A solid pitch, a sustainable business model, a couple of potential clients, and validation to ignite momentum--these are just a few of the things each of the 11 teams in our Fall 2016 Get Started cohort signed up for. During Get Started, each team went outside of their comfort zone to learn about their markets and their business model.
Here’s the story of Get Started told by the entrepreneurs that proudly ran the gauntlet of 3 months of weekly meetings and intensive facilitated workshops.
Fly Mouthwash | Nick Telford
Fly Mouthwash is a highly concentrated mouthwash designed to give the traveling user the portability of a pack of gum or mints with the fresh feeling and effectiveness of an at-home mouthwash. At the beginning of Get Started we thought that every living human was part of our target market (like every startup for a time). Before coming to Domi, we were really infatuated with people using it at bars, clubs, or any social setting. Once I went through Get Started we began to peel back the layers of who really needs this in their life and started seeing our true target market. It became more clear that our product will make the most impact to someone who travels multiple times a year. We realized a strong piece of our product is that it's TSA friendly. For someone constantly on flights, it offers a much better value in their travel pack opposed to repeatedly buying travel sized mouthwashes. During the idea stage, our first thought was to heavily market our product as “safe to swallow” so consumers would be able to use it anywhere. After a few interviews and focus groups, we found out that people don’t like to swallow mouthwash, even if it’s safe. We then shifted to market it as a true mouthwash where you should spit after swishing for 30 seconds. However, you can also add a drop to your tongue if there's no water present to get the quick burst of freshness people need at critical times during the day. We also started out with a very weak concentrate and realized that it was lacking the burn that most consumers associate with germ killing. Since the testing, we have made a much stronger, better tasting and more effective product.
Envint Management Group | Quinterius Enzor
Envint Management Group started off as a grant consultancy and management conglomerate that specializes in creating funding opportunities for startup nonprofits and religious organizations. Since enrolling into Get Started, however, Envit Management pivoted and made important changes. With the program’s resources, I had the ability to transition EMG into a web-based platform for all grant seekers and grant writers. I started the program with very specific customers and a niche in place, but my customer discovery has widened to a new audience and my business model has strengthened.
Weather Tiger | Ryan Truchelut & Erica Staehling
WeatherTiger is a next-generation weather forecasting company with proprietary technology. It fuses the power of predictive analytics with meteorological insights to bring customized and accurate seasonal climate forecasts to commodity, risk, and retail markets. Our involvement in the Get Started program has led to our vision for WeatherTiger becoming more ambitious. The entrepreneurial development professionals at Domi Station helped us realize that we were undervaluing our core algorithm by limiting our marketing efforts to one sector. That discovery broadens our horizons and helped us find ways to more effectively grow our business. As both of our co-founders are technical, we truly value that kind of perspective. Get Started really encouraged us to deeply research our target markets and understand the unmet demand for quality long-range weather forecasts. In our conversations with prospective clients, we've found that off-the-shelf, overly broad seasonal outlooks aren't particularly valuable to them; they need a trustworthy forecast customized to their precise region of interest and for their exact weather concern. Those core principles guide WeatherTiger's product development as we bring our forecasting technology to market for threats ranging from seasonal hurricane risk to drought, heat, and severe weather.
Codecraft Works | Meagen Bonnell
Codecraft Works is a program that provides computer science and code education to students age 8 to 18. A lot has changed since joining Get Started! The main change we made was moving to a more agile business model. Codecraft Works is now set up to get students coding as soon as possible. We have trimmed the overhead of lab spaces and now work directly with schools and community centers that already have labs in place. Through customer discovery, we learned that there is a big market for computing education for kids and a lack of ready-to-go platforms. We learned that the biggest advantage Codecraft Works can offer is our awesome plug and play platform.
Career Mojo | Sam Brown & Bryan Skykes
Career Mojo is a personal and professional development platform that exists to transform companies and their people by discovering better ways to work. We offer products and services to help businesses avoid the high costs of "mis-hires", employee disengagement, and low-performance cultures. The software we are creating uses predictive performance analytics to predict the performance outcome of a potential candidate. Get Started really helped us build a formal structure to our efforts. The program immersed us in our idea, and now we can easily communicate not just the human resource problem we aim to solve but how our product solves it.
One Fresh Pillow | Aaron & Adrianne Kautz
One Fresh Pillow is the world's first online pillow subscription service. Millions of Americans sleep on pillows that don't support their body properly and that house millions of germs, bacteria, mold, and dust mites. We help you decide which of our three unique pillows is right for your body type, then ship one to you as often as you need it so you're always sleeping on a fresh pillow. The idea has really stayed the same since joining Get Started. What's changed is our operating less in hypotheticals and more in concrete tools and resources available to take our idea and make it come to fruition. We're still working on discovering who our customers are. We have found that our message and how we deliver it is very powerful. People who are skeptical of the idea of a pillow subscription service are quick to buy into the concept of One Fresh Pillow when we talk to them about how they're sleeping and why they could be sleeping better on a clean and supportive pillow.
FAN4D | Celeste Debro
FAN4D is a real-time fan interaction web-based application with SMS technology. The purpose of this company is to help music artists gain an organic fan-base in the most engaging moments. It also provides fans (supporters) with a better experience interacting with their favorite artists and an easier way to gather their information. Since joining Get Started my ideas have become more cohesive and I actually understand my customer. The things I have learned are invaluable to the progression of really making my vision come to life. Customer discovery broke down the important aspects of my customer and differentiated between the way I wanted to serve them and the way they actually needed to be served. That's super important when trying to find a valuable solution to a problem.