Four companies advanced to the finals in this year’s Venture Sharks competition and will now go on to compete at Venture Connectors next month for a prize package worth $23,000.
Nine teams competed in the event on Wednesday night at Chef Space, an incubator for food-focused entrepreneurs. Each team had four minutes to present their businesses and an additional four minutes to answer questions from the judges. The judges were Tendai Charasika, CEO of SuperFanU; Alli Truttman, CEO of Wicked Sheets; and Ross Jordan of the Yearling Fund.
The night’s winners: CompassioNote, Uncrash, Switcher Studio and Farm Specific Technology.
Companies were judged on the viability of their product, whether the award could positively impact their work, and the quality of the presentation.
Eleven teams originally were signed up for the competition, but Fund My Edu and Riot Cosmetics dropped out.
The team from CompassioNote previously won this spring’s Startup Weekend, and the group has made huge strides since then. Lawyer Aaron Price led the presentation; at Startup Weekend, the company originally was pitched by serial entrepreneur Kartik Kamat. CompassioNote is a CRM plug-in subscription service that alerts users when a client has a major life event. The service scrubs data and sends an alert when a client has had a death in the family (or dies), a birth, a marriage, or changes jobs or buys a house. That way, users can enhance relationships with clients.
Uncrash was led by Trenton Johnson. It’s an SaaS for auto repair shops that allows every employee in the shop to update a car’s records and transmit that information to customers and insurance companies. Johnson said repair shops spend too much time fielding phone calls from clients asking about the progress of the repairs. This would automatically send the client updates via text or email. He has already sold the service to four shops in Indiana.
IL has written about Switcher Studio a few times. The company has been around for over two years, and CEO Nick Mattingly has only just recently started taking a salary. Switcher is a software that allows users to live broadcast events online from up to four different iOS cameras and mix those feeds in real time. It’s like a TV studio on an iPad. The company is currently structuring its seed around and has $6,000 of recurring revenue monthly.
Farm Specific Technology makes a Flex Roller Crimper for killing cover crops without chemicals. Cover crops are crops that farmers plant in between harvests. It keeps the soil healthy and prevents erosion and runoff. But when it comes time to plant a cash crop, farmers have to kill the cover crop. This is often done with herbicides or with a crimper, a farm machine that runs over the cover crop and bends the stalks, cutting off the flow of nutrients. Currently, crimpers are giant rollers, but on uneven soil, this static roller will hit some plants and miss others. Austin Scott, CEO, has designed a crimper that consists of several floating rollers that move independent of each other and can conform to uneven terrain. Scott’s product is fully patented.
The finals will be held on May 4 at the Venture Connectors Luncheon at the Muhammad Ali Center. In addition to the $23,000 prize, a $250 prize for best presentation will be awarded by the CEOs of past Venture Sharks winners Logjustrips, Revio, Wicked Sheets, U.S. Chia and Surgical Serenity Solutions.