2017 Veterans Business Battle Finalists
Ads for the Road, Austin, Texas
Ads For The Road is bringing outdoor advertising into the digital age. The company uses custom technology that allows advertisers to update and customize its content along with giving advertisers the analytics that has contributed to online advertising’s growth. Ads For The Road has the ability to track impressions, capture follow through, and provide direct customer engagement. The goal is to make outdoor advertising as effective as online advertising. The company is seeking $500,000 in funding. Founder Justin Gilfis is a U.S. Army veteran.
AirZaar St Louis, Missouri
AirZaar is an industrial software company providing drone image processing & data analytics for mining, construction & infrastructure clients relying on data acquired by drone to make actionable decisions. AirZaar optimizes industrial operations by disrupting accuracy levels of drone data reporting. AirZaar’s turnkey solution maximizes drone services ROI for the operators and enterprise customers enabling growth, revenue generation and cost reduction measures. The company is in middle of raising $500,000 of funding with $325,000 committed. Ali Ahmadi is a U.S. Navy veteran.
American Oil Changers, McDonough, Georgia
American Oil Changers is a mobile lube and minor repair company who helps busy car owners solve the problem of routine car maintenance. This Georgia-based, woman-owned company serves customers in McDonough, Georgia by sending courteous lube technicians directly to their home or office. The company plans to expand by hiring additional technicians and marketing its services online. The company seeks $50,000 of funding. Owner Beulah Renee Floyd is an Army veteran.
Anjin Houston, Texas
Anjin is a travel technology company that provides business travelers with an easy and cost effective means of booking secure transportation in medium and high risk locations. Its booking and fleet management software allows travelers to order and integrate secure ground transportation into a single travel itinerary. Its service is cheaper and more convenient than anything else on the market. CO-owner Dave Jackson is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
The Chicken Fountain, Statesville, North Carolina
The Chicken Fountain founders developed a clean, semi-sealed watering system for chickens, quail and other small animals. This system makes supplying a backyard chicken flock with water as simple as attaching the fountain to a watering hose. Company founders realized that existing products on the market were complicated, didn’t protect chicks against common diseases due to unclean water and didn’t protect against freezing temperatures. They developed a patented system that solves these problems. The company is seeking an unspecified investment to streamline manufacturing. Co-Owner Mark Kleinhenz is a U.S. Navy veteran.
Cooking Innovations, Houston, Texas
Owner Jason Roben has invented and patented a cooking pan that takes traditional cookware and added a removable divider that allows people to cook multiple foods simultaneously. This concept applies to all pots and pan styles with a single lid that detaches into a new dual lid system. For the first time, competitive chefs or beginners can prepare multiple dishes in half the time with half the cleanup. This cookware reinvents the traditional design with a more modern and competitive approach. Roben is a Marine Corps infantry veteran who served in Fallujah, Iraq and is currently a petroleum engineering student at the University of Houston.
Cystic Fibrosis Continuity of Care, Orlando, Florida
Cystic Fibrosis Continuity of Care is a specialty nursing consulting firm that helps improve clinical and business processes for patients living with chronic respiratory diseases. Led by U.S. Army veteran and registered nurse Tamika Grubbs, the company helps organizations meet complex regulations while improving operations to meet patients’ needs. The company is seeking approximately $185,000 of funding.
Farm Force, Houston, Texas
Texas will lose the majority of its farmers to retirement in the next few decades. Farm Force wants to prepare a new veteran work force to replace those retiring with innovative methods learned in a state-of-the art environment in downtown Houston. Farm Force has purchased the former Comet Rice Mill in downtown Houston with plans to develop it into a commercial scale aeroponic vertical farming operation. Once developed, the company plans to use the facility to train veterans to be successful commercial farmers. Company owners have developed relationships with Texas A&M University and Prairie View A&M University agribility programs as well as Farmers Veterans Coalition. Founder Brandon Reeves is a Texas National Guard veteran.
