Software company to participate in prestigious accelerator programBy Meghan Cunningham : June 12th, 2014
A software company that relocated from Seattle to the LaunchPad Incubation Program at The University of Toledo and has since received grant funding from LaunchPad Incubation, UT Innovation Enterprises and Rocket Ventures has been selected to participate in Y Combinator, a prestigious accelerator in Mountain View, Calif.
Roost, which has developed push notification software for desktop platforms, will participate in the three-month accelerator program this summer in Silicon Valley. The intensive program helps startups “build something people want.”
“It is the best accelerator program in the country. Thousands upon thousands of startups apply, and only a tiny fraction are accepted,” Roost CFO Ben Trumbull said. “The entire team feels lucky and honored for this opportunity.”
Y Combinator provides seed investments, business consulting and other opportunities to help startup teams build their companies and pitch to investors or acquirers. The three-month program also includes weekly dinners with past Y Combinator alumni and top influencers in emerging technology.
The accelerator funds all types of startups, but is particularly interested in web and mobile applications. More than 500 companies worth more than $20 billion have passed through Y Combinator.
Roost has been a technology tenant client of the LaunchPad Incubation Program since June 2013. It had initially proposed a mobile push notification software, but transitioned to desktop earlier this year.
“Roost allows digital publishers to let enthusiast readers know about the newest content when it is posted,” Trumbull said. “A small window appears on the top right corner of the desktop for five seconds to announce new content. It notifies the user while not being overly intrusive.”
Visitors to a website with Roost are prompted to receive push notifications. When users click on the notification, they are taken to the website’s new content. If users don’t not click during the five-second window, the notice goes into the computer’s notification center.
The content marketing channel allows websites to engage their readers and is designed for newspapers, blogs, fan sites and other digital publishers.
Roost co-founders are Burton Miller, Casey Haakenson and Tim Varner.
Trumbull said without the support of the LaunchPad Incubation Program and support from UT Innovation Enterprises and Rocket Ventures, Roost would not have had the unique opportunity to participate in Y Combinator and advance the business.
“The LaunchPad Incubation Program is proud to have Roost be selected for this incredible opportunity,” said Molly Reams Thompson, director of the incubation program. “LaunchPad Incubation is focused on bolstering innovation in our region by providing access to capital, valuable business development resources and state-of-the-art facilities. Ultimately, our goal is to provide a framework for companies to become thriving self-sustaining members of the community. Roost will be able to build on the success they have achieved by participating in our program and take it to a whole new level with Y Combinator. We couldn’t be happier for them.”
The Y Combinator program ends with a “demo day” when startups present their business concepts to an invite-only audience and participants become members of the growing alumni network. The network includes Reddit, Dropbox, Airbnb, Optimizely and Stripe, among hundreds of other successful companies.