This year, we launched our Coaching Division, working with dozens of business leaders around the nation. It’s been humbling to work with so many incredible businesses and the people within them. These business leaders make my job easy and continue to inspire me every day, as cliche as that might sound.
Which is why I have decided to share some of the amazing individuals and their ventures. Each of them was asked the following three questions over email and given as much time as they needed to answer:
- What is your elevator pitch?
- What is your vision for the future?
- Why did you start or get involved with this business?
I met Mario Beshir, founder of Logo Life, at the October SEED SPOT 2-Day Launch Camp. Seed Spot is an organization supporting diverse impact-driven entrepreneurs through a series of programming, including their 2-Day Lanch Camps designed to help early-stage entrepreneurs.
- The education system is outdated. It is not equipping kids with the skills they need to succeed in the new economy. There is a massive amount of research coming from top universities that indicates the importance of foundational skills, including creativity, emotional intelligence, and grit. Yet, these skills are not being integrated into our schools. LogoLife fills the gap between modern research and what is available in schools, preparing students for what is being called “the 4th industrial revolution.”
- I imagine integrating various technologies into the product mix. For example, an application that gamifies goal setting for a younger audience, or a virtual reality game that allows students to visualize their goals. Moreover, we’d like to incorporate a movie element into our curriculum. As the instructor teaches, there would be simultaneous entertainment to engage students in the lesson.
- I was actually interviewing people around New York City and asking them existential questions like “what is your purpose.” I would record these interviews and document them on YouTube and Instagram. The answers that I received made it abundantly clear that these questions are foundational and not being addressed, mostly out of fear.
I met Nikki Cohn-Byrd, founder and CEO of Welliance, at the December SEED SPOT 2-Day Launch Camp.
- Welliance is a subscription-based platform that provides access to a network of alternative medicine providers and gives more affordable access to the care most needed.
- My vision is one where the healthcare system focuses on prevention, not treatment by providing everyone with affordable, transparent, and accessible care that aligns with and incentivizes a healthier lifestyle.
- I’m passionate about the healthcare industry, knowledgeable about its future, and angered at its lack of effectiveness, especially for my age group. I want to pioneer a new way to deliver, insure, and receive needed care.
- Shnacky is the anywhere, on-demand shnacks and drinks delivery service, aiming to take the overpriced surcharges out of the question.
- Our vision is to be THE go-to for shnacks. Any time. Anywhere.
- I started Shnacky to help those who ride the public transportation system. I wanted to be able to provide these individuals with any shnack and drink on-demand. But the vision grew, and we realized we could help even more shnackish people in tough situations. Now, we want to be the on-demand shnack and drink delivery service for everybody, no matter where they are.
I met Kenny Dahill, co-founder and CEO of The Burbz, through SEED SPOT.
- Burbz is the first co-managing opportunity for landlords to hire a locally-motivated partner to help manage their rental properties. Property management is selfish and greedy. Co-Management is an affordable solution that gives landlords more transparency and control of their rentals.
- We want to create a national platform to improve the quality and affordability of property management. While providing an opportunity for thousands-to-millions of people across all wealth classes, we also want to give exceptional customer service and earn additional income.
- I am a landlord myself and saw a need for the industry. There are a lot of landlords who have bad experiences with property management, which is why 75 percent of rentals are self-managed. We saw the current payment terms and structure as counter-intuitive to the landlords’ financial interests, so we decided to help our fellow landlords. The more we brainstormed the solution of side-hustle management, we realized the benefits that hard-working co-managers could gain as well, putting money back into the communities in which we, as landlords, invest.
I met Marianne Levin, co-founder of A-Loom-A-Knotty, at 1 Million Cups and had the opportunity to work with her at the October SEED SPOT 2-Day Launch Camp.
- People want to connect and feel like their lives have a purpose. Many people today feel alienated, especially veterans. For example, suicide among veterans is much higher than in the general population. At A-Loom-A-Knotty, we designed a loom for communal weaving that involves people directly in the manual motions of giving and receiving. Then, we tested our looms in five outdoor arts festivals over two years. The device accommodates six people of any age and ability and accommodates wheelchairs. We even obtained a patent for our most recent design.
