Tech startups go head to head in Las Vegas contest

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      An employee for Text Safe Teens talks to attendees at Tech.Co’s regional startup competition Thursday, July 23, 2015, at the Gold Spike in downtown Las Vegas.

      Friday, July 24, 2015 | 1:53 p.m.

      Two teens are sitting in a car. They are smiling, laughing and the driver is looking down at her smartphone when, out of nowhere, a truck slams into the side of their car.

      The windows shatter. An airbag deploys. A pink sandal flies into the back seat.

      The dramatization is posted on the website for DriveSafe Mode, an app that notifies parents when teens use their smartphones while driving.

      Text Safe Teens, the Las Vegas-based startup that built the app, doesn’t shy away from making an emotional plea. And it seems to work.

      The company placed first in a startup contest hosted by local blog Tech.Co on Thursday night at the Gold Spike in downtown Las Vegas.

      IndiCard, a Denver-based mobile app that targets discounts to service industry employees, won areaders’ poll.

      The two apps will compete at a regional competition at Tech.Co’s Celebrate 2015, a three-day conference in downtown Las Vegas Oct. 4-6.

      Here’s are startups that presented at Thursday’s contest:

      IndiCard (Denver): The app lets service industry employees register to receive discounts from participating businesses. The company is in the process of expanding into Las Vegas.

      LegalQ (Henderson): “Referral Sites Suck.” “Yellow Pages Suck.” “Forms Suck.” That’s the basic pitch from LegalQ, which sets up a marketplace to compare reviews and prices for attorneys.

      PrayerSpark (Las Vegas): Targeting millions of Americans who identify as spiritual but not religious, the website lets users send interfaith prayers online. It donates 82 percent of its revenue from greeting cards and products to support charities operated by spiritual leaders.

      Reaction (Las Vegas): The app helps remote customer service agents visualize issues by allowing users to illustrate their problem. Instead of explaining a problem to a customer service agent on the phone, Reaction lets users to send pictures, short videos and small files.

      SMTP-IO (Las Vegas): This startup offers tools to streamline office communication with an email platform, archiving on the cloud and smart message processing. They promise to offer “simple yet superior” mail solutions with an eye toward large companies that manage many accounts.

      telePING (Las Vegas): The app includes 15 activity options — such as getting coffee — and promises to bring users together to socialize only when they have made the same requests. TelePING’s pitch promised to ease self-doubt and fear of rejection in getting to know someone.

      Text Safe Teens (Las Vegas): With much of its technology patented, Text Safe Teens aims to give parents a way to discourage their teens from texting and driving. The app also can be used by managers charged with overseeing fleets and commercial drivers.