Q+A: Tech Wildcatters Pitch Day Newbies Ready For the Stage

Meet the startups the Dallas-based accelerator will debut to the stage during its fall pitch day.

House of Blues

STARTUPS PREPARING FOR WEDNESDAY’S PITCH EVENT


Eleven startups will be featured during Tech Wildcatters Gauntlet Fall Pitch Day Wednesday at the House of Blues in Dallas.

Among those presenting will be familiar faces from the Dallas-based accelerator’s spring pitch event including Dycap Media SolutionsSelery FulfillmentTech EdVentures, and PRYZM. Startups debuting at Wednesday’s event include Tigli SolutionsFloor Show VRteleCalmCruiseBe IncFetchThe Stones Inc, and Help Bond Me

The startups new to the stage took a moment this week to discuss what led them to start their businesses and where they are in product development

Viktor Frantz

Viktor Frantz


Viktor Frantz, president of Tigli Solutions

Gauntlet program level: 3

Can you explain your product/business?

We provide an HR Business Intelligence SAAS solution to help organizations gain transparency into their internal environment to resolve insufficiencies and improve internal performances. 

What led you to start your business? 

A combined passion for technology, particularly intelligent systems, and solving enterprise problems.

What differentiates your business from others in your particular field?  

Our main differentiation with competitors start with the way we collect data. Instead of sourcing information from surveying employees, we use natural language processing technologies to extract meaningful data and patterns from electronic communication. This gives us a drastic advantage in terms of data reliability, periodicity, and continuity, as we process data in real-time. 

Where are you at in product development?

Our product is fully developed. We are currently finishing optimization touches in our automized onboarding process, which will be pushed over the course of next week. 

How much money have you raised? What round of funding are you in?

So far, we have reached that stage thanks to Tech Wildcatters financial support of $15,000. We will open a seed round in the foreseeable future.

What do you plan to use future investments for?

The seed round injection will be used to support our operational costs as well as marketing and sales expenses in a sincere growth orientation.

Is there anything else people should know about you and/or your business? 

Tigli is on a mission to change how decision-making processes are being executed in enterprise through integrating employee sentiment analysis. Organizations struggle to identify which of their internal measures work and which doesn’t, as well as where is money well spent and where it is not. It is this lack of efficiency that we are tackling by optimising information access to help implement change and better allocate resources.

Survey providers already have sold the benefit for companies to acquire this data. And while we entirely agree with their theory, in practice, surveys have proven to be limited in various ways, and executives know it. Due to the lack in response rate, lack of sincerity in answers, lack of currentness, or even the complexity of covering all the observable areas with limited questions; surveys have earned a place today where they are seen as a necessary waste of money.

Indeed organizations require internal HR information, but they are just not getting the right data. This is where Tigli comes into play. Through our integrated software suite, we present real-time insights around employee sentiment, and we highlight patterns suggesting direct changes to lead toward a happier and more productive workforce.

Jesse Mercer

Jesse Mercer


Jesse Mercer, CEO of Floor Show VR

Gauntlet program level: 3

Can you explain your product/business?

We are a virtual reality-based renovation and property showing company. We show you any renovations before anyone picks up a hammer, and show you as many properties as you like without leaving your couch.

What led you to start your business? 

My mom spent hours just looking at two color swatches in her hands. She was getting more and more irritated as she swapped back and forth while looking at the living room. I asked her why she was getting so mad. She then told me that she couldn’t pick between these two colors. “Its paint,” I said, “just re-paint if you hate it.” She then informed me that a re-paint would be a $15,000 job. Boom, a light went off.

What differentiates your business from others in your particular field?

At the moment, our competition is slim. Lowe’s Holoroom and most others use an Oculus Rift attached to a computer. We are all mobile- or desktop-based.

Where are you at in product development?

Currently, we are ready to go on the service side. Our DIY app is in alpha.

How much money have you raised? What round of funding are you in?

We have raised $15,000 so far.

What do you plan to use future investments for?

We plan on using investments for marketing, computers and software, and payroll.

Is there anything else people should know about you and/or your business? 

We are ready to blow everyone’s minds this Wednesday!

Tavis Schriefer

Tavis Schriefer


Tavis Schriefer, CEO and co-founder of teleCalm

Gauntlet program level: 3

Can you explain your product/business?

teleCalm is the first home phone service for families living with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive challenges. teleCalm’s SaaS model provides a caregiver-managed home phone service for their loved one’s use.

The caregiver uses our Caregiver app on their iOS or Android phone to identify trusted contacts, so these incoming/outgoing calls ring straight through to their loved one’s home phone. Calls from strangers go to the caregiver’s voice mail within the app, and the caregiver decides whether to add the stranger to contacts or move them to the block list. Calls from known bad guys are blocked right away.

The service has a host of other features designed to empower the caregiver and ultimately help their loved one stay connected with family and friends longer. These features include Quiet Hours to curb late night calls, notifications for specific callers, auto-correcting misdialed numbers, friendly caller-ID, and many other features available now and under development.

For the caregiver, our app provides live caller information and call history allowing them to be aware of their loved one’s usage and notifying them of any important safety concerns.

What led you to start your business?

I was fortunate to be my mom’s primary caregiver for five years, and learned quite a bit about the everyday challenges associated with early dementia. My mom loved talking on the phone with friends and family, but was having increasing difficulty with the features and functionality of her smartphone and cordless home phone. Plus, she was constantly harassed by telemarketers and scammers. She also kept buying products off as-seen-on-TV ads and repeatedly donated money to televangelists, which she couldn’t afford. As I learned that all of these issues were common for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, I started looking at what I could do to help solve this for her and others.

What differentiates your business from others in your particular field?

There are competitors in the broader senior market, but none of them focus on solving the specific issues for families living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia. Our goal is to help your loved one remain confident and safe in their phone usage so that they can stay connected and independent longer. All the while helping to reduce the related stress associated with this issue.

Where are you at in product development?

teleCalm launched its public beta two weeks ago, and is revenue generating at this time.

How much money have you raised? What round of funding are you in?

We have currently raised 20 percent of our seed round, and plan to raise the remainder by the end of this year.

What do you plan to use future investments for?

Investment will be used for U.S.-based software development, sales and marketing, and further intellectual property protection (both U.S. and foreign patents have already been applied for as well as a registered trademark).  

Is there anything else people should know about you and/or your business?

This is my second successful startup, I have seven patents in other consumer-related products and 13 years experience developing and commercializing those products. Our other co-founders have extensive experience in business development, software sales, client management, and sales in senior living organizations.

Maryna Shumaieva and Olexiy Shumayev

Maryna Shumaieva and Olexiy Shumayev


Olexiy Shumayev, CEO and co-founder
and 
Maryna Shumaieva, chief technology officer and co-founder of CruiseBe Inc

Gauntlet program level: 3

Can you explain your product/business?

CruiseBe.com is unified travel platform and mobile app that help travelers to plan their vacation and explore all cruise components on the one web-site.

What led you to start your business? 

We are experienced travelers. We have visited several cruises and one-fifth of the world. So we have seen the problems that tourists face first hand.

What differentiates your business from others in your particular field?  

While most of the companies are just selling cruise deals, CruiseBe helps to plan not only itinerary, but onboard and onshore leisure.

Where are you at in product development?

We plan to have A-release after pitch day on Wednesday.

How much money have you raised? What round of funding are you in?

We have raised $15,000 form Tech Wildcatters and we have also invested our own funds. We opened a seed round.

What do you plan to use future investments for?

We plan to use funds for marketing, mobile development, and new product implementation.

Is there anything else people should know about you and/or your business? 

We have launched, it’s free now and we’d like to hear your feedback.

Michael Patton

Michael Patton


Michael Patton, CEO of Fetch

Gauntlet program level: 3

Can you explain your product/business?

Fetch outsources package management and provides on-demand delivery to residential buildings. Properties are being inundated with packages, mostly due to Amazon Prime, and we provide a long-term solution. We divert all packages to our warehouse and coordinate door-to-door delivery through our tech platform.

What led you to start your business? 

I live in a big apartment building in Uptown, and witnessed the problem first-hand. I did some research and was surprised to find no real solutions to the problem, so I went about finding one myself.

What differentiates your business from others in your particular field?  

We are the first solution like this to market for the multifamily industry. Package lockers have gained traction recently, but we believe they are just a temporary fix to the problem. As e-commerce continues to grow rapidly, we’ll be able to accommodate any volume of packages in the future.

Where are you at in product development?

Our platform is ready to accept users (and packages) and we’re now launching in Dallas.

How much money have you raised? What round of funding are you in?

We raised a small friends and family round in addition to the investment from Tech Wildcatters.  

What do you plan to use future investments for?

We’re opening up our seed round in conjunction with Pitch Day to fund rapid growth in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We plan to use this investment for hiring, infrastructure, and additional technology development.

Is there anything else people should know about you and/or your business? 

We’d ask anyone who lives in an apartment and wants on-demand package delivery to tell their building manager about Fetch.

Julian Eduardo Marchiaro

Julian Eduardo Marchiaro


Julian Eduardo Marchiaro, CEO of The Stones Inc.

Gauntlet program level: 3

Can you explain your product/business?

My team has developed the first digital marketplace for the [natural stone] sector. We designed it to provide companies a channel to grow their business and allow them to focus on its core while leading consumers to them. The platform does not just connect buyers and sellers, but bridges the gap between them. We provide assistance every step of the way: from the quarry to the construction site. 

What led you to start your business? 

My family has been in the industry for as long as I can remember. As a kid I spent endless hours in the factory, I learned how to drive in a quarry and closed my first deal at 16. I always wanted to be more than a salesman or one of many quarriers, I wanted to lead the industry. 

What differentiates your business from others in your particular field?  

We are leading innovation in the industry from the inside. With the help of our partners and our expertise, our goal is to aggregate the sector and ease access to materials keeping in mind the needs of both sides of the market. 

Where are you at in product development?

We recently launched the platform we worked so hard for. Our team will be onboarding companies at the largest natural stone trade-show in Italy beginning Sept. 28-Oct. 1. We will be working closely with our affiliate producers to upload and list their materials and also presenting at SAIE International Building Exhibition in Bologna, Italy Oct. 19-22. 

How much money have you raised? What round of funding are you in?

We are working on our seed round and are looking to close it shortly. We have received our first investments from Tech Wildcatters and already have committed funds. 

What do you plan to use future investments for?

The raised funds will be allocated for the further development of our technology and the development of our brand and network.

Help Bond Me

Ben McFarlin


Ben McFarlin, CEO of Help Bond Me

Gauntlet program level: 3

Can you explain your product/business?

Crowdfund the bail. That’s our tagline, but we’re so much more than that. We address the workflow issues of raising bail. We’ve taken the latest technology and applied it to an industry that really needs it. The end result is increased efficiency, lowered operating costs, and fewer people waiting in jail because they can’t raise bail.

What led you to start your business?

I saw the problems that many people have with raising bail money.  It can be quite a challenge when there is more than one person needed to raise the total amount. The process becomes even more challenging when those people are out of state. 

What differentiates your business from others in your particular field?

Help Bond Me is unlike any other company in the industry. We were born from the needs of the community. We serve those needs by providing technical solutions to local government.

Where are you at in product development?

We’ve developed our detention center kiosk and our responsive website. With our kiosk, a detainee can notify up to 300 people in just in just a few minutes. Each notification is private and directs the recipient to our website where they can help crowdfund bail.

How much money have you raised? What round of funding are you in?

We have raised $30,000 from Tech Wildcatters and are preparing to raise a seed round.

What do you plan to use future investments for?

It is our vision to become the de facto standard for raising bail nationwide. We will purchase more equipment (kiosks), hire additional staff, and increase our marketing efforts.

Is there anything else people should know about you and/or your business?

Yes. If a friend is in jail, you must crowdfund the bail!


IF YOU GO

Tech Wildcatters Gauntlet Fall Pitch Day

When: Doors open at 1:30 p.m. and pitches begin at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday

Where: House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., in Dallas

More Info: techwildcatters.com

READ MORE

Q+A: Tech Wildcatters Pitch Day Veterans Give Biz Status Reports

Q+A: Tech Wildcatters Startups Share Business Stories

Tech Wildcatters’ First ‘Gauntlet’ Group Reaches Pitch Day Milestone


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