Funnel Science, Plano, Texas
Funnel Science is an online marking firm that tests business’ websites to help them identify the biggest bottlenecks in their current sales funnel. The company analyzes the decision-making process customers undergo while deciding whether to purchase products and optimize websites for maximum sales. The company has developed priority software with predictive sales and marketing algorithms. The software has completed beta testing and is being used in hundreds of business locations across the country. The company is seeking a $250,000 investment. Founder Alex Fender is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
LabReady, Houston, Texas
LabReady takes the clinical lab to the patient, making the diagnosis of infection faster, simpler, easier, less expensive, and more accurate. The game-changing device is a “first in the world” hand-held, portable, disposable, collector and incubator that strips out the inefficient time lapse between sample collection and culture. It incubates the sample so that when it arrives in the laboratory it is ready for identification of the infection. This innovative solution reimagines a world where infection is diagnosed and treated anywhere, anytime, and in the process lives are saved and costs are reduced. The company has already raised $1.7 million for funding the design and manufacturing phase and is now raising $5 million. Founder Leonard Weisman is a U.S. Army veteran.
MedNoxa is an early stage consumer wound care startup commercializing an affordable, over-the-counter, oxygen generation and delivery bandage to promote the healing of acute and chronic wounds. Globally, a leg is lost to diabetes every 30 seconds. Treating diabetic wounds early and effectively can lead to healing and an ever-growing body of research supports the efficacy of topical oxygen. MedNoxa’s solution is based on a technology licensed from Purdue Research Foundation for a flexible wound dressing that generates oxygen from hydrogen peroxide and provides controllable, accurate delivery of oxygen to wounds to stimulate and promote tissue growth. The company is raising $500,000 of funding. Owner Eric Frey is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
GH Mobile Spring, Texas
GH Mobil brings auto repairs to the customer's vehicle location for quick, convenient and reliable automotive repairs. Customers spend less on auto repairs because overhead costs are lower than repair shops, avoid costly towing fees and time spent in a mechanic's waiting room. The company aims to gain a national presence by offering mechanics the ability to own service teams in cities across the United States. Owner Rafael Iglesias is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
Shield International, Wolchester, CT
Shield International provides businesses, schools and hospitals with a cost-effective and highly interactive training course to prepare for and defend themselves against active shooters. Currently, schools, hospitals and businesses hire security experts to prepare personnel for the chance of an active shooter at their facilities. Through its online virtual simulation and online classroom, these institutions can be trained by expert military veterans on the best defense should a situation arise. Owner Dean Wojcik is a U.S. Navy veteran.
True Made Foods, Alexandria, Virginia
True Made Foods makes American food healthy. Starting with America's favorite sauces - ketchup, BBQ sauce and sriracha hot sauce - True Made Foods removed the corn syrup and sugar and substituted real vegetables like spinach, carrots and butternut squash. The vegetables naturally sweeten the sauces, creating a delicious, healthy alternative and turning these once empty-calorie sauces into nutrient dense, paleo super foods. True Made Foods’ products can be found in retailers like HEB, meal delivery services like Blue Apron and is seeking to expand. Founder Abraham Kamarck is a U.S. Navy veteran.
Veterans Manufacturing, Katy, Texas
Veterans Manufacturing makes body armor, vehicle shields, clothing and other ballistic systems. Founded in August 2016, the company supplies all body armor to Katy, Texas police and are in negotiations with other area police departments and federal agencies. The company is in negotiations for international sales and military sales, but needs to establish a larger manufacturing facility for the company to grow. Owner Billy Gibbons is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
2016 Veterans Business Battle Finalists
Air Armor Tech, Burleson, Texas
Air Armor manufactures and sells a patent-pending inflatable system to protect just about any sensitive, critical item in any environment. With the use of air, Air Armor Tech’s products are able to conform to even irregularly shaped items and protect like nothing else on the market. The products, which include cases to protect firearms, helmets, and camera gear, are lightweight and capable of being deflated, collapsed and stored in about 10 percent of the protective size when not in use. The products utilize a tough urethane coated denier bladder surrounded by a "ballistic" nylon protective outer shell. In use, the conformal protection is world class and lightweight; when not used it is collapsible and compact. The products are American made, mil-spec and offer creative, effective solutions for military, law enforcement and civilian challenges. The company is seeking $250,000 of funding. Owner and President Blaine Tompkins is a U.S. Navy veteran.
