AECS Consulting, Inc.
est. 2010
Stage: Friends & Family
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Elevator Pitch

Our technology platform is securely bridging the gap between smart homes and smart cities. Using our single intuitive app, monitor and control smart devices and surveillance cameras installed in your home, apartment or business, from anywhere in the world without giving up your privacy. Our cloud-less solutions keep you and your data safe and bring you peace of mind knowing that you can stay connected to your spaces from anywhere in the world.

Aha-Moment

My wife Anna is a hair stylist and color specialist and has always dreamed of opening her own salon & spa. Back in 2015, that dream became a reality. She asked me to help her find a technology solution that would allow her to monitor the salon while she wasn't there. She was leasing suites in the salon to other stylists who had access to lighting, climate and entry/exit controls. She would not rest easy worrying about someone leaving the doors unlocked & more. I couldn't find a solution to solve her problem, so I decided to develop it myself. It didn't take long for me to realize I could monetize what I was working on for Anna, so I decided to go all in. That was the Aha! moment and realized it was what I was passionate about and wanted to do. Fast forward four years later, and we have a production prototype of our first MVP soon to be ready to go to market. And by we, I mean a team of cofounders, contract manufacturer, digital marketing partner and other strategic partnerships poised for growth once we launch.

GROworkspace
est. 2017
Stage: Bootstrapped
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Elevator Pitch

I was a nurse who didn't go to business school and yet I have built a million-dollar online business from scratch with a 80% profit margin in only 20 months! It all came from solving my own problem and trying to figure out how I could work smarter and not harder. I was getting the same questions over and over so I started creating a library of business trainings and automations to keep things simple for me and save time. I've been able to step back from GROworkspace to only 5 or 10 hours a week, so I can focus on helping and coaching business owners to build thriving businesses of their own.

Aha-Moment

Early on I learned the power of leveraging other people’s communities, I had invited a famous chiropractic doctor to speak in my FB group and he shared that event in his group. Thousands were joining, I was able to capitalize on his name to get other people to join in. Suddenly I had a lot 40k in the group - a mix of product users and business builders. From there I tapped into the FB group with an enticing lead magnet and 10k joined right away. Those contacts gave me momentum and my membership site was born.

Beekeeper's Naturals
est. 2017
Stage: Series A
Connect on LinkedIn 
Elevator Pitch

I grew up not being able to take OTC medicines due to an autoimmune condition. While studying abroad in Italy in 2012, I came down with tonsillitis and went to the local pharmacy in search of a remedy. There I discovered bee propolis, a natural substance bees make that contains 300 compounds that support immunity. When I got back home to Canada, I realized there wasn't a brand that offered that type of product that also delivered impeccable quality and real benefits I was looking for. Fascinated to learn more, I became a beekeeper during my senior year of college and learned about the incredible benefits of hive-derived ingredients. My passion stuck, and a few years later I left my post-grad trading job at Goldman Sachs to launch Beekeeper's Naturals in 2017. Beekeeper's Naturals has continued to expand its product assortment and its Propolis Throat Spray remains in the top 10 Cold & Flu products on Amazon.

Aha-Moment

After I found bee propolis, I realized that we could reshape the traditional health remedy offerings with natural, clean ingredients. Now at Beekeeper's Naturals, we utilize ingredients derived from the beehive and without the additives, artificial coloring and pesticide residue that is found in most OTC medicines. We discovered that we could use these ingredients to reimagine healing and challenge the traditional medicine industry.

D'vash Organics
est. 2016
Stage: Angel
Connect on LinkedIn 
Elevator Pitch

D'vash makes vegan superfood sweeteners with 25% less sugar than honey from sustainable ugly produce such as dates and sweet potatoes.

Aha-Moment

Brian and I became best friends while traveling abroad in the Middle East. Brian happened to try date syrup (known as silan in the Middle East) and told me how amazing it was. After trying it I was so impressed with the product and with the mediterranean diet being so popular we thought, "Hey, why isn't this stuff available in the US? Let's bring it home to share with the world!"

Photobooth Supply Co.
est. 2012
Stage: Revenue
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Elevator Pitch

We wanted to find a way to scale our photography business & found that a photobooth was the most efficient way to do this. Now, we provide meaningful opportunities for entrepreneurs everywhere to own their own business and live a life they love.