- We want to go beyond festivals and approach veteran organizations, that might set up a shop where their members collaborate on refining prototypes and making the looms. We would pay these individuals using grants. We would also explore selling licenses to manufacture.Right now, we need help validating our market. We need individuals who can help us conduct interviews of veterans, veteran organizations, or other community groups to refine our go-to-market strategy.
- It all started in the fall of 2016 when the City of Mesa sent out a Request for Proposals. Mesa had polled the neighboring community and decided that a public Prototyping Festival in the fall of 2017 could benefit the city. Such festivals had been successful in other cities. There were two criteria to participate: your prototype had to provide “opportunities for interaction with artists” and “diversify the art for different generations.” After receiving an award at the first festival, we encouraged to continue to refine our prototype and participate in other public events.
I met Skylar Lyskar, co-founder and CEO of Greenz Supply, at 1 Million Cups.
- Greenz creates organic hemp apparel that benefits our customers and the earth simultaneously.
- We want to create the world’s largest vertically integrated hemp manufacturer and brand.
- I want to secure a sustainable future for all generations and tap into the true potential of industrial hemp.
Alexix Quezada and Shireen Dooling
I met Alexis Quezada and Shireen Dooling, co-founders of Defiant Science, at the October SEED SPOT 2-Day Launch Camp.
- Over 90 percent of women who apply to study in STEM fields never complete their degree, creating a gap in the workforce. This gap creates missed opportunities for universities and employers to connect with valuable potential female candidates who could have otherwise contributed to the field of science. We are building a platform that connects women in STEM fields to a community, by offering mentorship and valuable resources to clear the academic and career obstacles for women within the STEM field. By relying on female experts already in the STEM fields, we will provide specialized guidance with more accurate insight and diverse experiences. If you know any women in STEM who would be willing to share their journey and what they are working on now, we would love an introduction!
- We see a future where there is an extensive network of female STEM professionals that serve as role models for the young women who follow. We hope to create a continuous cycle where the students who are a part of our community become role models and mentors themselves when they step into their professional roles.
- We started this venture because we are part of the statistic. We were missing that feeling of belonging, which stopped us from continuing to pursue a career path within the STEM fields. We want to eliminate that feeling for all other young women who are setting out on their STEM journeys, and we will show them their dreams and goals are possible to obtain. Our love for science and the desire to make a meaningful impact have led us to where we are today.
I met Erica Scott, founder and owners of Civilian Connections, at the December SEED SPOT 2-Day Launch Camp.
- Did you know that 80 percent of veterans that come out of the military do not have jobs? That amounts to over 173,000 per year. Veterans are adaptable, loyal, committed, and perform well in diverse settings. Yet, there are over 7 million job openings right now that companies want to find great employees to fill. My solution is to help create amazing company cultures by matching the skills of veterans to the needs of employers. Some companies try to address part of the problem, but I am the only one with the human resources (HR) expertise and ability to implement solutions. I was able to bring veterans into an organization changing the culture within six months, generating double-digit reductions in turnover, increases in innovation, and improved employee engagement. I could use help with marketing and introductions to HR leaders at companies so we can ensure that our veterans have jobs after serving our country.
- I am working to create a community and a sense of belonging between veterans and employers. I hope that companies and government agencies will follow my solutions to eradicate veteran under and unemployment and that they become the standard all across the country. I want to have 1 million veterans employed in 10 years by creating solutions for success professionally after serving our country.
- After taking a standardized test for the military, I felt accepted for the first time because they acknowledged my intelligence and wanted me to enlist. Sadly, for medical reasons, I wasn’t able to pursue my dream of joining the military to serve. Then about ten years ago, I went through a tough time when my nephew passed away at six weeks old. The grief caused me to question how I could make a difference in the world and help people. Through volunteer work and watching my veteran friends struggle to fit in at companies, it helped me see that there was a tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of veterans. My 20-year career in Human Resources showed me that companies want to hire veterans but don’t know how to do it successfully. My business is on a mission to address the gap between veterans and employers. My life experiences of being rejected and misunderstood helped me connect with veterans from a genuine place of being unsure of a place of being fulfilled personally and professionally.
