Demo Day is on the horizon (mark your calendars for April 10th!) and the SparkLabKC teams are hard at work. Between meeting with mentors, continuing to develop their products, and preparing for Demo Day presentations, they are a busy and industrious group. We've got 10 exciting new companies to reveal to the world in a few short weeks. But, I'd like to give you a sneak peak with a brief introduction of each company.
This week I've highlighted three companies whose experience in their field led them to understand a major problem and create an innovative solution.
College Sports USA
The founders of College Sports USA, Jacques Tournoy and Kirk French, have both been coaching soccer for many years on many different levels, and their experiences with players and recruiters led them directly to the creation of their company. They observed that high school soccer players didn't have a good understanding of the college recruiting process. So, they created www.CollegeSportsUSA.com to streamline that complicated process and make it more user-friendly and accessible for both players and recruiters. Now, players can create a professional academic and athletic profile that can be viewed by thousands of college coaches across the country. College coaches log in to the site and search for players using specific search criteria in order to find the right players for their programs.
“College Sports USA doesn’t stop with our online tools. Our College Showcase Team Profile Book is a great scouting tool that we hand deliver to coaches at tournaments where you are playing.” - Kirk French, College Sports USA
Kirk and Jacques have been hard at work preparing to scale quickly with the right investors or partners. Their initial focus is on proving their concept with soccer players and recruiters, but they will expand to focus on other sports and the possibilities from there are enormous. College Sports USA benefits from the experience and connections of its founders, who are bringing in-depth knowledge of professional sports and technology together to streamline the college recruiting process for players and recruiters, increasing the odds of success for both.
Royal Loyal Club
Babir Sultan has almost a decade of experience working in and owning gas stations with convenience stores. He has successfully turned failing stations into profitable stores with marketing savvy and a deep understanding of his industry. During his time working behind the cash register, he realized how much of a struggle it was to offer loyalty punch cards to customers and encourage them to remember and use them. Because locally owned convenience store owners can't afford to offer a loyalty system similar to QuikTrip or Hy-vee, they are unable to take advantage of the benefits, like increased customer visits.
“Save big at your favorite local gas station or convenience store. Our platform helps small businesses reward their current customers and reach out to a new audience… no key chains or punch cards required.” - Babir Sultan, Royal Loyal Club
Royal Loyal provides the solution to this problem for convenience store owners, who have a high frequency of customer visits compared to other retail locations. Now, they can take advantage of a tech-based loyalty program that encourages customers to return. Royal Loyal closes the gap between the gas pump and the convenience store. Babir has spent his time at SparkLabKC putting together a sales team and preparing a strategy for the future of his company. His insider status as well as his IT background have positioned him to make a major difference in this industry.
The team behind PopBookings, Erika Klotz and Scott Hanson, noticed a big market hole with a technology solution when they were owners of a talent agency. They worked on several "experiential marketing" projects and saw that the industry is growing so quickly that technology hasn't caught up with it.
To solve this problem, Erika and Scott merged their passion for experiential marketing and technology to create a solution for staffing agencies, talent, and brands. By creating a central hub that previously didn't exist, they allow agencies to access a database of information about talent, increasing their efficiency, reliability, and overall quality while reducing time and stress.
“Looking for talented and reliable people to staff your next experiential marketing event? Popbookings’ screening process will help you hire with confidence.” - Erika Klotz, PopBookings
The PopBookings team has been focusing on their Beta trial during their time in the accelerator, gaining feedback from their testers to validate existing features. With an established stable of paying clients, they're off to an exciting start. The combination of Erika's vision and Scott's operational expertise makes them an ideal team to bring this solution to a fast-growing industry. Add to the mix a CTO with experience rapidly scaling technology products, and PopBookings is in a strong position to revolutionize the experiential marketing industry.
Check in next week to learn about more of our companies as we gear up for Demo Day on April 10th, 2015! In the meantime, tweet us @SparkLabKC!