Area entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, and community supporters turned out in force Wednesday evening for Mansfield’s second SunDown RunDown, held at the Old Bag of Nails Pub on Lexington Avenue. SunDown RunDown is a community event that allows entrepreneurs five minutes to pitch an idea or product followed by five minutes of questions from the audience.
Wednesday’s featured speakers included two that are well known to Richland Source readers: Korinna Goettel of Figg’s Liquid Innovations and Jay Miller of DRM Productions.
Miller, previously featured in a Richland Source article, presented Retriever Digital Signage. “It’s a player that hooks up to one or multiple monitors,” he said. “The uses for it are to replace traditional: anywhere you’d have a bulletin board, a paper menu, paper flyers going up, that’s what we’re looking to replace. Those traditional print media ways just don’t get the attention a television does.”
Miller said he’s currently looking for companies to test the Retriever 2.0 beta version, and to give feedback on its ease of use and functionality.
Goettel has been featured in Richland Source for Figg’s Apple Pie non-alcoholic cocktail mix as well as for her product expansion. She not only provided SunDown RunDown’s featured drinks, SunDown RumDown and Figg’s on Fire, but made a presentation for the event.
“For the past nine years soft drink sales have continued to decline as customers continue to look for healthier alternatives to the sugar-ridden, caffeinated, carbonated drinks that are available on the market. When we were looking to add another product, we realized that we had the perfect solution. Figg’s Apple Pie was already all those things that those people were looking for,” said Goettel.
Goettel said she’s hoping to find community support in helping to locate a commercial kitchen that may be retrofitted as a bottling facility, as well as contacts in the bottling and commercial kitchen area. Capital, she noted, is also welcome.
Entrepreneur Tom Rigsby, Chief Operating Officer of Team Inn, explained that the focus of his company is to coordinate youth sport teams, tournaments, and hotels. His goal is to help put entire teams into the same hotel at a competitive rate, easing the stress on parents and coaches.
“We have developed a proprietary process that will enlace the tournaments with the hotels and the parents,” said Rigsby.
He said that $135,000 has already been raised and he hoped to find investors for an additional $150,000 to complete software development and hire staff. Rigsby noted that the return would be well worth the investment as $7 billion are spent annually on youth sports travel.
Rich Proeschel, P.E., Chairman and Program Manager of Proe Power Systems LLC, discussed the goal of Proe Power Systems, which is to turn biowaste and municipal solid waste into fuel.
“Basically we take that waste; we can produce heat and power at a lower cost than utilities. We started from the very beginning making everything as simple as possible,” said Proeschel.
He noted that all parts of the system could be manufactured at an automobile manufacturing facility and were “existing components assembled in a new manner.”
Proeschel said that he received word this week that the Department of Energy has reviewed his company’s concept paper and encouraged him to submit a full proposal for an $800,000 grant. If awarded the grant, the company would have some funding by September.
Proeschel said he would like to find investors for $530,000 to build, test, and demonstrate a small 12.5kWe (kilowatts electrical) proof of concept portable power plant.
Aundrey Markee, the entrepreneur behind TablePay of America Inc., introduced his first product, Card at Table Service (CATS).
“Did you know that nearly one half of all credit card theft in the United States today originates from the restaurant industry?” Markee asked the crowd. He noted that the reason behind this was that, in restaurants, credit cards often leave the customer’s line of sight for up to several minutes at a time.
“With our product, a server, at the end of the meal, will attach a wireless card reader to the standard check presenter and inform the customer that they can simply swipe their card right at the table,” said Markee. “After that, they can place that card right back into their wallet, purse, or pocket, never losing line of sight, never losing possession, and making for a safer experience.”
He added that the company will make money by marketing to resellers, end users, and in ancillary products and services. Markee’s hope for the evening was to find investors, resellers, and partners.
Mansfield’s first SunDown RunDown was held in February and met with enthusiastic community support, as did Wednesday’s event. Although SunDown RunDown events are held in cities across Ohio, Mansfield residents seem to be the most encouraging of entrepreneurial development via the SunDown RunDown forum, according to Bob Cohen, founder of the Mansfield SunDown RunDown chapter.
Cohen said one of the things he’d hoped to accomplish in establishing a SunDown RunDown chapter was to show people from outside the area that Mansfield was a viable place for them to look at from an investment, entrepreneurial, and community standpoint. Therefore, he noted, one slot has been unofficially set aside at each event for an entrepreneur from outside of Mansfield.
Markee was the out of town presenter for the evening, coming from Flint, Michigan.
“I’ve driven down about three hours to Mansfield, and the experience has been absolutely wonderful,” said Markee. “The Braintree group, the SunDown RunDown group, all the people here in the Mansfield area have been valuable assets I can’t put a price on or put into words. I look forward to coming down as often as possible, utilizing some of the resources that are here in the city, and hopefully develop a great partnership going forward.”
The next SunDown RunDown is scheduled for July 23 at the Old Bag of Nails Pub, 625 Lexington Avenue. Persons wishing to pitch at the event may check out the website or email