5 Across returned to Lexington on Wednesday for the first meeting of 2013. Five competitive teams pitched their company ideas to a panel of judges made up of seasoned entrepreneurs as well as a full crowd who braved slippery roads and cold weather to be in attendance.
Justin and Lauren Fox pitched NoRoom LLC, a team heavily involved within Lexington's thriving video game industry that creates video game entertainment for gamers of the Christian Faith.
Grant Weherly pitched Control My ADHD, a subscription-based video service for those with ADHD to help get their lives in order. Control My ADHD was one of fourteen pitches at UK's Venture Challenge competition.
Jeffery Billion and Kevin Yates pitched Career-Match, an online service matching job applicants with vacant jobs using details profiles, going beyond the resume.
Brian Johnson, Ryan Riddle, and Robyn Kaw pitched The Unity Box, new home automation hardware that learns your daily routine to save home owners energy and money. Like Control My ADHD, Home Unity also pitched at the 2013 UK Venture Challenge.
Zach Pennington and Josh Strange pitched GiftPool, a crowd-funding website for giving gifts, allowing family and friends to pool money to purchase more expensive gifts. GiftPool also won the first prize at Startup Weekend Lexington 2012.
GiftPool took home the $500 prize for their crowd-funding platform centered around giving gifts. They will be given the opportunity to pitch at the 5 Across Finals in December as well the Lexington Venture Club in March. Home Unity won the audience text vote for their excellent pitch of The Unity Box.
The night's excellent pitches and heavy turnout resulted in another great event for Lexington's startup community. Congratulations to all of the teams who participated and we offer a special thanks to our sponsors and friends who help make 5 Across happen! Be sure not to miss 2013's second meeting of 5 Across Wednesday April 24th where five teams will once again compete for the $500 prize.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 22, 2013) — University of Kentucky undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneur teams pitched their ideas for potential startup ventures during UK Venture Challenge Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Davis Marksbury Building.
David Booth and Tommy Crush won top undergraduate team for their Personal Concierge by Crambu real-time platform for the hotel industry. MBA students Jordan Denny, Lee Goatley, Jarrod Willis, and Jordan Laycock with TerraCast Technologies won best graduate team for their plan to reclaim mountaintop sites by growing switchgrass for biofuel production.
The second place undergraduate idea came from Matt Dieruff, who has a new design for a type of screw specifically for industries that require both routine maintenance and coatings to protect the screws during operation. On the graduate side, the EARlyTAG team of MBA students Kaitlyn Foree, Jeffrey Billion, Nathan Miles, William Templeton,and agricultural economics junior Alex Hart want to dramatically reduce costs related to livestock illness with new symptom-detection technology.
Each of these teams will share scholarships totaling $3,000 from the Bluegrass Business Development Partnership, including the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Commerce Lexington, and the University of Kentucky.
"UK Venture Challenge gives our students the opportunity to show off their innovative and entrepreneurial spirit while they gain experience in developing a potential venture and pitching to judges," said Dan O'Hair, chair of iNET, the UK Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking, dean of the College of Communication and Information, and interim senior vice provost for student success.
New for UK Venture Challenge, now in its second year, was an online public voting feature. Sydney Reeder and her concept for an outdoor experience-based sporting goods store won with 4,898 votes. Sydney will receive a $50 scholarship from iNET.
Find out more about the teams at the UK Venture Challenge voting site.
The student teams were judged on their written concept or business plan prior to their presentations on Feb. 16. Judges for the undergraduate finals and graduate teams were: Kirsten Craft, Executive Vice President for Software & Consulting, SIS; Lee T. Todd Jr., former UK President; and Matthew J. Wiley, CEO/Founder, uHAPS Media. Judging the undergraduate teams were: Len Heller former UK Vice President, Commercialization & Economic Development; Derek Lane iNET Academic Director and associate professor in the, College of Communication & Information; Charles H. Seal, investor and financial management and business development consultant; and Harvie Wilkinson, MBA Director and Director of the Executive Education Center, UK Gatton College of Business & Economics.