Biao Skincare, Houston, Texas
Biao Skincare is a revolutionary indie cosmetic brand that does not just make skincare products that target premature aging, wrinkles, and sun exposure. Biao targets the core problem, which is environmental factors that lead to premature aging, wrinkles and even cancer. Founded by disabled Veteran Nicole Baldwin while deployed to Afghanistan, Nicole saw the opportunity to create Biao Skincare after realizing limited products targeting environmental aging. A socially responsible company, the ingredients are certified by the natural product association, never tested on animals and proceeds currently empower Veteran women with PTSD through its affiliated non-profit, IThrive. Nicole Baldwin is a U.S. Army Veteran who has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Nicole served 13 years as logistical support for Army Civil Affairs Units providing humanitarian aid and support during war operations. Nicole has three Army Commendation Medals, Army Achievement Medals and also an Army Combat Action Badge. Biao is seeking funding of $100,000 to invest into the company for product development, marketing and advertisement.
Campus Doorman, Boston, MA
Campus Doorman, piloted at Harvard Business School, offers students a year round concierge service using data mining and economies of scale. A membership to Campus Doorman, currently $30, gives the customer a personal doorman that answers any school-specific questions. In addition to answering questions, the doorman draws upon a proprietary database to identify the most common problems that students will face in the upcoming year and offers to solve them for an additional fee, such as applying for out-of-state ID cards, move-in assistance, textbook reselling and more. Campus Doorman was a winner at the Harvard College Venture Works and the Harvard Business School VIP Incubator. The company is seeking a $50,000 to $100,000 investment. Owner Pete Rispoli is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and student at Harvard Business School.
Cell Systems 3D, Kemah, TX
Cell Systems 3-D is a research/ development company that aims to supply the pharmaceutical industry with 3-D living cell living/cell tissue models for testing purposes. Currently, 25 percent of discovery drugs are rejected during the first phase of testing when toxicity is measured. Cell Systems 3-D provides a product that can greatly reduce those costs by bioengineering three-dimensional specific living cell/tissue organoid-like models mimicking native tissue. By providing this, the response to the test drug can be measured in a controlled environment. In some cases, Cell Systems 3-D can provide relevant models within 180 days and quantitative results within 30 days. The company is seeking a $500,000 investment. Owner Miguel T. Suderman is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
N2CVT /Connected Vehicle Technology, Gainesville, FL
Vehicles these days are networked computers driving around on wheels, making them more susceptible to cyber-attacks, data and privacy breaches. N2CVT aims to address these concerns through training programs on automotive cyber-security. Consumers will learn best practices for keeping vehicle computers secure. Automotive technicians will learn connected vehicle technology, with a certification option. Veterans will receive professional training in automotive cyber-security. The company is seeking $25,000 to $40,000 of investment. Owner Daniel Allen is a U.S. Army veteran.
Counterstrike Coffee, Cypress, TX
Counterstrike Coffee is an American roasted coffee that is both organic and ground-friendly to the environment. Its vacuum-sealed artesian roasted coffee, available in whole beans and ground, support veteran-affiliated charities. The company started out with $1,000 of owner Brandon “Doc” Buttrey’s money and has remained debt-free while growing to sales of $36,000. The company is seeking up to $200,000 of funding. Buttrey is a U.S. Navy veteran.