- Over 2.2 million daily live streamers lack the time, resources, and financial stability to consistently promote philanthropy despite a drive to do so, to the tune of over $75 million on Twitch alone by 2017. Meanwhile, nonprofits and businesses are struggling to find passionate, mission compatible talent in today’s digital economy. CharityLiveStream.com combines Livestream fundraising promotion with automatic portfolio development, empowering everyone wanting to grow their skills, network, and community to make an impact.By pairing individual skill growth through volunteering with our community management tools, CLS unites our customer base of donors, live streamers, volunteers, nonprofits, and businesses.
- I’m passionate about aiding people in achieving their dreams by helping those in need through no fault of their own. This passion has resulted in a live, pre-launched website, 14 nonprofit partners, more than 1,000 early adopters, and being post-revenue three months before launch in February 2020. If you’re interested in Livestream fundraising, social good marketing, and the next generation of fundraisers, join us today.
- I want to ensure that anyone with a passion, regardless of status, has the opportunity to build the talents and connections necessary to achieve their dreams. We’ll achieve this by increasing our number of education partnerships, securing more resources, validating education through action, and streamlining connections between nonprofits and businesses. Finally, I pledge to do all this without ever taking a percentage of donations raised at the events our community promotes. I was inspired to start this company by witnessing the passion and pure philanthropy in the online video game and art communities. At the same time, I experienced first hand the struggles of graduating out of college into an economy where entry-level positions require two years of experience. I saw then and still see now the Livestream philanthropy industry as a series of separate threads with new voices, ideas, and technologies rising to solve individual problems and inefficiencies. But despite the incredible successes that have already been achieved, our platform is still a sliver of its potential. I’ve built CLS to spin together these separate threads, to create a rope everyone can use to climb higher towards their dreams.
I met and had the opportunity to work with Allana Taylor, co-owner of Quench Naturel, at the October SEED SPOT 2-Day Launch Camp.
- Did you know that 23.5 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases, and this number is rising? Did you know that there are 1.7 million new cases of cancer diagnosed every year? So what has changed? It’s not the people. It is an increased use of chemicals in absolutely everything. Did you know that our bodies absorb these chemicals within 26 seconds of coming into contact with them?
My business partner and I are directly impacted by these statistics. When we went to the market to find quality body care products that are chemical-free, we found nothing available at a reasonable price. So we decided to create our own line of body care, including products for your face, body, hair, and oral hygiene. Our products allow our customers to remove the chemicals from their products, without interrupting their everyday body care needs. Our goal is to help create healthy people who make stronger communities, and to do this, we are looking for a strategic partner to help us spread our message.
We began this company because we know that chemicals are negatively impacting the health of everyone. And we want to make a positive change in our families, communities, and the world.
- My vision is to grow my business alongside a strategic partner who believes in our vision for the company. Our vision for the future is to continue building brand recognition in the Phoenix valley through direct sales while developing our online presence. We believe that by setting up strategic retail accounts, attending various festivals, and introducing marketing, we can achieve this.Ultimately, we’d like to build this brand to prominence within the natural body care market. We dream of opening a flagship store, where we can teach classes on the use of herbs and botanicals within the body care industry, and other environmentally friendly topics. The store will feature on-demand, eco-friendly, and refillable packaging options that will help our clients make more sustainable choices in their community.I need every type of support at this time. I want to grow my business online doing direct sales, using limited targets retail as a way to build brand awareness. Investors are always appreciated, but I am also looking for a mentor whose experience I can learn from.
- I started Quench Naturel because I believe chemicals are negatively affecting people’s health. And I want to empower people to make better choices for themselves and their families. On a personal note, when my husband got Valley Fever, it triggered a host of autoimmune issues and has led to six surgeries. Our family’s finances have been decimated and don’t want others to suffer as we have.
I met Ethan Turner, co-founder and CEO of Glimpse Global, at the 2019 SEED SPOT Impact Accelerator.
- We are changing the world by standardizing how nonprofits collect data and helping volunteers and donors make great investments of their time talent and treasure.
