Jumpstart Foundry’s Investor Day - held Thursday at Houston Station in Nashville - was for the third year in a row a sellout, as many of the city’s entrepreneurially - minded investors gathered in the same room with a group of local entrepreneurs seeking cash. And if magic didn’t happen and angel funding dollars weren’t immediately proffered, the inspiration derived and the motivation generated from the 2012 JSF company presenters was worth the price of admission.
Nashville hasn't always been known for its start-up prowess, but JSF officials agree the city is “getting there” and with some help along the way from national media outlets.
“For the last three years we’ve been ranked by several media outlets as being in the top five of the best places in the country to start a business,” said Dr. Michael Burcham, JSF managing director.
Burcham’s comments followed those of Solidus CEO Townes Duncan, who led off the event with a few words about JSF and the 14-week process endured by its participants. (Note: Duncan also is chairman of SouthComm, the parent of NashvillePost.com.)
“These folks might be early but they’re exciting and have worked hard to get here,” Duncan said, adding that he’d never been more excited, than now, about the “deal flow” in Nashville.
It’s difficult to say which of the companies pitched was the most impressive or elicited an unusually positive response from the crowd. Obvious, however, was the apparent need in the technological universe of processes, applications, hardware and the like, that actually work, to do what they’re supposed to do, and not at price points far exceeding the norm.
So, most of the company’s presented offered a very specific technological component similar to what’s already on the market, but with features addressing the problems and inadequacies of those earlier products. From a company that produces mobile video applications, making it easier to share videos, to an online learning company that also brings together teachers and students offline, to a new kind of ambient assisted-living device markedly different from what’s now available and at much cheaper prices.
Here’s a list of the presenting companies. Click here for a more complete list that includes biographical sketches of company founder’s and C-level executives and other salient facts.
• Contigo Financial, an online consumer lender designed to take loan business away from payday lenders and high-rate finance operations, a service offered through employers to employees and at much lower interest rates.
• Jamplify (formerly OKDJ), a social media marketing platform that turns fans into active promoters of online content. The idea is to reward those fans for the amount of exposure they drive to a specific site’s online content. Think of it as an expansion of “word of mouth” done online and where nobody can see the talking.
• The Skillery is an online marketplace for offline classes and workshops led by community experts who basically teach whatever they want, after vetting with The Skillery website, and from that effort drive clients to the teacher’s business, thereby dividing the revenue from class fees and like between The Skillery and the teacher.
• Evermind is a monitoring system for seniors whereby a device is unobtrusively placed in the home of an elder parent, as an example, and through that device text messages are sent to a loved ones indicating that certain appliances have or have not been used. The idea is if the coffee pot was turned on in the morning and turned off later in the morning, things are probably okay.
• Kiwi (formerly WAX) is a video sharing application that virtually transmits to one's designated social media pages videos seconds after they've been taken. The Kiwi idea simplifies this sharing, a process historically involving the handing of one’s cell phone to another.
• PhotoRankr claims to be the first online photography marketplace buttressed by social media. Flickr meets Amazon is the idea. It’s about sharing, sourcing and licensing user-generated content.
• OurVinyl allows the discovery of "new videos through video" — like a modern-day MTV but personalized to the user's liking.
- FAHLEKAMP, BROOKE FEYE; KEPLEY, JOHN; KEPLEY, BROOKE FAYE; KEPLEY, BROOKE F
- GLENN, JEREMY; GRAYSON, THERESE S; GRAYSON, ALAN L
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- HAMMOND, GRANT; RADER, ERIC STACEY; RADER, KRISTIN