FishViews, Wimberly, TX
FishViews creates data-rich, 3D panoramic tours of waterways. A distant cousin to Google Streetview, FishVieww tours deliver eye-popping image quality and a proprietary user-interface that is optimized for water sports, conservation, industry and science. With its own vessels, proprietary cameras, and other instruments, the company collects high-resolution aquatic imagery and data, creates the tours using unique processes, and delivers waterway exploration to desktop, mobile and virtual devices. FishViews’ interactive toolkit allows feature tagging within images, rapid navigation of waterways, image and data upload, integrated graphing, and network collaboration - all within the tours themselves. Future features will enable measurements, downloads and offline (no wi-fi/cell signal) access. More than just Street View for rivers, FishViews are immersive tours that connect people to waterways. The company is seeking $400,000 of investment. Owner Scott Gallagher is a U.S. Navy veteran.
FEMTAC, Alabaster, AL
FEMTAC is a designer and manufacturer of tactical apparel and equipment for women, offering fit, function and innovation across a well-rounded product mix. FEMTAC provides women the designs and quality they have been seeking to improve their safety, performance, and appearance. FEMTAC was created when its founders, one employed with the military and one in federal law enforcement, recognized the absence of a one-stop shop for women’s tactical apparel and equipment. FEMTAC also meets the need and desire for apparel and equipment that have greater functionality and are diverse, attractive, and mission-tailored. The company is seeking $400,000 of investment. CEO Leah Olszewski is a U.S. Army veteran.
Hive Maritime, Charlestown, MA
The maritime shipping industry carries more than 90% of world trade across 80,000 vessels, yet high operating costs and low revenue means that companies must increase their bottom line to stay alive. Most do not have access to essential modern analytical tools. By forecasting global shipping patterns, Hive Maritime provides data-driven insights to aide voyage planning and route optimization, a $20 Billion untapped market, launching one of the oldest and largest industries into the 21st Century. Co-founders include Brian Kirk, a U.S. Navy veteran, Christopher Mannion, a U.S. Royal Navy veteran, and Samuel Perlik, an active-duty U.S. Army infantry officer.
KL Morrow's P&S LLC, Sugarland, TX
The Smoked Turkey Leg Case is a product invented by Kennedy L. Morrow Sr. designed to provide consumers of smoked, fried or grilled turkey legs a safe and sanitized way to store and consume them. Morrow, a U.S. Army veteran, invented a case for turkey legs that prevents consumers from exposing their hands to the heat of a freshly cooked turkey leg and keeps juices and grease from spilling. There are over 3.1 million turkey legs consumed each year in the United States and between 2000 and 2015, the number of turkey legs consumed as increased at over twice the rate of the population. The patented design is contracted for local manufacturing. The company is seeking $250,000 of investment.
Mobilization Capital, Atlanta, GA
Mobilization Capital provides the initial funding for government contractors to begin performance on their government contracts. Typically, government contractors must absorb expenses for 2 to 3 months before being paid by the government at the beginning of their contract. Often, small business contractors cannot afford this and struggle heavily. With Mobilization Capital, contractors must simply win a valid federal government contract and we will fund their initial "mobilization expenses" pre-invoicing cutting out loan factoring companies and banks which take excessive amounts of time to approve loans and have other restrictive factors. The company charges a "success fee" that yields an above average return for funds loaned. We have funded several successful loans already. The company is seeking between $250,000 and $1 million. Owner Samir T. Patel is a U.S. Army veteran.
Serious Simulations Orlando, FL
Serious Simulations will succeed as the leader in the new and growing sector of full immersion, virtual reality based individual training simulation. Our team's unique talents have developed and patented the world's best virtual reality technologies for improving simulation experiences, and combined these with commercial-off-the-shelf technologies to provide professional trainers with products that solve their training needs at cost effective levels. Our dedication to complete immersive realism sets us apart from other companies, and serves our military, law enforcement, sports, and industrial customers well. Serious Simulation’s technologies include a patented wireless virtual realtiy processor that is the newest and world's fastest, a display that is the current world's only dual screen wireless high resolution virtual realtiy display, a zero drift machine gun tracking system, and a patented data sensing weapon skin. All of components have applicability to upgrade legacy military simulation systems or be sold as entertainment related virtual reality components. The company is seeking $500,000 of funding. Owner Christopher Chambers is a retired U.S. Army Infantry Officer.
