JoopLoop takes 3rd @ Jackpot Startup Competition

John Perls Startup Jackpot1JoopLoop CEO John Perls recently competed in the Jackpot Startup Competition hosted by AngelStartup and the Dallas Entrepreneur Center.  Over a hundred startups had applied to participate in the competition which took place during Dallas’ first-ever, national angel investor conference.  The applications were narrowed to just 10 startups that presented at the pre-summit kickoff.  Only 5 companies were selected to present during the summit including JoopLoop; each had 4 minutes to present their idea to a panel of judges comprised of investors.

JoopLoop took 3rd place and received $2,500 in in-kind prizes.  He also increased his winnings by taking a turn in the cash machine.

VentureSpur 2013 graduate ViewMarket, nabbed 2nd place during the competition with Health Wildcatter 2013 graduate Cariloop taking first place.

VentureSpur Delivers High-Octane Pitch Day Program!

Group PhotoQuite honestly, our VentureSpur 2014 Pitch Day brought the heat this year!  Our 2014 program delivered a high-quality, high-octane event with non-stop momentum from beginning to end.  The event kicked off by setting the stage for Dallas to take its place as the  restaurant & retail tech capital with 6 quick pitches by local venture-funded companies that have shown demonstrated growth.  Those companies include:  Theatro, EnTouch Controls, KouponMedia, Tailwind, Entegra Technologies & Oculus360.

VentureSPUR_165Our Keynote presentation by Asif Khan, Founder & President of the Location-Based Marketing Association, highlighted several key themes of location-based marketing; tying in entertaining video examples that emphasized each concept.  His keynote also echoed the sentiment that Dallas is one of the best places to launch a retail tech startup due to the high concentration retailers in the area.

Our 6 accelerator companies pitched following the keynote.  From beginning to end, each company delivered a polished presentation to an audience of 400, including several VC’s, angels, industry leaders and members of the greater Dallas entrepreneurial community.  If you missed this exciting event, a video of our 2014 pitch day program, and recordings of each pitch, will be added to our YouTube channel soon.

We are also excited to announce that several of our startups will be staying in the Dallas area.  Check out this great article by the Danielle Abril of the Dallas Business Journal covering the plans of our companies post Pitch Day!


VentureSpur Companies 2014 – Brandfitters

In mid-2012, Jeff Abney made an observation about the trend of media hardware. IMG_1524.JPGHe noticed that media that was once divided among several different channels – television, computer, radio, and cell phones – were converging into one single piece of hardware with the advent of the smart phone. However, while people began consuming media through a single piece of hardware, the digital identities under which they communicated online, like Facebook, email, Twitter, or Google+, remain splintered. And so, while communicating with someone in reality is simple, because they can only be in one location at one time, communicating with someone online can take place over multiple channels, and with varying degrees of success.

It was then that he spoke with Gayden Day, the founder and owner of the advertising agency Rocket Red. Since the advent of the Internet, Gayden had spent her career reaching out to consumers via these same online channels, working to push them content for the brands she works for. When they spoke, Jeff pitched her an idea: what if there were a single, unified platform on which brands could communicate with their customers, and customers could communicate back? Just like two people meeting in person, what if customers could communicate to brands what their personal interests are, and in return, brands would know what content was relevant to that customer, and would be able to push only content that was relevant. Such a platform could transform marketing from being a digital shouting match between brands to a conversation between a brand and its customer. Gayden loved the idea, and the two formed a team.

Their company, Brandfitters, is founded around the values of conversation, community and commerce. Through the platform, customers can converse with the brands they care about, providing valuable feedback to the brands to guide them in their product development and sales efforts, and receive relevant content and promotions in return. Customers of a certain brand can meet other customers and share with one another recommendations and ideas. And when customers are made aware of products and deals their favorite brands are offering, they can make a purchase immediately through the Brandfitters platform.

As the co-founders, and President and CEO, respectively, Jeff Abney and Gayden Day are the ideal team to execute on this idea. With Jeff’s background in sales, and with Gayden’s wealth of marketing experience and domain knowledge, they bring the knowledge and expertise needed to transform this idea into reality. Joining them is Jason Guthry as CTO, with a background in enterprise software, and Joseph Williams, who has worked on several start-ups as a back-end developer.

The product demo is in progress and is almost complete, and the company has several active conversations with potential clients, including SallyBeauty. Come out to Gilley’s on October 29, from 1:00p.m. – 5:00p.m. to meet the team in person and learn more about Brandfitters. Register at PitchDay.VentureSpur.Com!

