I was very impressed with the Flashstarts 2016 Accelerator Class. At the November 30, 2016, Flashstarts Demo Day (#FSDDay), the startup founders made their presentations, after which I had a chance to talk to them. I also truly enjoyed meeting other new people and reconnecting to the people I knew who attended this event at The City Club (@TheCityClub).
When I started writing this blog post, I discovered that Flashstarts (@Flashstarts) had shared the full videos of the 2016 Accelerator class's investor pitches online. I recommend you view these short talks that will give you good insight into each of the 2016 Accelerator Class products. As of the publication of this blog post, the videos are marked private, so please click on the "Watch on Vimeo" button to view them.
When I talked to Beth Potratz, I was very impressed with not only the idea behind Drive My Way, but also the way it is implemented. It sounds like a true "win-win" strategy to fit the right truck driver with the right job as needed.
I want to thank Reginald Cash for spending time with me during the networking portion of the evening after his Flashstarts Demo Day presentation. I enjoyed learning from him how Markers software pulls information together for investor relations officers of public companies. The software takes a complicated process of compiling publicly available information and makes it easier. My understanding is that not only does it streamline both the data gathering and the creation of customer presentations, but it also will help investor relations officers keep in legal compliance.
Later in the evening, Dan Moulthrop (@danmoulthrop) introduced me to Reginald Cash's wife. I enjoyed learning about her work at the Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation), and that she will soon be starting at the United Way Cleveland (@UnitedWayCLE).
I first remember learning about Wheedle when I attended Flashstarts' October 18, 2016, Angel Soiree. I thought the service Wheedle provides was an important one that people would use, but that I had already heard of others providing a similar type of service. I wondered how they would break into a market where others were already established.
Through Brian Stein's (@SteinDomain) Demo Day pitch, and later talking to him during the networking portion of the evening, I learned what differentiated Wheedle from others in the hospitality industry:
I appreciate that Brian Stein took time to talk to me and explain that Wheedle not only provides a service to the consumer looking for a restaurant or entertainment venue, but also helps to directly address the needs of restaurants. He expressed to me that it is very focused on restaurants' needs.
I remember first hearing of Komae at the December 3, 2016, TechPint Winter Summit (@TechPintNews), where they earned the $1,000 prize at the Flashstarts Tech Pint Pitch competition at the Cleveland Agora. (See Crain's Cleveland (@CrainsCleveland) September 24, 2016, article: Baby-sitting app is coming of age through pitch competitions.)
I have seen Audrey Wallace's presentation about Komae recently at both the Flashstarts' October 18, 2016, Angel Soiree, and at the November 4, 2016, PechaKucha Night Akron Volume 5 at The Bit Factory (@PKAkron - @TheBitFactory). (See my PechaKucha Night Akron Volume 5 at The Bit Factory blog post.)
It was very cool to see, at these recent events, and now at the November 30, 2016, Flashstarts Demo Day, the reaction of parents in the audience when they learn of the Komae service. They are excited!
Learn more in this video I found on Komae's website.
Please read my CWRU think[box] Thinkapalooza! blog post, to see photos and learn how I met Xyla Foxlin (@FlyingRobotGirl) at the October 27, 2015, grand opening of Case Western Reserve University's new space for promoting innovation and entrepreneurial enterprises called think[box] (@CWRU - @CWRUthinkbox).
It is exciting to me to see how an idea from a year ago has developed into what should become an available product in the first quarter of 2017.
Parihug makes electronically-connected teddy bears, that let loved ones hug each other from a distance. Two people can be on different sides of the world, each with their own bear. When one is hugged, a suite of soft, fabric-based sensors detects the hug and transmits a message to the other bear. The receiving bear then hugs its owner with a gentle vibration-- haptic telepresence! The bears allow loved ones to connect with each other when they physically cannot be together, and brings the humanity back into technological connection.
While preparing this blog post, I saw on Twitter that Xyla Foxlin (@FlyingRobotGirl) has officially launched another interesting project on YouTube on December 12, 2016. You can learn about Beauty And The Bolt from this introduction video and by following @BeautyAndBolt on Twitter.