Four top Venture Challenge teams will represent UK at the state business competition, Idea State U, April 12-13 at the Lexington Center.
UK Venture Challenge is organized by iNET, the Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking that includes the Entrepreneur in Residence, in cooperation with the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship, the College of Engineering, the Gatton College of Business & Economics, and other iNET partners.
Via KSTC Startups
We're pleased to announce that Louisville's second Startup Weekend will be held March 1-3, 2013, at JCTC's new Small Business & Entrepreneurship Center.
What is Startup Weekend?
All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it's a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.
Startup Weekend Louisville kicks off Friday evening, March 1st, 2013. Your ticket lets you pitch an idea, or join another team. You'll have access to food, wifi, and a set of business mentors with broad experience. You'll work with your team throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday evening a panel of judges picks the winning team. It's a hands-on experience in product development and customer development, and a lot of fun.
For More Information
Learn more at: louisville.startupweekend.org
Join our mailing list, or follow us on Twitter: @SWLouisville
Via KSTC Startups
Frogdice is an independent game developer of online role playing games, virtual worlds, and casual games. Since 1996, Frogdice has been a market leader in providing an immersive, in-character experience unparalleled throughout the industry.
Headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, Frogdice has a staff of developers in the United States and abroad. Their cultural diversity adds to the richness and variety of content present in Frogdice games. (via www.frogdice.com)
Try using the word "homesteading" in front of most investors. It's not one that inspires confidence in those you're pitching to, but in my case, it's the only word that applies.
Earthineer is a network designed exclusively for homesteading and sustainable living that allows people to socialize, find experts, and trade.
Many investors think of a "homesteader" as some guy with bad teeth and an unkempt beard...someone who is distilling moonshine back in the hills, and eeking a meager existance out of a mean soil.
In actuality, the word "homesteader" is having a bit of a Rennaissance. It's even taking place in urban environments, and the title "urban homesteader" has been used to described homesteading activities in suburban/urban environments. Chickens are going into suburban backyards, yards are being transformed into edible landscapes, and beehives are going on the top of city buildings.
My point is this – I recognize that I often have a hurdle to overcome when pitching Earthineer. I have to describe the topics, and I have to be appeal to the audience I'm pitching to. If I'm lucky, there will be people in the audience for whom the idea actually resonates.
I participated in the INKUBATOR program this last year. It offered all of the classes and mentors that you'd expect out of an accelerator, and it was my first real introduction to the vibrant startup communities that are taking place in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Lexington.
Through contacts that I made during the INKUBATOR, I met Warren Nash, and eventually found myself at the 5 Across competition on October 31st.
By time that I pitched at 5 Across, I had already given this pitch twice before...but I was never more nervous than when I pitched that night. Sitting at the judges table was none other than Brad Feld. I had known that he was in town (I was going to attend one of his talks in Lexington), but I hadn't anticipated that he'd be there at 5 Across as a judge.
My pitch went well though, and as I passed by the judge's table to sit down, I could see that several of them were looking at Earthineer (some of them even signed up during the event – even Brad).
It was humbling...and exciting.
Afterwards, I had the opportunity to speak with one of the other judges. It turned out that he raised chickens and ducks. We talked for a long time...long after most of the crowd had left the Awesome Inc space.
He wound up being an investor, and was my advocate when I went on to pitch to the Bluegrass Angels.
I won $500 at the Oct. 31st pitch, and $1,000 at the finals.
So...what did I use the prize money for? It's likely a boring use of those winnings, but I used them to pay my monthly operational costs – Rackspace, Embedly, SendGrid, etc.
I admit to liking competitions...and the prize money was much-needed...but the value of prize money paled in comparison with the networking opportunities that I received as a result of pitching at 5 Across.
Above all else, pitching is about finding advocates.
That's the true value of the 5 Across competition and everything that Awesome Inc provides to Lexington - the opportunity to engage and participate in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.