VentureSpur Companies 2014 – JoopLoop

IMG_1357In early 2012, this former ad agency executive began developing mobile game applications. Some were experimental, while others had some interesting concepts behind them. But one of them got John Perls, JoopLoop Founder and CEO, excited. The app was called Carney Carlos and offered customers at local bars the chance to play a “toss in the bucket” type game, beat the house score, and get a dollar or two off a beer or appetizer. Customers would then share the deal along with the location of the bar they were at to their personal social network(s). The app worked and got friends of friends to the bar. This app would become the inspiration behind JoopLoop.

At this point, John had already built a large software development network, sourcing in China, India, Bulgaria, Russia and Ukraine. After multiple trips to the eastern Europe, and the completion of many successful mobile projects, he decided to focus their attention on a team in Ukraine. Today, this company’s founder is JoopLoop’s CTO.

By mid January 2012, John had created the basic architecture for the JoopLoop mobile software. The key benefit was a method of assigning a value to a consumer’s social network in actual sales transactions at retail brick and mortar known as a consumer’s Social NetWorth Index (SNI). But the SNI has many more data points for retailers to take action with including propensity to share, network size, engagement frequency, purchase style, purchase size, geography, age and gender.

By January of 2013, John assembled a management team and advisory board made up of retailers, PhDs and several high profile consumer research leaders. They then began building the JoopLoop mobile applications, followed by the platform. The first JoopLoop prototype launched in August 2013, just eight months after they began development. Pilots, refinements and testing followed along with the development of more complex data collection and algorithms.

The challenge then, as it still is today, are marketers’ inability to measure ROI of their social media spending. In other words, marketers have no way of measuring the ROI of a consumer’s personal social network in sales transactions at retail brick and mortar stores, a whole different game than measuring ad clicks on a platform like Facebook. And even with the lack of measurement, marketers will spend $4.8 billion on social media this year alone and $8.22 billion in 2015. JoopLoop solves this problem.

John spent 20 years at some of the world’s largest ad agencies and retailers including Grey, RSCG Euro, Ammirati, Bloomingdales and Macy’s and the last 12 years as Founder/Creative Director of a full service ad agency, growing it from zero to $16 Mil in annual capitalized billings with a successful exit. He is also a speaker at various marketing and research conferences including Akzo Nobel’s Global Summit, 2013, iiex Europe/Amsterdam, 2014, ARF Rethink/NYC, 2014, ESOMAR LIVE B2B Forum/ATL, 2014 and ARF Omnichannel Retail, 2014/Chicago.

JoopLoop software and algorithms are currently Patent Pending. JoopLoop and Social NetWorth Index are trademarks of JoopLoop Inc.

JoopLoop is in phase 2 of development. Pilots will be completed shortly. Please join us at Gilley’s on October 29, from 1:00p.m. – 5:00p.m. to meet John in person and learn more about this powerful new mobile software.

Register for pitch day today
at PitchDay.VentureSpur.Com

36kr to Feature 5 Million Shoppers at Stanford!

Chinese Tech CrunchWe are happy to announce that 5 Million Shoppers will be featured by 36kr (previously, Chinese TechCrunch), and they will present their startup on their opening day tomorrow at Stanford University.

The event will be attended by several venture capitalist firms from around the country along with 300+ other audience members including industry experts and Stanford students & alumni.

This is another big exposure for 5 Million Shoppers on the heels of being featured by Forbes China.

For those of you not heading to Stanford this weekend, you can still catch the live show, via this link .  Although, you will need to be prepared to hear the pitch in Chinese!  For the English version, be sure to catch 5 Million Shoppers at Pitch Day on October 29th!



VentureSpur Companies 2014 – Hostspot

IMG_0506Abraham Cornejo, Edgar Vilchis and Alberto Garcia met for the first time in Austin at South by Southwest. As fate would have it, they all met again, unplanned, in their home city of Mexico City at the Angelhack Hackathon. Their complementary skills made them natural partners, so they formed a team. Coming from a background of working with advertising agencies in which he worked for clients like Coca-Cola, Abraham wanted to create a product to help businesses in their marketing efforts. Alberto, with fifteen years experience working for companies like Telefonica, the largest telecommunications company in the Spanish-speaking world, and Urban360, the most downloaded smartphone application in Mexico, wanted to build a data analytics platform for businesses. And Edgar, having worked with machines, wanted to create something using hardware In the end, they combined their ideas, and Hostspot was born.

The team went to work building a demo, and went on to not only to win AngelHack in Mexico City, but the international competition in San Francisco as well. With the capital provided, they returned to Mexico City and went to work building the business. Hostspot offers an integrated set of tools for brick-and-mortar restaurants and retailers to leverage to gain greater insight into the needs and behaviors of their customers. Using location sensors, smart phone wi-fi tracking, and social media data, as well as other tools, they began delivering to their clients the tools that online ecommerce websites already have at their disposal, leveling the playing field for brick-and-mortar stores against ecommerce companies.

