands and retailers understand which merchandise trends resonate with consumers in the apparel and accessories industry by monitoring over a billion online signals and leveraging proprietary algorithms to identify patterns in online search behavior and consumer engagement.
- Troop ID: Digital identification technology that allows members of the military community to securely prove military service online in order to claim exclusive benefits from retailers.
- WeDidIt: An online and mobile platform for nonprofit fundraising that provides organizations the tools they need to develop and launch engaging crowdfunding.
- ‘ZinePak: Creates small-format entertainment magazines called ‘ZinePaks for celebrities, musicians and brands.
Vanessa O’Connell, entrepreneurship editor and creator of the Journal’s The Accelerator Blog, is hosting a discussion on entrepreneurship at the Northside Festival tomorrow at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg. She will be joined by panelists and some of the “WSJ Startup of the Year” mentors including Vonage co-founder Jeff Pulver, TechStars NYC co-founder David Tisch, and Do Something CEO Nancy Lublin.