Five revolutionary startups are relocating to Austin, Texas to join Sputnik ATX’s 11th cohort from record-breaking global applicant pool
AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sputnik ATX, an Austin, Texas based venture capital firm that backs early-stage, high-growth startups through a unique accelerator program, today announced the selection of the newest startup cohort for Winter 2023.
Selected from a record-breaking 1,200 applicants, Sputnik ATX’s eleventh cohort of startup companies showcases a mix of strong international and at-home talent, with founders from Dubai, Panama, and across the U.S. These five startups will participate in Sputnik ATX’s intensive 13-week accelerator program designed to fast-track sales, growth and development.
“Sputnik ATX invests with a firm belief that talent can come from anywhere. But, running a startup doesn’t come naturally to most. In a startup you’re on a mission to change the world at warp speed, which forces you to re-examine what you might have been taught about business,” said Oksana Malysheva, Founder and Managing Partner at Sputnik ATX. “That's where we come in. We find the best ‘nerds’ with incredible ideas, and we teach them how to sell and scale.”
With a rigorous, unbiased selection process that looks for founders with big ideas and a drive to change the world, the Austin-based VC invests in fewer than 1% of startups that apply to the accelerator program. Over 5,000 companies have applied to participate in the accelerator, and Sputnik ATX’s portfolio now has more than 60 companies across multiple sectors including fintech, consumer products, software/SaaS and blockchain technology, with strong representation from Black, female and LGBTQ+ founders.
“Venture capital can work as a revolutionary force to change the world around us, so we look for startup founders that are looking to solve big, global problems,” said Joe Merrill, Founder and General Partner at Sputnik ATX. “This year’s cohort hails from all corners of the globe - but each startup tackles a unique issue with both international and local impact. We can’t wait to see how these companies and founders grow, learn and flourish over the next few months.”
Sputnik ATX typically makes the first investment into their portfolio companies, providing a $100,000 pre-seed investment with opportunities for additional follow-on funding up to $400,000. Program alumni have gone on to receive funding from the top global VC funds, including Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins, Softbank, Shasta Ventures, and many more.
The five Winter 2023 cohort companies are:
Context QA - Deep Barot, Austin, TX
Developers know that rigorous testing is a critical step to take before shipping product, but it’s a time consuming, tedious process. ContextQA is an award-winning solution for comprehensive, automated testing across all major development platforms that helps QA teams launch every release perfectly.
Yornest - Michael Brizendine, Louisville, KY
Engagement and collaboration within group chat apps tend to break down when member count grows above one hundred. Yornest is here to change that. With an eye towards large events and community-focused online creators, Yornest has successfully reinvented the group chat experience for more than 7,000 users to date. Yornest aims to create scalable conversations within online groups without losing that intimate, community-focused feeling.
Mystro - Essam Diab, Dubai
Corporations, governments, and large organizations all face a similar problem - a ton of moving parts clog up strategic planning, making it difficult to understand what works and what doesn’t. Mystro is a first-of-its-kind strategy performance platform that cuts through the noise by automating data collection and KPI analysis, allowing organizations to understand their current efficiencies and how aligned they are with their operational plan. Mystro’s real-time analytics and data transparency can transform and improve how leaders evaluate and manage organizations and projects of all sizes and scopes.
Prospect1 - Sebastien Hilaire, Panama
Sebastian Hilaire grew up playing soccer in Panama, and the former D1 soccer player knows why the best players in the world haven’t been discovered yet - they don’t have the network, resources and opportunities to get recruited. Prospect1 aims to fix this by equalizing the playing field, providing an athletic management platform that bridges the gap between talent and resources for young athletes in underserved countries through a data-driven development plan. Giving young, talented athletes the access and training to connect with next-level, professional opportunities offers the chance at better lives for themselves and their communities.
Zendata - Nara Pappu, San Francisco
With online businesses receiving more and more sensitive data every day from their customers, business owners can’t afford to take chances with cross-border privacy compliance regulations - but these rules are often cumbersome and difficult to work with. During his time as a top developer at PayPal, Nara Pappu learned that mid-market and small businesses are at particular risk - so he created Zendata to bring automated data risk management tools to companies of all sizes. By eliminating the need for clunky manual processes and expensive audits, Zendata allows businesses to build trust with their customers and easily ensure compliance with laws across multiple jurisdictions automatically.
Applications for the next cohort will open this Spring. A complete list of Sputnik’s portfolio of investments to date can be found here.
About Sputnik ATX VC
Sputnik ATX is an Austin, TX-based venture capital fund and accelerator that combines early-stage investment with training and mentorship focused on high growth and product-market fit.
Founded by Dr. Oksana Malysheva and Joe Merrill in 2017, Sputnik ATX helps startups reach the essential week-over-week, double-digit growth that early-stage companies need to survive and thrive. Sputnik’s investment team has over $1B in global investment/transaction experience and seeks to bring startups with high potential to Austin’s rapidly expanding VC community to learn, grow and reach their full potential.
Sputnik, which translates to “partner,” represents horizon-expanding innovation and describes the core of the fund: To partner with and mentor startups that will change the world.
Rich Myers and Rachel Goun