Hostspot is already serving 15 brands in Mexico City, 70% of which are paying customers. Following on that success, they are seeking to expand into the U.S. market, and their team is uniquely qualified to do so. Working many years as a developer for telecommunications companies and technology startups, Alberto is leading the development from Mexico City, joined by Hostspot’s second developer, Edgar Vilchis, with extensive experience in back-end development as well. By working out of Mexico, they are building their product at 30% the cost it would be in the U.S. Drawing on his experience in advertising, and leveraging his fluency in English, Abraham is working out of Dallas, marketing the company and growing a customer base.

On October 29, Abraham, Alberto and Edgar will join the rest of the VentureSpur teams to pitch their company. Come out and join us from 1:00p.m. – 5:00p.m. at Gilley’s to meet them in person and learn more their company, Hostspot.

Register for pitch day at PitchDay.VentureSpur.Com!

VentureSpur Companies 2014 – 5 Million Shoppers

It’s no secret that China has experienced rapid growth in the past couple of decades that have launched it to becoming the second largest economy in the world. It’s also no secret that businesses and investors alike have profited greatly from the opportunities presented by China’s rapid growth. A lesser known fact is that China now sends more tourists abroad than any other nation on earth. Growing up in Beijing and working in the United States, Jie Hao was in an ideal position to observe and understand the many cultural differences between Chinese and Americans as they began to interact commercially far more frequently – and the many opportunities that this presents.

Before founding his company, Jie worked as a deal maker, helping Chinese investors to find good investment opportunities in the US. While working, he noticed two recurring problems. First, Chinese visitors to the U.S. had no idea where to go shopping. The knowledge that Americans take for granted including where to find shopping outlets and what is popular is information most Chinese tourists do not have access to. Second, once they have arrived in the U.S., most Chinese tourists do not know how to navigate within the country. Access to public transportation in most U.S. cities, combined with their layout and design, makes transportation for Chinese tourists not intuitive.

Seeing this enormous hole in the market, Jie decided to launch his company 5 Million Shoppers, named after the number of Chinese tourists projected to visit the U.S. in the near future. Through the company, Jie will be able to leverage the unique experiences of himself and his team to help these tourists navigate through the stops on their itinerary and connect with the retail outlets they are looking for. 5 Million Shoppers will bring to these tourists the local knowledge of the United States that they lack. Simultaneously, it will provide an invaluable marketing channel to brands and retailers. While tourism from China is exploding, retailers currently have few tools to market to them, as all marketing and advertising is tailored for a local American population. 5 Million Shoppers offers retailers a unique access that they can leverage to attract Chinese tourists to their establishments and increase sales.

Jie and his team have all spent considerable time in the United States, learning and understanding the market. Come out to Gilley’s on October 29, from 1:00p.m. – 5:00p.m. to meet Jie and his team in person and learn more about the incredible potential of this flagship company.

JOIN US AT PITCH DAY! Register at PitchDay.VentureSpur.Com

Andrews Kurth Announced as Presenting Sponsor

We are very excitedAKlogo to announce Andrews Kurth LLP as a presenting sponsor of VentureSpur!

Andrews Kurth LLP is a leading law firm with 10 offices globally in the United States, the United Kingdom the UAE, and China. Working across a diverse range of industries, Andrews Kurth prides itself on a diverse workforce consisting of the best and the brightest, pursuing everything with “straight talk” rather than legalese. In addition to bringing considerable value to their clients, Andrews Kurth also makes itself a pillar of the communities in which it operates, supporting local initiatives and non-profit organizations by contributing its resources, expertise, and manpower.

No matter what you are pursuing, Andrews Kurth is a valuable partner to work with, and we are delighted to partner with them in our mission to support the entrepreneur community in Dallas. Please join us in thanking them for their support!

To learn more about Andrews Kurth, please visit their website:

VentureSpur Companies 2014 – 5 Screens Media


When VentureSpur announced it was seeking applications for its 2014 class of start-ups, it received hundreds of applications from all over the world. However, only a select few were ultimately chosen to travel to Dallas to be a part of the VentureSpur accelerator. One of those selected was Sam Hijazin, and his company, 5 Screens Media.