- We want to create a marketplace of social change organizations where individuals understand what their impact per dollar, or impact per hour is when they volunteer and donate. This method would provide a standardized way of tracking and reaching personal impact goals.We also want to create a world that is educated on sustainable development through a 3rd sector (voluntary and community organizations, social enterprises, mutuals, and co-operatives) that is very attuned to the power and benefit of data.
- I started this company while I was the President of an organization called Enactus, where we create sustainable development projects at the local, regional, national, and international scale. We were required to report our impact on a competitive basis against other chapters. As we went deeper and got more familiar with our metrics, I saw how many more lives we could effectively improve. After graduating and volunteering with several local non-profits, I noticed that data was not a common thing. There were smaller organizations that were making an incredible impact but not recording or reporting it. At Glimpse, we are fixing a problem I saw at Enactus, and leveling the playing field by helping all nonprofits recognize and increase their impact.
I have known Abby Wilkymacky, founder, facilitator and designer of Mindflower Studio, for quite a while and am so happy she finally started her own business.
- Mindflower Studio is a creative consultancy that helps socially-driven organizations define and solve problems. Our clients are on a mission to change the world, and we are on a mission to support them in this journey. We design and facilitate strategic, user-centered, and visually stimulating experiences that gather people together and enkindle their best thinking when it’s time to solve the most important challenges. We help organizations feel confident, nimble, and creative, regardless of the scope, ambiguity, or complexity of the problem at hand.If it’s a long elevator ride, we may continue with it… You may find us facilitating workshops with underrepresented entrepreneurs, starting new strategic initiatives and programming, expanding the creative capabilities and capacity of a team, using large visuals to facilitate a team reflection, or working in the classroom to introduce Design Thinking to young students. Our sessions are full of hard-work, masked by fun.
- I want to change the way people think about solving problems so we can change the world for the better.
- I started this company because I am on a mission to bring more creativity and thoughtfully-facilitated experiences into organizations that are working to make the world a better place. Current workplaces are full of boring meetings, stale brainstorming sessions, and uninspired employees. Mindflower exists to break this mold of stifled creativity and reignite the flame in collaborative teams.
I met Lisa Schaefer,the founder and software engineer for ThinQ when she pitched for 1 Million Cups.
- Conversations that make you ThinQ. You can host live video office hours or rap sessions for your colleagues and friends to drop in and talk to you about your topic of expertise, current events, or other thought-provoking topics. Part Zoom meeting, and part entertainment for those who want an online social intellectual experience that isn’t video gaming.
- The vision is hundreds of conversations 24-7 where intellectually curious people drop in to live video small-group conversations about any thought-provoking topic of their choice. Like a giant worldwide cocktail party where you easily search for conversations about topics that you have a stake in, feeling as though you were in the same room together, such as via hologram. In this vision, there will be no hate speech nor sexual harassment in online forums. People of all race, creed, and gender will be proportionally represented in the public eye because they will feel no need to hide or anonymize themselves for fear of verbal or physical threats when appearing in online forums. We know we can create the technology.Unfortunately the latter portion of the vision is a pipe dream in today’s online society. I call you to help foster a culture where it is taking the high road is the norm. Pay attention to overt and covert discrimination online. When you see it, call out what is happening so others are also aware of the problem and can address it with you. Don’t be a guilty bystander.
- I created RoleModel Enterprises, LLC, because I was fired the day after a coworker locked me in a conference room and took it out, etc. and decided I no longer needed to work for similar employers. I wanted to use emerging media to feature bold, intelligent women in male-dominated fields and produced “Budget Justified,” a movie about all kinds of things that happened around me in the FAA offices in Washington, DC.ThinQ.tv evolved from both disturbing and fascinating online experiences and technologies I’ve experimented with since I first discovered live video in 2008. Live video enables us to create interactive entertainment that makes people thinQ, rather than passive couch potato bystander experiences.
I wish all of the venture’s success and prosperity in 2020 and into the future. As always, we are here to help you grow in any way we can. It is amazing all of the hard work in our startup community; with all of the different visions of a better world.Thank you for collaborating with us in 2019.