Aha-Moment

As wedding photographers, our clients already requested photobooths from us all the time, so we knew the demand was there. After investing in a huge, clunky, less than impressive booth, it was just a matter of getting the hardware right. Once we made our own, better version of the photobooth, our friends got interested in getting one for their businesses - and then it clicked. We weren't the only wedding photographers looking for a way to scale our business without lots of time/effort/money/people management. We emptied our savings to secure a space at a tradeshow and had huge success - thus Photobooth Supply Co. was born.

6AM City LLC
est. 2016
Stage: Revenue
Connect on LinkedIn 
Elevator Pitch

6AM is the fastest growing local media company in the United States. 6AM has built a disruptive local publishing platform; curating, packaging and distributing hyper-local content designed to maximize audience engagement. 6AM starts the day by delivering the need-to-know local news and events via a daily email, and continues the conversation online and across social media. 6AM is educating and activating communities, redefining how they engage, communicate, connect, and experience the cities we serve.

Aha-Moment

As local media has been in a decline, designing a product intended to be a conversation with our audience, is what both readers and advertisers were looking for. When we saw organic growth take off, and advertisers paying to reach our readers, we knew we were onto something.

MINNA
est. 2013
Stage: Bootstrapped
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Elevator Pitch

MINNA is an ethically made home goods brand rooted in traditional craft techniques. Employing a cottage industry approach, MINNA partners with master weavers and artisan collectives in Bolivia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Uruguay, which helps ensure craft preservation and job creation. MINNA’s line includes bedding, pillows, throws, kitchen and tabletop accessories and rugs.

Aha-Moment

It's hard for me to say I had a true 'a-ha' moment. MINNA really grew out of my art practice but I knew I wanted to transition it to a design-focused brand, rather than being my own woven works. The aha-moment could have really been my first trip to Mexico - in the workshop - when I was pushed to design the first MINNA rug. But, I think, starting a business is one small aha-moment and then to actually grow a business, it's a million a-ha moments over and over and over again.

The Feel Good Lab
est. 2016
Stage: Other
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Elevator Pitch

We make all-natural pain relief products. Our Natural Pain Cream and our Sport Recovery Lotion formulas are packed with 30+ all-natural ingredients to help people those suffering from arthritis, lower back pain, joint pain and muscle soreness. We are backed by science, rooted in functional medicine.

Aha-Moment

We created The Feel Good Lab because there weren’t any over-the-counter pain relievers that we personally wanted to use or would ever recommend. We wanted products that work without all the chemical junk, nasty smells, or intense burning sensations. So that's what we started making. Call it a modern brand for a modern consumer. Call it smarter science. We call it relief without compromise.

Vestorly
est. 2013
Stage: Series A
Connect on LinkedIn 
Elevator Pitch

Vestorly is a AI-driven content curation platform to boost engagement and business intelligence.

Aha-Moment

When we realized that content is the glue and engagement the currency of the internet. With the right content you can boost engagement by 2-3x.

Symbl.ai
est. 2018
Stage: Revenue
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Elevator Pitch

We empower developers to rapidly deploy conversational intelligence in any channel and build differentiated product experiences out of natural human conversations.

Aha-Moment

Seeing developers think and build so many different conversation-driven experiences - across meetings, sales, call centers, legal, education, etc that we can enable.

Kahil Investment Group
est. 2014
Stage: Angel
Connect on LinkedIn 
Elevator Pitch

diamond are girls' best friend. we buy an sell rough diamonds, we are licensed, we have a in house gemmologist. we know and understand the business very well. and we love what we do.

Aha-Moment

when we deliver a product to client and you see a beautiful smile rising from within

Ayurnutrition
est. 2016
Stage: Other
Connect on LinkedIn 
Elevator Pitch

We empower, educate and guide people to make their wellness as their priority by choosing foods and lifestyle that nourish the mind and body, increase energy levels and decrease stress levels combining the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda with Nutrition and wellness.

Aha-Moment

Our aha moment was when our client told us that coming to us was a total game changer for them and that they have gained a lot of energy, healthy, wellness and life back after seeing us and following us recommendations.

Bullhorn
est. 2008
Stage: Revenue
Connect on LinkedIn 
Elevator Pitch

I run a branding agency. We were hired to name other companies, but didn't have a good process to do so. I wrote The Naming Book realizing that many entrepreneurs who couldn't afford to hire an agency could benefit from the process. https://www.thenamingbook.com/

Aha-Moment

Thinking about putting together a how-to video I read the other naming books and realized there was a gap in the market. There wasn't a repeatable process informed by academic research and tested in the real world.

POWER KIOSK
est. 2013
Stage: Series A
Connect on LinkedIn 
Elevator Pitch

Power Kiosk is the largest energy marketplace and rate management platform in North America. We connect buyers and suppliers of energy to secure the best plans that fit their needs.

