Mansfield once again showed its support for entrepreneurship during the third SunDown RunDown event, which saw a packed house Wednesday evening at the Old Bag of Nails Pub.
SunDown RunDown is a forum in which five entrepreneurs are given five minutes each to pitch their idea, followed by five minutes for the audience to ask questions. The goal is to bring entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, and talent together.
During a pitch, each entrepreneur generally describes their business vision, and follows up with an “ask,” which can include anything from a request for community support to investment dollars.
Wednesday’s selected presentations, however, included Impact Angel Fund, a group of “angel investors.”
“We’re a venture capital fund, targeting early stage technology companies in North Central and East Central Ohio,” said Fund Manager Jon Elsasser.
Elsasser said Impact Angel Fund had a triple bottom line mission which included earning a return on investments, creating companies “in our own backyards,” and directing Ohio Third Frontier funds to the region.
He went on to note that the fund is currently being formed and had received a one million dollar award from Ohio Third Frontier. This was a “matching award,” which means the group must raise a matching amount in private money. “We are well on our way there,” added Elsasser, noting the fund should start official operation in September or October.
Entrepreneur Denise Czack of Her Blue Wear Uniforms (HBWU) explained the focus of her company is to provide uniforms specifically designed for women’s bodies, addressing not only comfort, but safety issues. She noted that currently, standard uniforms for women have a waistband two inches above the naval, forcing a female officer to draw her gun almost at armpit level.
By using 3-D body imaging software to create the patterns for the uniforms, she has designed a better option. “By reaching at the hip, it’s more of a natural draw. We’ve taken four seconds off the draw, which is equivalent to two bullets,” she explained.
Additionally, she noted that standard bullet proof vests do not fit women properly, but HBWU offers an alternative. “We have been able, on average, to add three and a half inches, covering more of their internal organs,” she added.
Czack’s “ask” was $5,000 for the production of 300 units to generate revenue and preorders through demonstrations. The unique thing about her request was the format of crowdfunding via Kiva Zip, which allows individuals to loan anywhere from $5 to $500 at zero percent interest.
Ron McChesney, founder and CEO of Three Scale Strategy - a company specializing in interactive as well as print maps, announced that his company has already gone to market and has 78 clients in 28 states.
McChesney noted that “transformative things are happening in mapping.”
“Mapping is starting to change the way we all live, work, and play,” he said, “A picture is worth a thousand words, but an interactive map is worth a thousand pictures.”
Three Scale Strategy’s newest innovation is a global tax map. “The purpose of global tax map is to lower the barriers to allow firms to identify good export opportunities so they can interact with professional service firms that can help them complete an export, and also work with site selection or economic development agencies,” McChesney explained.
One of McChesney’s requests was for companies with exportable goods or services to be interviewed. “We’d love to get that information into the incorporation of our map,” he said. $270,000 in seed funding was also requested.
The evening also included presentations by two companies familiar to Richland Source readers: KnotProfit and KnowYourCustomers.com.
Kritika Kripakaran, along with fiancé and co-founder Joshua Harris, explained the premise of KnotProfit’s services, as well as its revenue model. KnotProfit, previously featured in Richland Source’s “Eye on Entrepreneurs” series, is an online company that specializes in donation-based wedding registries and wedding favors, and also offers the option of crowd funding for big ticket items.
Harris noted that KnotProfit is projected to be a $30 million company by the end of 2019. KnotProfit’s “ask” was a $200,000 investment in the fourth quarter of this year.
John Covender and his company, KnowYourCustomers.com, have also been featured in the “Eye on Entrepreneurs” series. KnowYourCustomers.com is a service that allows businesses to warn other business owners of non-paying customers.
Covender announced, “We are now in phase two, which is an automated version of our company for larger businesses to connect to our system.”
Covender’s request was a minimum $250,000 commitment.
The next SunDown RunDown will be held in the fall, and more information may be found at the website.