Demo Day for the five latest companies to go through the Velocity accelerator program was essentially one big love letter to the program, whose fate after this cohort is still unknown.
At the halfway point of the event on Wednesday, emcee Zack Pennington showed a short film of Velocity alums praising and joking about the program and the mentors. The message of the evening was clear: We’d be a lesser community without a general admission accelerator program.
The goal of the accelerator is to help companies grow, and grow quickly. The most dramatic example of success came from Rebecca Wheeling of Schedule It, a company that helps insurance adjustors greatly reduce the time it takes to schedule appointments and plan routes. Wheeling called it a “life changer for adjusters.”
Schedule It made $4,000 in 2013, $40,000 in 2014, and has already made over $100,000 in 2015. Next year, the startup is set to become the sole integration for scheduling for an insurance company that handles 60 percent of the business; the company partnering with them schedules 4.2 million claims annually. This year, so far, Schedule It has scheduled 7,000 claims.
Wheeling joked that former accelerator director Tony Schy always wanted to see “hockey stick” type growth from Velocity’s companies. “Tony,” she said, “there’s your hockey stick.”
Wheeling is looking to hire new sales managers and “visionary technology people.”
While Wheeling’s company may have been the biggest success story, Chris Lavenson’s company basically went from nothing to a tangible product during the 100-day program. Hectare’s Tune Up is an iced-tea-like beverage product made from, frankly, the waste that comes from harvesting coffee beans.
Coffee beans are seeds that are surrounded by fruit called the coffee cherry. During the process of harvesting coffee beans, the cherries are stripped off and discarded. Because of this, Lavenson is able to have a zero-dollar product acquisition and is able to partner with farmers.
The company has notably partnered with SpicewoodBranding’s Jeff Strum, who founded Rooibie Red Tea, a man who knows the tea biz.
Strum and Lavenson had samples at Demo Day, and the beverage is delicious.
SmartLanes Technologies’ CEO Stephen Haden said that during the Velocity program he was able to get several local companies to Beta test the analytics product, including WFPK, Production Simple, and A&W Restaurants.
Haden said the No. 1 reason brick and mortar businesses fail is because of the location. SmartLanes uses video to capture analytics of potential customers based on demographics collected by analyzing people’s cars.
The company has a patent pending on the business model. Haden is looking to talk to people who book corporate sponsorships for public events like Forecastle Festival.
MobileServe’s Christopher Head and Ben Reno-Webber made their presentation together. MobileServe offers an app that helps businesses, nonprofits and students track and communicate their social impact of volunteerism on the community. Many companies and schools require service hours from employees and students; this app tracks those hours.
The business is planning a fall launch and already has commitments from groups that put them at around 50K users and $85K in revenue.
Watch Pennington’s moving (and hilarious) tribute to Velocity here: