Winning is Good

We won the judges’ prize for the AFRL Commercialization Academy Fall 2017 cohort at the Demo Day pitch competition last night. I’m not going to feels great. The $15,000 prize money is certainly very much appreciated and will go a long way to getting our New York supply chain up and running. But actually having local leaders recognize what we are doing and that we are on the right path was just awesome.

Even before the competition, our demo table was mobbed and Ethan had his hands full fielding questions about the product and our mission (over and over and over). I spent much of that time practicing the pitch, so I really appreciated his willingness to man the booth solo.

Had we not won, it still would have been a great event for us (and not just because Copper City Brewing was providing the beer). We met lots of great people and got to tell our story (and demo our product) to the Mohawk Valley technology scene in a way we never have before. It was our first local show and the response was great. There is some follow-up to do, but I hope the contacts we made might help kickstart our efforts to get some pilot projects going in Utica-Rome.

Griffiss Institute Press Release

In addition to getting a crazy big foam check (that Ethan claims he is hanging on his Christmas tree), Jennifer at The Griffiss Institute wrote a really nice press release you can checkout. We are certainly hoping that some of the local press might pick it up or even consider a follow-up story. I very much appreciated that they included the bit about our interest in having local facilities managers reach out to us about our product.

There is a bit about the other teams, including the audience vote winner (Let’s Chat About It), in the press release as well. Everyone did a good job. I really hope they all benefit from the exposure and feedback they got at the event too. After the FuzeHub experience earlier this month, we certainly understand how disappointing it is to make it that far, put your heart and soul into a pitch, and not come away with a win. They were largely college startups in their early stages and they all seemed like they were moving ahead with their businesses regardless of the outcome. And that’s awesome for the entrepreneurial spirit in Upstate New York.

You Can Still Watch All of the Pitches

So , they actually streamed the event last night live via Periscope. The recording is still available at:

Our pitch starts at the 45 minute mark (45:00). The sound was pretty quiet, so you might need to turn it up to hear. The pitch felt good and we seemed to get a positive response from the audience as a whole, not just the judges. But I still won’t watch my own pitch, so I hope it translates to video. Also, you probably won’t be able to see what is on the slides, but since my PowerPoint design skills are not up to modern pitching standards (Inky’s Bookshelf had a beautiful deck), that isn’t a great loss.

This was a great way to finish out November. Now we push into December looking for sales before the end of the year. I will try to get a proper monthly update out early next week.

Thank you to Jennifer Sumner at The Griffiss Institute for providing the above photo (not to mention the press release). And thanks to the sponsors and, especially, Michele and the crew at Wasabi Ventures for helping us throughout the program.


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