SolarShield Paint, Austin, TX
Solar Shield, a product line of PrimeBilec Investments LLC., manufactures an energy-efficient paint that reduces waste, reduces the carbon footprint, and saves energy costs by up to 30 percent. The company has licensed a patent from NASA using phase change materials (PCM). Its SolarShield Energy Saver (SSES) paint contains proprietary amounts of phase change materials which absorb and release heat without altering its volume in response to changes in environmental temperatures. SSES is applied to roofs, exterior/interior walls, and attic space and is available in any color upon request. The company is seeking $150,000 in debt for our initial seed money. Owner Christopher Bilec is a U.S. Army veteran.
SynShark, Wilmington, DE
Squalene, a produce used in cosmetics and as an adjuvant for vaccines, is naturally derived from shark liver oil. SynShark is developing a synthetic squalene derived from tobacco through a $5 million U.S. government research grant to Texas A&M. The result of SynShark’s research is a pure product squalene, which is normally sourced through the exploitation of millions of deep-sea sharks each year for their livers; an unnecessary biological disaster. All of the company’s production is being done in American tobacco fields where this resource is pressured to find alternative markets. SynShark will define the next generation of renewable specialty chemicals through a novel direct photosynthetic route and an innovative business model. The company’s international intellectual property footprint is creating the early stage biotech investment of our time. The company is seeking a $500,000 investment. Owner Jason Ornstein is a U.S. Army veteran.
Tasklight, San Francisco, CA
Data is the key to good decision making, but for sales organizations, collecting data from sales reps has always been difficult. Tasklight, Inc. is a sales tool that collects better data from sales reps and produces analytics on sales process bottlenecks. Data from sales reps is collected in real time using mobile devices, and in a way that delivers immediate value to the rep. Tasklight makes complex deal management "as easy as calling an Uber.” The founders of Tasklight led sales at MobileIron, Inc through its 2014 IPO and experienced the challenges associated with scaling large sales organizations. The company is seeking a $250,000 investment. Owner Rajiv Srinivasan is a West Point graduate, U.S. Army veteran who received the Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge.
Triple D Motorcycles, Daytona Beach, FL
Triple D Motorcycles is a custom motorcycle shop that builds bikes for disabled veterans. It also built the National AMVETS motorcycle along with helping Wyotech with their medically retired veterans and their schooling. Owner Doug Meeker founded the business after being medically retired from the U.S. Army with a Purple Heart and several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is seeking an unspecified investment to expand his shop.
Weather General, College Station, TX
Weather General is leading the charge to deliver the most accurate, reliable, and relevant weather services that empower customers with a "Command Your Forecast" experience via a revolutionary mobile app, premium web page, and dedicated personal assistance. Targeting businesses, professional hunters, collegiate sports and other customers highly dependent on accurate weather data and predictions, owner Neil "Doc" Sanger developed a weather forecasting service that meets their needs for accurate, custom predictions. Instead of basing a forecast off of a single model, The Weather General leverages 63 unique models to generate the most precise and customized weather information that empowers our customers to make the most optimum planning decisions that will save them money, increase efficiency, and minimize risks. The company is seeking a $200,000 investment. Sanger is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force with 22 years of experience as a weather officer and holds a Ph.D. in meteorology.
2015 Veterans Business Battle Finalists
AAA Energy Audits, Houston, TX
AAA Energy Audits provides home builders, buyers, and residents with audits to determine a home's energy efficiency through diagnostic tests and measurements. Customers hire the company to assist with weatherization plans, reduce energy bills, or to estimate needed energy upgrades prior to purchase. The services provided include checking HVAC systems, monitoring for signs of mold, evaluating insulation, and checking for air leaks. Owner Anthony Mackey is a veteran of the U.S. Army. As a former mortgage loan officer, he saw the market need for the service and, when laid off from a job in the chemical industry years later, decided to train as a home energy rater because he saw market potential.
