Sticky Albums provides photographers with the ability to make custom share-able photo albums for a mobile device. When Nate from Sticky Albums pitched at 1 Million Cups St. Paul they were just about to launch Sticky Apps. Sticky Apps is a mobile friendly website platform that professional photographers sell to small businesses to better market their business. The huge plus is that the photographer can also supply the authentic professional photos that so many small business websites are in need of.
UW- River Falls: Startup contest could be start of something big
By Andy Rathbum
The University of Wisconsin-River Falls is looking to its students to come up with some big ideas.
The college recently held its first New Venture Competition, asking teams of students to create innovative business startups. The competition wrapped up in March, and the top two finishers are headed to the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament in Madison, where they will present their projects and try to win at the state level.
“This has opened my eyes up — it’s really exciting,” said An Trieu of St. Paul. She and partners Eric Wenz of Hudson and Andrew Lind of Bloomington won the competition with their creation of SoPOD, water-soluble packaging for personal care products.
The three took home a $1,000 cash prize to split and $3,000 for their business, which uses a polyvinyl alcohol film to encapsulate products such as shampoo and moisturizer — similar to the Tide Pods packaging used for laundry detergent. Trieu, who is majoring in chemistry, said she believes the product could find a market with hotels, backpackers and beyond.
I’ve seen over 55 startups give their pitch at 1 Million Cups St. Paul over the last year and there are a few things I have learned.
The presenters who are the most vulnerable get the most out of the experience and from the collective experience and knowledge of the audience.
Most founders don’t have everything. More often than not a startup founder needs a co-founder or a team that makes up for the expertise they lack.
Very few presenters talk about the “Why” or the purpose of their venture.
Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” TED Talk uses the Golden Circle to explain how most companies approach their business strategy. The Golden Circle is made up of three rings; starting from the outermost ring they are What, How and Why. Simon explains that most companies focus on the “What”. These are the things the business produces, the widgets. Focusing on the widgets often misses out on the human connection. We live in an era of products as an extension of ourselves. Our lives and technology are woven together and we use technology to inform our choices, tell us how we are doing and tell our community what we are up to. Even non-technology brands need to be conscious of connecting the human and not just fulfilling a market need. The “Share a Coke” campaign is an example of non-technology brand which focused on the emotional response of their consumers.
The takeaway for me is that startups giving their pitch need to make the human connection and have to know their “Why” if they want to flourish. According to Simon, the most successful brands have a strong sense of purpose that informs the how and the what.
Kudu Labs created a product called ShepherdBand. It takes the stress out of knowing people in your care are within a known distance and enables you and them to interact with one another unobtrusively. Kudu Labs is a Minnesota startup that wants to help solve the little problems people experience every day through the use of using technology, design and simplicity, and ShepherdBand is their first product to help achieve this goal. Theron Kotze from Kudu Labs presented at 1 Million Cups St. Paul on February 11, 2015.
Find out more about 1 Million Cups St. Paul and upcoming speakers here.
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