@Flashstarts Demo Day 2016 - #FSDDay

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I was very impressed with the Flashstarts 2016 Accelerator Class.
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I was very impressed with the Flashstarts 2016 Accelerator Class. At the November 30, 2016, Flashstarts Demo Day (#FSDDay), the startup founders made their presentations, after which I had a chance to talk to them. I also truly enjoyed meeting other new people and reconnecting to the people I knew who attended this event at The City Club (@TheCityClub).

When I started writing this blog post, I discovered that Flashstarts (@Flashstarts) had shared the full videos of the 2016 Accelerator class's investor pitches online. I recommend you view these short talks that will give you good insight into each of the 2016 Accelerator Class products. As of the publication of this blog post, the videos are marked private, so please click on the "Watch on Vimeo" button to view them.

2016 Flashstarts Accelerator Class

2016 Accelerator Class at Flashstarts Demo Day 2016
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(Five 2016 Flashstarts Accelerator companies, and previous portfolio companies, in the order of presentations.)


1) Drive My Way

CEO: Beth Potratz
Website: drivemyway.com
Twitter: @DriveMyWay

When I talked to Beth Potratz, I was very impressed with not only the idea behind Drive My Way, but also the way it is implemented. It sounds like a true "win-win" strategy to fit the right truck driver with the right job as needed.

Please view the Drive My Way video to learn "...how Drive My Way changes lives by matching CDL drivers to the right job":


2) Markers

Founder: Reginald Cash

I want to thank Reginald Cash for spending time with me during the networking portion of the evening after his Flashstarts Demo Day presentation. I enjoyed learning from him how Markers software pulls information together for investor relations officers of public companies. The software takes a complicated process of compiling publicly available information and makes it easier. My understanding is that not only does it streamline both the data gathering and the creation of customer presentations, but it also will help investor relations officers keep in legal compliance.

Later in the evening, Dan Moulthrop (@danmoulthrop) introduced me to Reginald Cash's wife. I enjoyed learning about her work at the Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation), and that she will soon be starting at the United Way Cleveland (@UnitedWayCLE).


3) Wheedle

Founders: Brian Stein (@SteinDomain) & John Weston
Website: wheedleapp.com
Twitter: @wheedleapp

I first remember learning about Wheedle when I attended Flashstarts' October 18, 2016, Angel Soiree. I thought the service Wheedle provides was an important one that people would use, but that I had already heard of others providing a similar type of service. I wondered how they would break into a market where others were already established.

Through Brian Stein's (@SteinDomain) Demo Day pitch, and later talking to him during the networking portion of the evening, I learned what differentiated Wheedle from others in the hospitality industry:

Wheedle combines the functionality of restaurant reservations (think Open Table), discount promotions (Groupon), and event ticketing (eventbrite) in one easy to use platform.

I appreciate that Brian Stein took time to talk to me and explain that Wheedle not only provides a service to the consumer looking for a restaurant or entertainment venue, but also helps to directly address the needs of restaurants. He expressed to me that it is very focused on restaurants' needs.


4) Komae

Founders: Amy Husted & Audrey Wallace
Website: mykomae.com
Twitter: @MyKomae

Our babysitting exchange platform is up and running! Sign in and invite your friends.

I remember first hearing of Komae at the December 3, 2016, TechPint Winter Summit (@TechPintNews), where they earned the $1,000 prize at the Flashstarts Tech Pint Pitch competition at the Cleveland Agora. (See Crain's Cleveland (@CrainsCleveland) September 24, 2016, article: Baby-sitting app is coming of age through pitch competitions.)

One Year Ago: Learned about Komae
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I have seen Audrey Wallace's presentation about Komae recently at both the Flashstarts' October 18, 2016, Angel Soiree, and at the November 4, 2016, PechaKucha Night Akron Volume 5 at The Bit Factory (@PKAkron - @TheBitFactory). (See my PechaKucha Night Akron Volume 5 at The Bit Factory blog post.)

It was very cool to see, at these recent events, and now at the November 30, 2016, Flashstarts Demo Day, the reaction of parents in the audience when they learn of the Komae service. They are excited!

Learn more in this video I found on Komae's website.


5) Parihug

Founders: Xyla Foxlin (@FlyingRobotGirl)
Website: www.parihug.com
Twitter: @parihug

Please read my CWRU think[box] Thinkapalooza! blog post, to see photos and learn how I met Xyla Foxlin (@FlyingRobotGirl) at the October 27, 2015, grand opening of Case Western Reserve University's new space for promoting innovation and entrepreneurial enterprises called think[box] (@CWRU - @CWRUthinkbox).

One Year Ago: Met Xyla Foxlin and learned about Parihug
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It is exciting to me to see how an idea from a year ago has developed into what should become an available product in the first quarter of 2017.

What is parihug?

