In 2012, startups from around the world applied to be one of 15 companies to pitch at the first ever HATCH Startup Pitch competition held in SXSW’s Startup Village. Ken Jones, Associate Director, Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Houston moderated the event. On hand to judge the pitches were:

  • Chris Bernard, Director and Advisor, Microsoft
  • Joni Cobb, President and CEO, PIPELINE
  • Don Dodge, Developer Relations, Google
  • John Frankel, Partner, ff Venture Capital
  • Nicole Glaros, TechStars
  • Rick Pleczko, CEO, Idera
  • Marc Weiser, Founder and Managing Director, RPM Ventures
  • Joel Yarmon, investor, Draper Associates

1st Place Winner

DistilReceivingAwardDistil is the first Content Protection Network (CPN) that helps companies identify and block malicious content scraping and data theft. Distil prevents the loss of visitors, SEO ranking, and revenue.  Distil’s network can make decisions regarding the validity of each user in real-time, enabling websites to transparently protect and control the distribution of their content. Operating in the cloud, Distil incorporates intelligent adaption allowing the network to self-learn and block new forms of data attacks instantaneously.  Distil’s CPN makes integration easy, allowing clients to be up and running in minutes. Additionally, each customer has the ability to adjust every aspect of the service to meet their specific traffic pattern ensuring there are no false positives. Finally, Distil’s reporting will show what was caught, who it was, and what they were after; allowing clients to find new ways to monetize off their content.

2nd Place Winner

GoingMyWayReceivingAward GoingMyWay has created a dynamic ride-sharing mobile application that is socially networked, multi-modal, and tailored to each individual’s preferences. GoingMyWay will provide users with a full range of options to fulfill their transportation needs. The options include, but are not limited to, rides from friends, taxis, bus routes, metro, Car2Go, Zipcar, etc. GoingMyWay provides a marketplace for riders and drivers to connect based on their time, price, convenience and safety criteria specified in their preferences. In short, GoingMyWay provides a means to more efficient transportation through dynamic ride-sharing, and streamlining the process of choosing a mode of transportation for everyday purposes.

3rd Place Winner

ReciteMeReceivingAwardRecite is an online software as a service system that acts as a translation layer between the user and the website. It transforms the format of websites, repackaging the content by adding disability functionality. Recite’s current functionality includes translating web page content from text-to-speech, providing a bespoke user choice of high contrast colour schemes, the ability to enlarge words, as well as dictionary and thesaurus definitions. Recite does all of this online allowing the web page to be viewed in an enriched, highly accessible format. All of this is done instantly, online, with no software to install. The end result is a more accessible website.

Startup Finalists


Don Dodge Google
Rami Essaid Distil Inc
John Frankel ff Venture Capital
Nicole Glaros TechStars
Marc Weiser RPM Ventures
Joel Yarmon Draper Associates


Aly Dossa Osha Liang, L.L.P
Mark Streich University of Houston SBDC

HATCH pitch Team