We had a great turnout at Ferguson Ventures on Tuesday, July 16th for 757Pitch’s 13th edition. We heard from five energetic startup teams about the big ideas they’re working on.
757Pitch is a bi-monthly, open-to-the-public pitch competition for new, scalable, high-growth business ideas. Five competitors each have seven minutes to deliver their pitch, followed by five minutes of Q&A. The winner is awarded $757 cash, access to the resources of the ODU Institute for Innovation & Entrerpeneurship, and a one-year membership to BizConnect.
All competitors benefit from candid feedback given by the judges and audience, along with publicity and practice pitching their venture.
757Pitch is organized through a collaboration between StartWheel and Old Dominion University, and sponsored by BizConnect. Special thanks to our host of July 2019’s edition, Ferguson Ventures. Check out our recent interview with Ferguson Ventures’ director Blake Luse to find out more about their involvement in supporting the Hampton Roads ecosystem!
At the end of the night, there could only be one winner—that spot went to Momentum, presented by founder Aazia “Aaz” Mickens-Dessaso.
Hear one of our judges, Beau Turner, deliver an inspiring address to the audience as he announces the winner:
Check out Aaz’s pitch video below along with the rest of our lineup and be sure to subscribe to StartWheel’s YouTube channel.
“Momentum is a tech-enabled support system that provides on-demand, flexible childcare as an employee benefit. When regular childcare breaks down or parents rise to meet the demands of long or irregular work hours, they are stuck with a few stressful options: miss work, decline opportunities for advancement, or scramble to find last-minute care. Annually, this is a $9 billion concern for working parents and their employers. With Momentum, parents can enroll, book backup care, and file reimbursement claims within minutes. Employers are able to sign up for Momentum at any time during the calendar year to enjoy the benefits of greater productivity, lower turnover, and increased tax savings.”
“For pharmaceutical manufacturers who produce potent drugs that produce severe side effects for patients, we offer a laser-guided platform that minimizes side effects. Unlike traditional drugs which are active everywhere and produce side effects from off-target activity, our platform modifies the drug to avoid off-target activity because it’s only active where targeted and switched on with a light device. Our initial application is a laser-guided version of platinum chemotherapy for head and neck cancers.”
“For Adult Fans of Lego (AFOLs) ages 25 to 44 years who build innovative models of large dimension and weight, we offer a unique set of brick-compatible connectors that allow the use of PVC pipe to be integrated as a skeletal structure. Unlike the existing alternatives of permanently modifying pieces or fabrication of custom structures which do not truly bond to the model, our connectors are fully compatible with both technologies and can significantly reduce model weight and cost, while defying current physics restraints of the toy-system alone with our proprietary combination of both the toy brick and pipe attachment points.”
“The First App to create a connection between Professional Dancers and Users. You can invite anyone to dance, hire professionals to dance with you, or create a profile to show your talents, events, and products. Researched in Brazil, EUA, and Argentina showed that the market for professional dancers and users is growing and many places don’t have the expertise to create, advertise their places. Therefore this App connects: Users, Professionals, and Places.”
“EasyDraft aims to tackle the problem of lack of opportunities for middle school aged children to begin exploring the world of engineering, we aim to produce a game that uses the concept of gamified learning to teach these skills in a fun, engaging and effective manner to allow the engineering profession to be more easily available to anyone regardless of socioeconomic factors. More specifically, we aim to create a video game that teaches the core engineering skill, drafting, which aims to bring to live products and ideas by creating a technical drawing in 3 dimensions of said product.”
We applaud all of our competitors for putting on such a great show, and for their ambitions of starting the next big venture here in Hampton Roads!
Judges for the competition were:
- As executive director of 757 Angels, Monique Adams deftly guides more than 100 Hampton Roads leaders who advise and mentor startups and early stage companies. Under her leadership 757 Angels group has invested more than $40 million in the region since its inception in 2015, creating over 250 jobs. Monique’s efforts have inspired complementary initiatives including StartWheel, 757 Accelerate, and soon-to-be-launched 757 Seed Fund. She’s a true quarterback for startups in the region.
- As a Product/Industrial Designer, Beau Turner has worked on hundreds of products from software to hardware and specializes turning ideas into functional prototypes and early stage manufacturing. He is the CEO and Creative Director for 757 Makerspace, a communal workshop in Norfolk with studios, tools, equipment, classes, and a solid community of makers and creators where you can find that thing you love and make it!
- Holly Biggers has bought, grown, and successfully exited from two businesses. She recently moved to Hampton Roads from Boulder, CO and continues to mentor several small business owners while crafting her next big adventure.
- Christina Hunt is part of the Ferguson Ventures team. She handles investment identification, facilitates proof of concepts with prospective partners and portfolio company acceleration activity. She recently lead the Ferguson Innovation Challenge in collaboration with the College of William and Mary, and continues to lead service design workshops with Ferguson associates, interns and partners alike.
- Mary Hannah Fout is the Sr. Marketing Channel Manager for Ferguson Enterprises since 2013, but she’s been with the company for 14 years. She’s responsible for the marketing strategy of their $3B Residential Showroom/Builder business. A 40 Under 40 recipient for retail design, she holds degrees in marketing and public relations from ECU.
The next 757Pitch will be held on September 17, 2019 from 5:30pm-8:30pm at Hamilton Perkins Collection in MacArthur Center. Hamilton Perkins is the exceptional founder behind the company, whose sustainable fashion merchandise is sold in 150 department and specialty stores throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Applications for 757Pitch are accepted on a rolling basis and can be submitted at 757Pitch.org.
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StartWheel’s mission is to centralize and mobilize efforts that foster the growth of entrepreneurism in our regional innovation economy. We aim to support and cultivate an entrepreneurial network in HRVA where talent, resources, information and leadership come together.