Bagups, Basking Ridge, NJ
Bagups owns, produces and sells a patented trashbag popup system that dispenses the next trash bag as the full one is removed from the garbage bin. The biodegradable plastic bags are made in the United States by veterans and people with disabilities. They are currently sold through US Foods and online, but the company seeks to expand to major online retailers such as Amazon and retail stores such as home improvement stores and retail chains. Bagups are competitively priced to similar trash bags and less expensive than any other biodegradable trash bag. The company aims to increase sales to $2.8 million in the 18 to 24 months following financing. Owner Jack Licata is a U.S. Air Force veteran.
Candy Lab, Sunnyvale, CA
Candy Lab produces a mobile platform, Candy Bar, which integrates rich media content with location-based advertisements on mobile secureices. The platform gives marketers an opportunity to reach customers near them with location-based ads. Customers use the applications to interact virtually with the real world through games that target people in a geographical area. The custom applications the company has secureeloped include one made for the City of St. Louis honoring the city’s 250th birthday with a city history game application that encourages users to collect points while highlighting advertisements to local businesses. Owner Andrew Couch is a U.S. Army Veteran.
Dog Tag Brewing, Belgrade, MT
Dog Tag Brewing manufactures craft beers, with each container telling the story of a fallen military hero. A portion of proceeds benefit charities selected by the families of those killed in action. Market research indicates that craft beer is a fast-growing market, with an anticipated 15 percent market share in the next five years. In the company’s first six months of operation, production increased 400 percent, with established distribution channels in grocery stores, liquor stores, and national chains including Walgreens and Applebees. Owner Seth Jordan is a Marine Corps veteran.
Hire Our Hero, Alice, Tx – Crowdfunding winner
HireOurHero.com is an online market place for home improvement and service companies owned by veterans and first responders to connect with everyday consumers. These roofers, painters, handymen, remodeling companies, cleaning services and other service businesses would be placed in a searchable database grouped by city to help consumers find trusted providers. The company plans to launch and expand market share in San Antonio and eventually spread to other major Texas cities and other metropolitan areas. Owner Brandon Bunch is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a firefighter in Austin, Tx. Hire Our Hero raised close to $3,000 during the crowdfunding phase of the Veterans Business Battle.
Invicta, Manhattan Beach, CA
American Girl dolls are a $600 million brand across the country, but there is little relevant counterpart for young boys between the ages of 8 to 12. With the introduction of INVICTA Challenge, young boys will have a toy of their own that teaches them both about the military and history, but also about leadership and values. INVICTA Challenge combines comic books, games and toys to create leadership stories for young boys. In addition to 4” tall action figures, each military hero will feature a comic book-style story about them and highly visual packets of maps, mission details and files from true historic military operations, Owner James Murphy is a Marine Corps veteran.
Jodycakes, Houston, Tx
Jodycakes is an existing bakery in the Montrose area of Houston that bakes and sells desserts customized for dietary restrictions, including gluten-free, organic and vegan desserts. Owner Jody Stevens started a bakery in Los Angeles in 2006 and relocated to Houston in 2008. She realized a market potential among Houston’s large Hindu population because of their religious dietary custom of eating only egg-free desserts, she marketed her products to this community as well. Stevens has been nominated as Pastry Chef of the Year in 2012, 2013 and 2014 by My Table Magazine and was selected to secureelop recipes for the Sugar in the Raw brand. Stevens is a U.S. Air Force veteran.
Mansalt, Houston, Tx
Mansalt is a muscle soak for active men currently sold online and seeking to expand. Owner Austin Hill, an Army veteran, started the company after he noticed a void in the marketplace. After initial online sales weren’t successful, he tried to sell his excess product on Amazon and move on. Instead, sales skyrocketed and reviews of his product on Amazon made him a clear market leader. He has since expanded his product line with additional scents and a line of women’s products. The company seeks unspecified capital to help get the product into retail stores, as well as assist with marketing and advertising.
