SEAL Decision Day August 2012
9th August 2012 · 1 Comment
SEAL (Student Entrepreneurship Acceleration and Launch) is an annual ATI summer program in which staff and mentors help student teams drive toward Go or No Go decisions on their entrepreneurial concepts. The final presentations yesterday were the culmination of that effort. There were no judges and no prizes, just candid reports on the conclusions reached. Success is measured not by the ratio that proceed but by the validity of the conclusions reached, good or bad.
By my count from the 13 at inception there were 3 early casualties, leaving 10 presenters, including 1 red light, 3 yellows, and 7 greens. An eleventh company was unable to present but I’m presuming is planning to continue. Some of these team leaders have another year or more of school and can keep their companies going with very low overhead, so a green light doesn’t necessarily mean that they are “all-in” and living on noodles. And, my yellow light count includes some that are tentatively proceeding but didn’t exactly make a definitive statement to that effect.
Here are the contenders:
Lynx Labs has created a proprietary hardware and software platform for rapid 3D modeling of interior environments, initially targeting the media/entertainment and architectural/engineering verticals with a much lower cost and easier to use alternative to current methods. They expect to have product in June and have a defined target number of installs by the end of 2013. Real science in this one. Asking for $500K followed by $2.5M.
eyeQ provides purchasing intelligence software for retailers to increase in-store sales. This one is more software intensive using a variety of available components and has made great headway into major retailers. They are trying to replicate the online environment in the offline store.* Asking for $500K followed by $2M.
Predictable Data has developed large dataset quality management solutions to be offered via a SaaS platform to the SMB market. This is a big enterprise problem for which there are pricey solutions, and PD is bringing an affordable service to the broader market of SMB’s. Asking for customers, channel partners, awareness.
QuorumBuy is trying to disrupt the supply chain by developing a group-buying platform that enables business customers to receive volume discounts on physical goods. It’s similar to a co-op in some ways and is focused on recurring purchases as opposed to flash deals. Asking for continued assistance.
Zingpoints is developing a retail rewards network that simplifies the rewards process for a very specific audience: Mormon moms. Asking for $700K.
Ideation Systems has developed an integrated platform for engineering educators comprised of proprietary lab equipment, software, and curriculum materials that enable faculty to easily and relatively inexpensively incorporate hands-on modules into their coursework. They are already getting strong support from NI and TI and are only asking for general help.
Escapaide, the mobile concierge, is developing the socially connected intelligence platform providing customized itineraries for the 42% of international business travelers who fit into the “explorer” category, those who are generally younger and are energetically looking for tailored side ventures when on long business trips. (I discovered I am by age classified in the “veteran” or “old white dude” category of folks too tired to explore. Time for my nap now before I finish this post.) Looking for advisors and possibly some money in the spring.
ROx has developed a new and more cost efficient module to transport samples for surface analysis in a controlled atmospheric environment between test instruments. They are bootstrapping this heavy science idea and only need one customer to become cash positive. Hard to ask for much in something so very technically specific.
Solspot Systems was designing an integrated solar charging station for switching between solar and grid power sources, targeting geographic regions like India with intermittent grid reliability, but they found no takers at the required price point and are considering a pivot to a fast-switching UPS for computer users in those geographies. This one is more or less at the total reset phase.
ReQwip has developed a peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile marketplace for buying, selling, and renting sports equipment and outdoor gear. They have a good start on the supply side by focusing first on bicycles. Asking for $500K to roll them out, pun intended.
clay.io provides a centralized HTML5 development environment, APIs, and game marketplace for all your favorite tablet-friendly games, but did not present due to travel.
All the presentations were very well polished, and the amount of effort applied by the ATI team and a large number of mentors showed results.
*As to the eyeQ comment on making offline as cool as online, I thought that was particularly telling of our times. NASCAR is facing declining attendance because the experience in the seats is inferior to the experience of watching on TV. I’ve heard the same said of other sports like ACC basketball, which used to be a very tough ticket and is no longer such. Its just says something about us all when real environments and participation can’t compete with a screen. (Well, back to my nap.)
<I could have used another sketchy iPhone image; but all such events look the same: photo above from Wikipedia is a SEAL practicing her pitch>