While traveling and working throughout the country, Sam has lived mostly on the east coast and recently in New Jersey, where he developed an extensive background in the telecommunications and mobile industries, working specifically in leading the areas of Mobile Product Innovation, Network Rollout, Data Analytics, and Mobile Marketing for companies like Telcordia Technologies, Comsearch, and with major wireless operators in the US including services to AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. Sam has been on the front lines of the technology development fields, and observed the enormous commercial effects cutting-edge advances. New innovations and technologies, specifically the universality of smartphone ownership, was providing new channels through which retailers and customers could interact. Sam noticed that users still do not have full cross-screens experience and would benefit from seamless engagement on the mobile and the other digital screens. He also felt that such engagement will be increased if businesses take advantage of the growing capabilities within mobile networks for sponsoring end users data access. Thus, the idea for 5 Screens Media was born.

5 Screens Media enables retailers to ubiquitously increase the two-way engagement with their customers through sponsoring the data access that customers use when they are on their mobile sites. This increases interactive engagement, awareness and loyalty between the customer and the retailer. By sponsoring the customer’s data, the length of engagement between the customer and the retailer is extended, increasing the chance of sales conversion. It is also a message of appreciation from the retailers and a good business practice with their customers.

Sam has built an excellent team to execute this vision. His CTO, Dr. Thimios Pangos has a strong background in telecommunications , mobile technologies, and data distribution systems. Mr. Ehab Hijazen works alongside him, managing the operations of the company. He also has significant advisory board that includes Dr. Adam Drobot and Mr. Scott Ericsson, both are leaders with successful track record in advancing technologies, business operations, and applications in the telecommunication fields. Sam, a pragmatic leader, continues to carefully build and expand a collaborative culture within the organization. Drawing on his wealth of experience and extensive background in wireless technologies, media, and other diverse industries where he lead large corporate teams as well as started early startups, Sam leads the company as the CEO.

Sam and his company 5 Screens Media will be among the companies showcased at the Venture Spur final pitch event on October 29. Come out and join us from 1:30p.m. – 5:30p.m at Gilley’s to meet Sam in person and to learn more about his company, 5 Screens Media.

JOIN US AT PITCH DAY! Register at PitchDay.VentureSpur.Com

Meet Aether Pro, VentureSpur Sponsor!

We are plAether-Pro_logo2eased to announce Aether Pro as a Silver Sponsor for the 2014 VentureSpur Accelerator program.

Aether Pro is a professional graphic design firm based in Dallas, Texas. Specializing in graphic design, web development, printing and video production, Aether Pro has years of experience working with a broad range of clients, from startups to small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. With a rock-solid commitment to both quality and security, Aether Pro has been and continues to be an invaluable partner for VentureSpur.

To learn more about Aether Pro, visit them on the web at:

VentureSpur Announces 2014 Pitch Day!

To our VentureSpur mentors, investors, and strategic partners, to everyone working in the restaurant and retail space here in Dallas/Fort Worth, and to any other entrepreneurs in the metroplex, we would like to invite you to our annual VentureSpur Pitch Day!

Pitch DayPostpic1 marks the highlight of the 2014 class of VentureSpur Accelerator. At Pitch Day, Founders from this year’s class will share their innovative visions with the industry’s top investors, executives, media representatives, and the greater Dallas entrepreneurial community.  Pitch Day will feature investment and product pitches from our six early-stage technology companies, coming from all over the world, who have completed the 12-week VentureSpur acceleration program. This year’s startups are focused in technology for the restaurant and retail industries, and come from Mexico, China, New Jersey, Georgia, and Dallas, Texas.

Last year’s VentureSpur Pitch Day was attended by more than 200 angel investors, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and business owners from throughout the US and we expect this year to be even greater.

Asif Khan, Executive Director of the Location-Based Marketing Association (LBMA) will be our Keynote speaker.  Asif is a vePostpic2teran tech start-up, business-development and marketing entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience. He is currently focused on working as a consultant, educator and speaker to the location-based marketing services community. Prior to launching The LBMA, Asif worked with companies as diverse as Limited Brands, IBM, Baxter Pharmaceuticals, Molson-Coors, Communispace, BestBuy, American Airlines, ScotiaBank, and Sears.  An avid technology evangelist, Asif also holds degrees in economics and management sciences from the University of Waterloo.


To reserve your seat at Pitch Day, please visit PitchDay.VentureSpur.Com

Transwestern Announced as Silver Sponsor


We are delighted to announce that Transwestern is now a VentureSpur Silver Sponsor!

In 1978, Transwestern launched as a Texas-based company in Dallas, Houston and Austin. In that time, it has grown to become one of the leading international real estate companies, specializing in agency leasing, property and facilities management, tenant advisory, capital markets, research and sustainability. By drawing on extensive experience in office, industrial, retail, and healthcare properties, Transwestern is able to bring considerable added value to owners, investors, and occupiers of real estate.

To learn more about the services Transwestern offers, visit them at

Please join us in thanking them for their  support of VentureSpur and the Dallas entrepreneurial community.