HATCH Event Showcases Local Entrepreneurs
The former Hudson’s building was bursting with innovative entrepreneurs, thanks to a HATCH event presented by BrightStar Wisconsin, WEDC, and sponsored by Marshfield Young Professionals, Ignite, Current, NEWaukee, and McDevco.
Similar to the popular show “Shark Tank,” five entrepreneurs presented their business ideas to a full crowd with the goal of winning a $2,000 prize and chance to present at a finale event in November (where the grand prize is $10,000).
Judges were Brenda Dillenburg (Dean,MSTC), Mark Nelson (CEO, Microscopy Innovations LLC), Michael Agarwal (CIO, Prevention Genetics), David Meissner (retired business owner), Karen Olson (Business Development Director, MACCI), and Todd Sobotka (Managing Director, BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation). Audience members also participated in a “people’s choice” vote.
Up first was Paul Lemley of HiveCast, a crowdsourcing platform for live video. Lemley’s platform would allow anyone with video capabilities on their phone to contribute to a live streaming platform and make money doing so.
“In five years, we’d like to broadcast the world,” said Lemley. “Our goal is to be storytellers.”
Next was Jeremy Solin of Tapped. Dedicated to making maple syrup using sustainable practices in the forests of northern WI, his family has long been involved in living off the land and developing their craft. (To understand his business, think craft beer meets maple syrup.)
“This stuff? Not maple syrup,” he said holding up a generic bottle of amber goo. “My stuff is maple syrup, all natural, made by trees. I love it. I’m addicted to it. Maple syrup runs through my blood.”
With consumers shifting toward local and sustainable over heavily processed products, Solin’s infused maple syrups are currently sold to individuals and high end food markets. With local success and an engaging story, Solin hopes to expand into a regional market and continue to innovate with new flavors.
Chad Henneberry, athletic trainer at UW-Milwaukee, pitching his HydraCore Vest, was up next. A new version of a weighted vest for fitness and orthopedic rehabilitation, the vest is part of functional fitness, which is currently the fastest growing fitness industry.
With 2/3 of adults in the U.S. being overweight, and with 1/3 of those obese, the number one cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease. Henneberry hopes his invention can help tackle that problem.
“It’s a crossover between the fitness industry and orthopedic rehab,” said Henneberry. “It’s in a vest form, so it’s hands-free.”
Henneberry has filed a patent for his five-pound vest and hopes to develop more prototypes, as well as conduct studies, and then market. Developing related products, such as a weighted hat for neck strength building, is also a goal.
Next up was Art Studio On The Go, presented by Carolyn Corcoran.
A contained mobile unit offering a place to create no matter where a person might be, the art studio on the go would provide all the materials without the participant having to deal with cleanup.
Envisioned as being on a transformed school bus, the unit would travel to homes, churches, businesses, home schools, rural places, or anywhere someone wants to try their creativity. She would also provide art therapy opportunities and art parties.
“Ultimately I see the parties as the revenues,” she said. “I would love to go to those events where other businesses gather, to get exposure. I want to be to be someone in the community that people can look to for inspiration.”
Last for the night was Cheiks, presented by Marshfield’s Elizabeth Olson. Underwear with revolutionary sizing, with three butt sizes for every waist size, Olson hopes to develop underwear that makes women feel comfortable and cute.
She enjoys helping women feel good in her photography business, and has applied this goal to her new endeavor.
“You’re going to be able to get a really great butt-to-waist ratio size fit,” said Olson. “It’s going to bring women of all sizes together.”
She also spoke to the purposes of underwear, including its ability to protect, cover, and be comfortable. With the goal of combining “granny panty comfort” with cute designs, she has been working with a company in St Paul to develop a prototype.
Her goals include developing an online sales platform and increasing manufacturing with different styles and colors.
Each presentation was followed by judge questions, and after all presentations concluded, the judges met to discuss their choice. During this time, those in attendance also placed their votes for “People’s Choice.”
After the judges conferred, Tapped was announced as the overall winner, and collected the $2,000 prize.
“This is an incredible opportunity,” said Solin of the award.
By a significant amount, the people’s choice was Olson’s “Cheiks”.
“It was exciting!” said Olson. “Thanks to everyone that voted.”
Overall, it was a successful event for all who pitched and attended.
“I think it went really awesome!” said Jessica Mannigel, MYP President. “I’m amazed by the turnout, and love the support that Marshfield showed for this event. I can’t wait to do it again.”
(Note: Originally part of the program, Scott Fletcher’s Consolidated Manufacturing Data Platform, a manufacturing software service solution for managing manufacturing processes, was not able to attend due to a family emergency.)