On Thursday, June 30, Milwaukee’s Young Enterprising Society (Y.E.S) presented the Summerfest Tech Pitch Competition, which was sponsored by Molson Coors Beverage Company. The event was held at Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN) ART + CULTURE HUB.
Winners vied for $50,000 of capital to fund their startup businesses. The grand prize winner won $25,00, the second-place winner won $10,000, and the third-place winner won $5,000. The remaining participants each received $2,500.
Contestants pitched their businesses to a panel of five judges who were able to ask the presenters questions at the end of their pitches.
Event emcees, radio personality Carrie Mahone and Jonah Turner, the Head of Emerging Technology at Molson Coors, announced the competition winners on the Summerfest grounds Thursday afternoon.
FIRST PLACE WINNER Kwema: St. Louis, MO
Co-founder and CEO Ali Al Jabary presented his bluetooth enabled, retractable badge holders that double as a safety device for healthcare workers. When activated, the badge silently notifies hospital security the exact location of the employee experiencing an emergency. In-home healthcare workers are also able to use the device; the user’s coordinates are sent directly to the police if the alert is activated.
Monthly subscriptions to use the badge holders are likely to be between $8 and $20 per device.
SECOND PLACE WINNER Fly Parrots: Seattle, WA
Co-founder and CEO, David Hojah introduced his company’s Artificial intelligence and machine learning-based SaaS platform, which is designed to provide affordable, accessible communication options for those whose physical disabilities do not allow them to speak.
The communication tool won the SXSW Pitch Contest in 2021 and their device has the approval of the Veterans Administration.
THIRD PLACE WINNER Rex Academy: Pewaukee, WI
The company provides online computer education curriculum and live teacher assistance for public and private K-12 schools. Presenter Chris Strzok told the audience the company has a 100% renewal rate for their courses, which are currently in over 60 schools.
Founded in 2015 by Sandhya Padala, the company is currently enrolled in the OnRamp Education + Workforce Accelerator. We spoke with Padala earlier this year about her company. Read the article here.
The following companies each received $2,500 in capital for participating in the content
Cirkled In: Bellevue, Washington
Founded in 2015 by Reetu Gupta, the company provides an online portfolio platform for students to track and present their pre-college accomplishments. Used as a college recruiting platform, the tool is designed to connect schools with potential students, reaching the digital natives where they spend most of their time- online.
The pitch was presented by Gen Z-er Kreedy Shubra,and Gupta later joined the presentation by telephone to answer questions from the contest judges. The company, which has already raised $900,000, is seeking $3 million in additional seed funding.
eCourt Reporters: Burlington, WI
Founded in 2017 by court reporter Karen Renee, the company created a legal support services platform to connect law offices with certified court reporters. The award-winning company currently has users in all fifty states.
We talked with Renee and company COO, Judy Gerulat, earlier in the year about their growing startup. Read the article here.
Huupe: United States
Whitefish Bay native and company co-founder, Paul Anton, presented Huupe’s smart basketball hoop. The Wi-Fi connected, weather-resistant electronic backboard allows players to shoot baskets with other users across the globe. Like the Peloton business model, Huupe users purchase the equipment, and then pay a monthly subscription fee to use the product.
The company has already raised $3 million from investors and interest from the NBA. Anton stated the company plans to move its headquarters to Milwaukee.
Light Pong: Chicago, IL
Billed as a “1D game,” Light Pong is a two-player electronic game that uses a simple handheld controller to play party games, like tug of war and ping pong. The company took to Kickstarter to raise money to develop the game, raising $147,469 from 1,472 backers.
Founder Aaqib Usman told the audience the company was looking to raise an additional $100,000 to manufacture and deliver pre-order Light Pong units before the close of 2022. Usman anticipates the product will have a manufacturer suggested retail price of $139.00.