Following the presentations from this year’s portfolio companies, Qwickly, Complion, We Can Code IT, and Remesh, alumni companies from the Flashstarts 2013, 2014, and 2015 accelerators, shared updates on their growth and successes.
See my blog post from last year -- @Flashstarts Demo Day 2015 - #FSDDay -- where you can learn about all the Flashstarts 2015 Accelerator Class members who participated in the Flashstarts Demo Day on Wednesday, August 19, 2015, at House of Blues Cleveland (@HOBCleveland). There you will learn about We Can Code IT (@WeCanCodeIT),
To update what is happening now in 2016, I want to mention that under the leadership of CEO Mel McGee (@MelKMcGee), We Can Code IT has an expanded role within Flashstarts, as well as a new location in Columbus, Ohio. Learn more in the following Flashstarts articles:
We Can Code IT Columbus will offer 4 full-time cohorts and one part-time cohort in 2017 and plans to graduate 80 students in their first year. This branch, led by Brian Forsythe, will particularly focus on Java as the programming language students are taught. Forsythe is an experienced instructor and java programmer with 20 years of experience. We Can Code It has already secured an employment partnership with JPMorgan Chase for their graduates, and other companies are sure to follow suit.
In partnership with We Can Code IT, Flashstarts has launched The Dev Shop, Cleveland’s premier developer residency program. Developers graduating from universities and bootcamp programs can join the Dev Shop as residency fellows.
These developers are given the opportunity to apply their skills and build real products for customers in a professional enterprise team setting. Startups can leverage The Dev Shop to fill talent gaps and produce prototypes at a reduced rate.
Visit www.clevelanddevshop.com for more information or to request a project quote.
Meet the Class of 2016
The Flashstarts Accelerator class of 2016 is our most promising class yet, and demo day serves as the culmination of their work during the accelerator. “What do we look for in startups for the Accelerator?” posed Stack to the audience. “We look for deep domain and industry expertise along with a disruptive idea and the right team.” These teams certainly meet those criteria.
Class of 2016
This web page includes a summary of each of the 2016 Accelerator Class products, and useful links to current updates about the companies.
I have attached a PDF version of this web page which will open in a new window with usable links for future reference.
Flashstarts Meeting Cleveland Startups (PDF file)
This is the PDF I was given at the Flashstarts Angel Soiree on October 18, 2016. It is a list of Flashstarts companies that had booths at their October event.
The following PDF executive summaries from the 2016 Accelerator teams were emailed to attendees of the Flashstarts 2016 Demo Day:
#FSDDay Tweets & Retweets
Here are 65 of my @sos_jr tweets and retweets that relate to the 2016 Accelerator Class. In addtion to the tweets here, remember that you can view more 2016 and past years' tweets about Flashstarts Demo Days by searching for the #FSDDay hashtag.
I also included some of the Flight Launch League (@FLIGHTAkron - #Flight2016) tweets, since some of the 2016 Accelerator Class also presented at their event on December 2, 2016. I missed the Flight Launch League event, but from what I heard, it was very successful. It is definitely a startup event to watch for next year. Learn more by reading Courtney Gras's (@CourtneyaGras - @LaunchLeague) Launch League executive director's notes: The view from orbit: director’s notes on a successful “Flight”
ANNOUNCEMENT: As I was writing this blog post, I received a direct message from @FLIGHTAkron confirming that there will be another Flight Launch League entrepreneur conference in summer 2017.
Komae Cofounder, Audrey Wallace, speaking at #Flight2016 on taking an idea "From Napkin to Beta." Re-living the last 18 months in 25 slides!— Komae (@MyKomae) December 2, 2016
Related Blog Posts:
Blog Date: November 13, 2016 - PechaKucha Night Akron Volume 5 at The Bit Factory
Blog Date: December 1, 2015 - CWRU think[box] Thinkapalooza!
Blog Date: September 16, 2015 - StartMart Grand Opening
Blog Date: September 7, 2015 - @Flashstarts Demo Day 2015 - #FSDDay
I look forward to attending more events like this.