When we heard earlier this summer fast-rising Fayetteville startup DataRank (formerly known as TTAGG Inc.) was participating in the Y Combinator in California, we weren’t surprised.
Y Combinator is a group that does seed funding for information technology startups.
It’s the largest, most significant startup incubator in the world, not to mention the most difficult to get into.
We were once told it’s easier to get accepted into an Ivy League school than to get invited to work with these people, and since its launch in 2005, there had never been an Arkansas company involved with the Y Incubator.
Never, until now.
It’s akin, locally, to the ARK Challenge, though on a much larger scale, providing cash, advice and making connections during two, three-month programs each year.
DataRank co-founders Britt Cagnina, Kenny Cason and Ryan Frazier just finished their three-month boot camp, and, not surprisingly, made an impression.
At the end of each three-month program, companies make their pitches to potential investors during demo day.
Ashton Kutcher and Joe Montana attended the most recent. No entourage, no bodyguards. Just in the crowd as a couple of investors in a room full of them, listening to 2 ½ minute pitches from 49 companies from all over the world.
DataRank, which organizes online conversations for consumer brands, was one of five startups singled out by the technology news site VentureBeat as memorable.
“This company has demonstrated some impressive growth and traction,” VentureBeat reported. “The team is already working with consumer giants like Proctor & Gamble, and customers typically pay $5,000 a month, so the founders claim to already be at a half a million dollar run rate.”
It was also noted DataRank has already amassed seed funding from Gravity Ventures, where Frazier worked as a fellow.
He and the rest of the gang are due back from California early this month.