On October 3rd, Omaha’s first accelerator, Straight Shot, graduated its inaugural class of startups at Demo Day. All seven companies pitched their businesses to a packed theatre of 400 investors, entrepreneurs, mentors and community members.
“We saw inspired founders share their passion and ability to solve clear problems tonight,” said DVC Founder and Straight Shot mentor Mark Hasebroock. “These companies piloted a very pivotal program for Omaha and, as a result, have fired up the business community’s support for startups.
During the fast-pace, high-intensity 90-day program, the seven eCommerce/SaaS startups developed all stages of their business.
Cosmic Cart’s Alex Adelman said it was like “Cramming a year’s worth of work into 90 days.” The North Carolina ad-tech startup, which allows users to add products across the web into one shopping cart while helping publishers monetize content and retailers expand their reach, added on 85 brands and six bloggers to their platform during the program, in addition to winning Chicago’s TechNori Pitch event.
HuntForce, a father-and-son duo from Kentucky changing the way hunters interact with their trail cameras through their antler-recognition technology and web and mobile applications, pitched a little easier given the $400k in funding they raised because of their Straight Shot success.
BusinessExchange, a Croatian B2B startup providing transparency to customer-supplier relationships through business feedback and reviews, solidified their B2B software offering and began a pilot program with the Omaha Chamber of Commerce.
BuyNow, which turns traditional offline media into online purchase-enabled ads through their mobile commerce app and SMS text messagin, leveraged mentorship from star mentor Kelly Hoey to score several meetings with ad executives in New York and landed a partnership with Omaha’s ALH Publications.
The Cympel team, designing next-generation ads that allow customers to research, buy, and sell items through any advertising channel without redirection, will head back to Minneapolis with their first Beta tests successfully completed and their technology perfected.
Crateful, which uses advanced audio and data analytics to help music enthusiasts find the best music for the moment instantly, signed on Portland Incubator Experiment’s Rick Turcozy as an advisor and is currently in Beta with DJs in every major music hub in the country.
The night concluded with the audience choice award, which went to CardioSys, an online platform that allows companies to track and predict employee health through advanced mathematical modeling and predictive analytics, who formed a key strategic partnership with UNeMed near the end of the program.
Demo Day was truly a celebration of the hard work that the founders and mentors put in over the last 3 months, as well as of the Omaha startup ecosystem.
The more startups have success here, the more companies will call Omaha home, bringing with them jobs and establishing Omaha as a welcoming startup destination.
Our hats are off to Straight Shot’s inaugural class, mentors and of course the rockstar staff and managing director, Faith Larson.
Check out some of the media coverage here: