Three startups win cash at UT Pitch & Pour eventWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Three regional startup companies earned a boost for their business after surviving a “shark tank” at The University of Toledo Business Incubation Program’s first Pitch & Pour, a business event held in association with the uHeart Digital Media Conference on May 10.
MakeMeMakeUp, developed by Tresha Heath, originally from Perrysburg, won first place and a prize of $2,500 in the competition. MakeMeMakeUp is a customized makeup service where users design personalized cosmetics using a smartphone application.
Heath said she and her husband recently relocated to Toledo for his job and she learned about the Pitch & Pour event. She has worked as a celebrity makeup artist for 20 years in Chicago, Miami, New York and Los Angeles.
“This is my new baby. We had such a great time at the event,” said Heath, who was the only woman among the competitors.
Heath said they will use the money for trademark work, doing market research through UT, launching the app publicly in June and opening a kiosk in Toledo this summer. They plan to open additional kiosks in various regions of the country based on the market research results.
DayStream, created by Matt and Jonathan Buchanan of Perrysburg, won second place and a $1,500 prize. DayStream is a social journaling platform that allows users to document the stories of their lives in a way that makes it easy to share and remember.
The idea for the startup business was 11-year-old Jonathan’s according to his father Matt. It has become a family project as they have been working on the website and application for DayStream for two years.
Jonathan developed the code for the app himself and they have worked together on the website. The startup is an opportunity to teach Jonathan about the business side of it, Matt said.
“We need some Web design and marketing assistance so the money will help with that,” he said.
Rootloop, developed by a seven-member team from metropolitan Detroit, took third place and received a $1,000 prize in the competition. Rootloop is a social and discovery platform where users can collaborate and create music with friends and other musicians around the world.
Tom Flack, spokesperson for the team and an undergraduate student at Michigan State University, said they will use the money to pay for legal fees to cover due diligence related to the business.
Flack said the group’s website is still under development while they have taken on an additional developer, and are looking for interns to work on the startup. They have stayed in touch with the organizers of the Pitch & Pour event and hope to meet with them and other entrepreneurs.
The winners were selected by a panel of judges representing local, regional and national companies including Google, Marshall & Melhorn, UPSO.org and TextsFromLastNight.com.
People attending the event were allowed to cast their votes for best presentation via smartphone, effectively serving as the tie-break vote and helping determine the crowd favorite.
About 150 people attended the inaugural event as numerous companies provided an overview of their business models and answered questions from a panel of regional and national technology startup experts.
The Pitch & Pour event featured representatives from five regional startup companies who pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges for the chance to win up to $5,000 in cash and prizes, according to the event’s organizers at UT.
The event’s primary sponsor was the State of Ohio’s Edison Technology Incubation Program at UT. Additional sponsors included Marshall & Melhorn, Treu House of Munch, Seed Coworking, Startup Weekend Toledo, StartUp Toledo, Maddie & Bella Coffee Co., Verso Group, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Silicon Rust Belt.
“The University of Toledo’s Edison Technology Incubation Program is an early-stage business catalyst working with the university and numerous public and private entities to accelerate job creation in the region,” said Scott McIntyre, manager of Business Incubation at UT.
The event was the first in a series promoting UT’s role in helping develop local and regional entrepreneurs and startups, McIntyre said.
No date has been set for the next Pitch & Pour event but organizers said they think it will be held in conjunction with the Startup Weekend Toledo late this summer or early this fall.