Apr 13 2014, 2:27pm CDT | by Forbes
Who helped you pursue your vision? Raising capital and seeking launch support for a new startup is a daunting task, and many knowledgeable entrepreneurs with great ideas struggle to find the right mix of resources.
As a Kansas City-based accelerator, SparkLabKC’s goal is to provide entrepreneurs with access to the vital resources every new venture needs. The accelerator selects 10 companies to participate in a three-month program that focuses on raising seed money and provides access to mentors, legal and financial services, and workspace. The program culminates in a “demo day,” when each company presents its prototype to potential investors.
SparkLabKC’s second class has just come to a close, and I attended today’s demo day presentations as a mentor and investor. Overall, this class’s startups showed well and included a healthy variety of company types.
Here’s a closer look at the class:
BuzzMeDo lets retailers deliver personalized promotions to consumers via text or push messaging. Its key benefit is that it collects data and continually analyzes consumer behavior to improve client redemption rates and ROI. The company already serves a number of food service chains and has proven its model with its impressive revenue gains.
1CapApp is a secure online service that provides live captioning for business meetings, classrooms, conventions, and courtrooms. As the fastest text-streaming platform on the market, it’s already working with clients throughout the U.S. and Europe.
CouponCloud provides an innovative solution that enables retailers to process both paper and digital coupons at the point of sale in a way that cuts the cost of dealing with expensive third-party coupon-processing sites, streamlines the coupon life cycle, and eliminates fraud.
This online learning portal provides women interested in entrepreneurship access to training from top experts, opportunities for mentorship, online courses, a supportive community, and a variety of other resources to help them succeed.
Minute Movement is a fitness program that focuses on quick, simple exercises for busy professionals that can be done anywhere. It has completed initial testing with three corporate clients and has compiled nearly 250 sales already.
Life Equals is a nutrition company that matches every vitamin sold with a donation of vitamins to undernourished children. It distributes online as well as through Whole Foods and Hy-Vee.
This online community provides resources to young women pursuing higher education opportunities. Revenue from every product sold goes into a dedicated scholarship fund, and UChic has already sold more than 100,000 books to date.
Lucky Orange is an advanced website optimization suite that tracks visitor interactions with real-time analytics. These sessions can be played back to see where visitors are engaging with a website and where they are dropping off. Lucky Orange adds 20 accounts per day and already has more than 1,000 subscribers.
This mobile software as a service (SaaS) platform allows companies to present their story online through blogging and social media. Creelio is currently beta testing with marketing agencies and other SparkLabKC participants.
SparkLabKC has built a springboard for these early-stage companies. More than anything, it has given entrepreneurs the chance to do what they do best: solve problems and share those solutions with the world. I left feeling energized by the atmosphere of collaboration, creativity, and even a little friendly competition.
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