Parihug makes electronically-connected teddy bears, that let loved ones hug each other from a distance. Two people can be on different sides of the world, each with their own bear. When one is hugged, a suite of soft, fabric-based sensors detects the hug and transmits a message to the other bear. The receiving bear then hugs its owner with a gentle vibration-- haptic telepresence! The bears allow loved ones to connect with each other when they physically cannot be together, and brings the humanity back into technological connection.

While preparing this blog post, I saw on Twitter that Xyla Foxlin (@FlyingRobotGirl) has officially launched another interesting project on YouTube on December 12, 2016. You can learn about Beauty And The Bolt from this introduction video and by following @BeautyAndBolt on Twitter.



6) Alumni Company Presentations

Following the presentations from this year’s portfolio companies, Qwickly, Complion, We Can Code IT, and Remesh, alumni companies from the Flashstarts 2013, 2014, and 2015 accelerators, shared updates on their growth and successes.

See my blog post from last year -- @Flashstarts Demo Day 2015 - #FSDDay -- where you can learn about all the Flashstarts 2015 Accelerator Class members who participated in the Flashstarts Demo Day on Wednesday, August 19, 2015, at House of Blues Cleveland (@HOBCleveland). There you will learn about We Can Code IT (@WeCanCodeIT),

To update what is happening now in 2016, I want to mention that under the leadership of CEO Mel McGee (@MelKMcGee), We Can Code IT has an expanded role within Flashstarts, as well as a new location in Columbus, Ohio. Learn more in the following Flashstarts articles:

  • We Can Code IT Announces Expansion to Columbus

    We Can Code IT Columbus will offer 4 full-time cohorts and one part-time cohort in 2017 and plans to graduate 80 students in their first year. This branch, led by Brian Forsythe, will particularly focus on Java as the programming language students are taught. Forsythe is an experienced instructor and java programmer with 20 years of experience. We Can Code It has already secured an employment partnership with JPMorgan Chase for their graduates, and other companies are sure to follow suit.


  • The DEV Shop

    In partnership with We Can Code IT, Flashstarts has launched The Dev Shop, Cleveland’s premier developer residency program. Developers graduating from universities and bootcamp programs can join the Dev Shop as residency fellows.

    These developers are given the opportunity to apply their skills and build real products for customers in a professional enterprise team setting. Startups can leverage The Dev Shop to fill talent gaps and produce prototypes at a reduced rate. 


    Visit www.clevelanddevshop.com for more information or to request a project quote.


Flashstarts 2016 Demo Day Resources

Flashstarts Demo Day 2016
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Flashstarts Demo Day 2016 Sponsors
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For some great information about the 2016 Flashstarts Accelerator Class and Demo Day, I recommend going to the following:

  • Demo Day 2016 an Unprecedented Success
    This article by Flashstarts includes photos and a summary of the event, along with information about each company.

    Meet the Class of 2016

    The Flashstarts Accelerator class of 2016 is our most promising class yet, and demo day serves as the culmination of their work during the accelerator. “What do we look for in startups for the Accelerator?” posed Stack to the audience. “We look for deep domain and industry expertise along with a disruptive idea and the right team.” These teams certainly meet those criteria.

  • Demo Day 2016
    This web page includes videos of the presentations, sponsors/supporters logos, and links for more information about other Flashstarts programs.

Flashstarts Demo Day 2016 Web Page
Link To Demo Day 2016 Web Page


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Flashstarts 2016 Accelerator Class Web Page PDF

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Flashstarts Angel Soiree on October 18, 2016


#FSDDay Tweets & Retweets

Here are 65 of my @sos_jr tweets and retweets that relate to the 2016 Accelerator Class. In addtion to the tweets here, remember that you can view more 2016 and past years' tweets about Flashstarts Demo Days by searching for the #FSDDay hashtag.

I also included some of the Flight Launch League (@FLIGHTAkron - #Flight2016) tweets, since some of the 2016 Accelerator Class also presented at their event on December 2, 2016. I missed the Flight Launch League event, but from what I heard, it was very successful. It is definitely a startup event to watch for next year. Learn more by reading Courtney Gras's (@CourtneyaGras - @LaunchLeague) Launch League executive director's notes: The view from orbit: director’s notes on a successful “Flight”
ANNOUNCEMENT: As I was writing this blog post, I received a direct message from @FLIGHTAkron confirming that there will be another Flight Launch League entrepreneur conference in summer 2017.
Flight Launch League announces 2017 event.
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@FLIGHTAkron's #Flight2016

Interesting to see on Twitter that some of the @Flashstarts Demo Day companies also presented two days later at @FLIGHTAkron's #Flight2016 on December 2, 2016.



@FlyingRobotGirl has officially launched Beauty And The Bolt (@BeautyandBolt):


Related Blog Posts:


I look forward to attending more events like this.