(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center is hosting its second annual “MediaWorks Demo Day” on August 11 at the Square Room on Market Square. To register, click here. Ahead of that event, we are profiling the nine companies in the start-up accelerator. Today, we review two companies already spotlighted in more detailed posts on teknovation.biz when they participated in the “What’s the Big Idea” competition earlier this year. They are Sing and Spell and Resque.)
First, Sing and Spell.
Sing and Spell, the winner of Knoxville’s inaugural 48-hour launch in January, was previously profiled in a two-part series (PART 1 and PART 2) on teknovation.biz. Ahead of “Demo Day,” we asked Cathy Vangieri to provide an update on the start-up.
- You were part of the “What’s the Big Idea” 48-hour launch one weekend earlier this year. What has transpired in the evolution of Sing and Spell since that event? Much has happened since winning the “What’s the Big Idea” 48-hour Launch contest. We were able to finance the completion of an android app and bring our first product, Sing and Spell – Learning Letters, to the marketplace. Children enjoy using electronic devices and now they can engage with Sing and Spell and learn important reading basics while having fun. That’s very exciting! Subsequently, we’ve developed partnerships with children’s tablet manufacturers and the Sing and Spell – Learning Letters app will be preinstalled on various tablets this fall, just in time for the Christmas season.
- What do you see as the two biggest challenges that you face and how do you hope that participation in “MediaWorks” can help you address them successfully? One of our challenges is as a creative group we have a lot of ideas. Through “MediaWorks,” we are zeroing in on what we can prove works! We are learning about every single aspect of our business – sharpening our focus and gaining valuable insight that we can use to streamline our efforts for maximum results. Another challenge is capital. We have a product and now we need funds to effectively market it. We know that through “MediaWorks” we will be sufficiently prepared with the tools needed to successfully acquire beneficial strategic and financial partnerships.
- What additional comments do you have? “MediaWorks” has been amazing. Essentially, we are earning an MBA in three months! It’s rigorous. With curriculum to study, assignments, targets and presentations, the bar is set very high and the challenges abundant. We’re learning, growing, fortifying and are very grateful to those who created this wonderful program for our entrepreneurial community.
Resque was also a participant in Knoxville’s inaugural 48-hour launch in January. We previously profiled Michael Goldsborough and the company on teknovation.biz, so we asked him to provide an update.
- You were part of the “What’s the Big Idea” 48-hour launch one weekend earlier this year. What has transpired in the evolution of Resque since that event? Since the 48-hour weekend, Resque has gone from a seedling idea to actual product in the market. We are currently accepting free user accounts and paid accounts for our local Knoxville market. The WTBI48HL (“What’s the Big Idea” 48-Hour Launch) was crucial in pushing us into our current business model and product offering.
- What do you see as the two biggest challenges that you face and how do you hope that participation in “MediaWorks” can help you address them successfully? Our biggest challenges are generating traction and making sure our investor pitch deck is in the best form possible for pitch day and beyond. The “MediaWorks” team and our mentor, Brian Strong, have been there before. They have the experience and actionable insights needed to get us to our goals. The “MediaWorks” team is also pushing us harder than anyone else has to date – this not only helped mold our offering and messaging, but also helped galvanize us to continue to solve this particular problem.