It was impossible to leave Germinator’s Greenhouse demo day without feeling admiration for this new program and the promising startup founders and mentors who participated in today’s activities.
The Germinator is a new startup competition by The Tech Garden and CenterState CEO that offers world-class mentorship, in-depth education and competitive investments based on performance milestones.
“The Germinator combines the best of traditional incubator programs and startup accelerators. There’s hands-on mentoring, cross-collaboration, funding, education, and more,” said Tony Kershaw, The Tech Garden Innovation Specialist, “Our team thought long and hard about ways we could enhance our entrepreneurs’ experience based on what we’ve done for 10 years. The Germinator was born out of lessons learned here in Central NY and on other startup communities. We call it a ‘super accelerator.'”
Each startup has access to resources at The Tech Garden, including The DevBox, an in-house software development shop to help them reach their goals. Greenhouse Demo Days are scheduled to take place once every 6 months and gives judges and the public insight into the companies’ progress. Investments are staged in increasing amounts throughout each round ($20k, $50k, $70k and $100k).
At Greenhouse Demo Day: Round 1, entrepreneurs enrolled in the 2-year super accelerator program revealed how much passion they have for their ideas as they now drive to commercialization.
All six teams presented to a room of peers and guest judges this morning at the Niagara Mohawk Building in downtown Syracuse, N.Y. Judges included Brian Anderson (Lead Economic Development Representative, National Grid), Timothy McDevitt (Middle Market Team Leader, M&T Bank) and David Montanaro (Founder, Strategic Advisory Associates; Angel Investor, Seed Capital Fund of CNY; Entrepreneur, UNY50).
“It was an honor having the opportunity to participate in the Germinator’s first demo day,” said Montanaro. “What these startup founders have achieved in such little time shows promise of success and the overall advancement of Upstate’s venture economy.”
Here is a recap of the startups that pitched:
Trainer Engine: Low cost virtual coaching solution for gyms and trainers. Gyms and trainers will appeal to a broader set of clients by providing a service that more of them can afford. In turn, gyms and trainers will dramatically increase their closing ratio. Trainer Engine advisory members include Launch NY Entrepreneur in Residence Paul Brooks, StartFast Venture Accelerator Managing Director Chuck Stormon, and former Tech Garden Innovation Director Seth Mulligan.
UPDATE: Trainer Engine relegated to the Best of the Rest round.
Euphony: Text-to-speech technology that can express different emotions and contexts. Euphony is currently being used in a National Science Foundation funded project to make emotional speech more accessible to people with speech communication disorders. Euphony has also received a $25,000 Grants for Growth award.
Volu: Volunteer management software for nonprofit organizations and volunteers with a mission to use technology to advance the relationships between nonprofit organizations and the communities they serve. Volu took first place in the New York Business Plan competition this year. The Salvation Army in Syracuse, N.Y. is also currently using Volu.
LifeSource Health Inc: Cutting-edge software solutions for Emergency Medical Professionals and First Responders with a focus on pre-hospital and emergency medicine. The company was incorporated in 2015.
Sarita’s: Central New York food truck working on mass producing their handmade empanadas. Sarita’s pairs Hispanic and American flavors, bringing a modern twist to the traditional empanada. The team is currently in talks with several mass distributors and area grocery stores.
Voss Vertical: Aircraft-integrated flight system that dramatically improved Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) performance and safety for aircraft ranging from small drones to manned vehicles.