Teams Advance to the Fairfield StartUp Showcase
Last week, the Dolan School held the Fairfield StartUp Qualifiers, an evening where nine student teams practiced their business pitches in front of a panel of investors to compete to advance to the StartUp Showcase on April 5. Teams were evaluated against 14 criteria developed with the help of alumni investors and entrepreneurs. The Qualifiers were the culmination of over six months of workshops, mentoring and pitch practice that began with about 100 curious students that attended the StartUp kickoff in September.
Coming out of the Qualifiers, five teams have been selected to advance to the Showcase, each with their own unique take on what makes a successful business. For some teams whose business model is a sole proprietorship, the value proposition is as much about the founder and his or her vision as it is about the business plan. Between now and the Showcase, it is expected that the product will change as the founder learns more about how they can develop their idea, and what people are willing to pay for it. Other teams have ideas that are more R&D driven, with a large numbers of engineers working out the product details well in advance of working with an actual customer. And then there are other teams who are finding the balance between business concept and product development.
“The Showcase is the students’ chance to turn their ideas into real startup companies. They get five minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of alumni investors who vet the businesses and then negotiate terms for seed funding in front of a live audience,” explained Chris Huntley associate professor of Information Systems and Operations Management and mentor in the Fairfield University Entrepreurship Labratory business accelerator (FUEL). “There are no present limits on funding. It is a real negotiation, with funding dependent on meeting legally enforceable terms," he said. The StartUp team will then be offered the opportunity to enter the Summer Fellows Program at FUEL and work with experienced and established local entrepreneurs to launch their businesses and pursue follow up funding.
Between now and the Showcase the teams have their work cut out for them and the bar will be set high. “Since the pitches will be timed we hope the teams will keep their presentation brief, focused and try not to answer all questions. The goal of the Showcase is to open the investors’ minds to their vision and get them excited,” explained Joe Herbert, managing director of Westover Strategic Advisors and FUEL mentor.
Learn more about the five teams in their own words and be sure to catch them in action at the Showcase on April 5 at 6:30 p.m. in Gonzaga Auditorium:
DraftSales: A DraftKings For Sales Floors
DraftSales is a sales gamification salesforce app that combines the concept of fantasy sports with sales metrics to make sales people the players. DraftSales turns everything on a sales floor into a competitive fantasy game, that turns procrastination into productivity, and builds camaraderie at the office.
FavrWire: Friendly work. Done right.
FavrWire is an app for busy people who need help doing odd jobs around the house. This app connects these consumers with ambitious young individuals looking to make extra money. Unlike the competition, FavWire allows workers to bid on listers’ jobs for the best price.
RediMed: A helping hand in an ever-changing world.
In a world filled with competing demands for our time and attention, medical adherence suffers. RediMed is a product that sorts, dispenses and tracks medications and supplements. This allows people to receive the full benefit from their trips to the pharmacy. The product ensures that the correct medication is taken at the correct time of day and in the correct dosage.
Thrivio: A platform for the disability community to connect and review products and services.
Thrivio is a social media platform that brings segments of the disability community together to share experiences, rate products and services and build meaningful relationships.
Zapp: A mobile application that revolutionizes the process of connecting with people.
When two individuals meet one another in today's tech savvy world, it eventually results in the exchange of social media accounts. However, this process can take quite a while due to time constraints, complexity and awkwardness. Zapp is the solution for this. Zapp provides social media users a more simple and more comfortable process to exchange all social media information simultaneously through a quick scan of a QR code.
Pictured: Team RediMed, one of the five teams advancing to the StartUp Showcase.