Mobile C Arm, Kingwood, Tx
Mobile C Arm provides turnkey mobile fluoroscopy rental for ambulatory surgery centers, small hospitals, physician's offices and lab training seminars. Founder Carlos Castro, a U.S. Marine veteran, launched the business in 2009 from his home. It has since grown to six full-time employees, 15 contract employees and serves more than 35 customers. The company's service includes the c-arm unit, a traveling radiology technologist and all of the needed regulatory licensing and documentation to provide service within a 24 hour notice.
Neptune Diagnostics, Irvine, CA
Neptune Diagnostics was created to commercialize a technology secureeloped by the University of California at Irvine that helps wastewater treatment plants prevent hazardous water quality problems. The product, B&F Alert, is a molecular testing kit that can easily alert wastewater treatment plants about water quality levels and potential bulking and foaming events. These events are caused by bacteria overgrowth that prevent solids from settling and can cause discharge, fines and public health concerns. Neptune Diagnostics envisions revenue streams by selling machinery, testing kits, and training for personnel at the 16,000 wastewater treatment plants in the United States, with eventual expansion in Europe and Asia.. Owner Joseph Nadolski served 20 years in the U.S. Army in the infantry and as a military intelligence officer.
Ranch Road Boots, Quantico, VA
Ranch Road Boots is a custom line of western boots modeled after owner Sarah Ford's grandfather's boots. In addition to making custom ordered boots, the company started secureelopment of a ready-to-wear line in January 2014. The company pre-sold 51 of 145 pairs of boots within a month through the online crowdfunding site Kickstarter. Company market research indicates that the United States as a luxury boot market of approximately $133 million. Luxury boots retail for between $500 and $700 per pair. Ford is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
Savanna, Boston, MA
Savanna secureeloped a mobile application that matches barbers with clients, using demand-based pricing, peer reviews from existing social networks and location services. During a 6-week trial in Boston, barbers went to client’s homes and businesses to cut their hair, saving the customers the hassle of waiting in long lines at barber shops during peak hours. By the end of the trial period, new, unsolicited clients were asking for the service and customers were returning. Under the funding model Savanna secureeloped, 80 percent of proceeds go to the barbers who register for the service and the company keeps 20 percent. Owner Ahron Oddman, a Harvard Business School MBA student, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a U.S. Marine reserve officer.
Sockwork, Austin, TX
Sockwork is a subscription eCommerce platform that specializes in socks and men’s underwear. The company provides 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month subscription options. The traditional subscription service sends two pairs of socks per month, allowing customers to customize their order based on style preferences. They have expanded to include a men’s boxer brief service and now offer men’s athletic socks. Each subscription is sold monthly or the customer can pay upfront for longer periods. In December, the company had 390 customers and are forecasting to have more than 500 customers by March. Owner Mario Barrett is a U.S. Army Veteran.
Toof-inger Brush, Cary, NC
Toof-inger produces an innovative toothbrush design with a handle that corrects overbrushing. Owner Steven Walther got the idea for the product while teaching Afghan villagers how to care for their teeth. There he learned that people are prone to scrubbing instead of gently brushing their teeth, which can damage teeth. Feedback from dentists at trade events and publications has been positive. In the last year, 26,000 units have been sold both at industry events and through Sephora retail stores. Walther is a U.S. Army veteran.
Trumbull Unmanned, Houston, TX
This start-up company integrates unmanned aircraft systems (drones) into the oil & gas industry to increase safety and operational efficiency. The majority of unmanned aircraft system experience stems from military training. Company founders met at the U.S. Air Force Academy. During its 13 months of operations and with no formal marketing plan, the company has been approached by 5 of the 6 major international oil companies. Trumbull’s expertise and experience, along with a pending approval from the FAA, gives them a leg up on their competitors. Owner Dyan Gibbens is a U.S. Air Force veteran.
2015 Finalist Testimonial: Austin Hill - ManSalt