Aha-Moment

I became a broker of energy right after graduated from my Ph.D. program in Northwestern University. What was happening in the industry was insane. The industry was old-school and fragmented. Brokers were calling the suppliers over and over all day every day. There was no synergy. Everything ran slow and inefficient. It became obvious that the energy brokerage industry needed a massive shakeup. Power Kiosk is the product of that imagination in 2012.

Xena Workwear
est. 2019
Stage: Revenue
Connect on LinkedIn 
Elevator Pitch

My name is Ana Kraft and I am the founder of Xena Workwear. We design and manufacture fashionable steel-toe boots for women in STEM. I worked in the manufacturing industry for many years and while I LOVED my job, I always HATED my clunky safety boots that made it impossible to dress professionally. The safety shoe industry has not changed in decades and so many companies still apply the "shrink it and pink it" concept where they take a men's boot, make it smaller and make it pink. This is NOT what professional women in STEM want and that is exactly why I decided to design a safety shoe that allows us to feel confident and be safe. We launched in May of 2019 and the positive feedback from women across industries was overwhelming! We sell not just a pair of boots but the feeling of confidence. Our goal is to become the go-to company for women in STEM.

Aha-Moment

After complaining for many years, discussing this topic with my engineering friends and doing a lot of research, I decided that I need to shake up this industry. I was confident that my broad engineering background and my project management skills could help me develop a product and launch this business.

Givn Goods, Co
est. 2015
Stage: Series A
Connect on LinkedIn 
Elevator Pitch

At GIVN, we make seriously good products for seriously good people - with a focus on making social impact, sustainably. Our customers have provided over 3 million days of clean water to people in need. GIVN uses recycled materials to produce its products including rPET and aluminum. GIVN is believed in by amazing investors including SOSV and Wolfpack. Product lines include GIVN Water and GIVN Apparel.

Aha-Moment

When we realized that our growth strategy is actually B2B vs B2C. The biggest value proposition, at least the one that gets givn the highest return, is the brand boost for our retailer partners.

House of Intuition
est. 2010
Stage: Bootstrapped
Connect on LinkedIn 
Elevator Pitch

House of Intuition is a metaphysical brand dedicated to to helping people along their journey of personal growth through healing, transformation and empowerment. Our mission from the start has been to help others feel hope when they feel hopeless; to feel powerful when they feel defeated; and to bring intention within when people are seeking outside of themselves.

Aha-Moment

We built House of Intuition as a spiritual detox center and people kept asking us for more tools. We listened and this has given us the opportunity to grow while staying open and non-conforming.

Savitude
est. 2016
Stage: Debt-Financed
Connect on LinkedIn 
Elevator Pitch

For the fashion designers and merchandisers, whose framework has been the hourglass body the Savitude AI Explorer is part of a Design Management Platform that personalizes clothing designs for all body types. Unlike the status quo, our technology will ensure that customers with all nine body shapes and the four proportions will find clothes that fit and look good on the them.

Aha-Moment

I was the original founder of 2 predictive modeling companies (with IPO and $95M buy out exits), by working with domain experts in pharma. I earned an MFA in fashion design, ran my own fashion e-Commerce label and discovered fitting people was very hard, but knew I could solve it with modeling (1st Aha). We built an AI recommendation engine that deliverd +11% growth. Then we realized our AI can also "ideate design details" to create new designs, just like a fashion designer would in real life (Aha #2). Now we have AI Explorer, and can scale creativity using only images.

IntellaSense
est. 2019
Stage: Revenue
Connect on LinkedIn 
Elevator Pitch

Stories have the ability to move people in a myriad of directions. They can move them towards a buying decision, they can move them towards activism, and they can even move them towards evangelism (product or religion). IntellaSense wants to create a portfolio of brands centered around stories that engage our intellect and our sense of belonging.

Aha-Moment

I launched The Startup Story podcast in January of 2019 to meet a desire that I had to sit with highly successful entrepreneurs to understand how their steps might be different than those who have not succeeded. I had no thought around "how big can this get." Well, in June of 2019 a listener from the UK emailed me to let me know that the show was #11 in the UK. After a bit of research I realized we were also Top 100 in the US and Australia. In that moment I started thinking about all that this brand could become.

The Digital Collective
est. 2018
Stage: Revenue
Connect on LinkedIn 
Elevator Pitch

I'm a co-founder of a digital marketing company. We specialize in web design and creating super engaging online ad campaigns.

Aha-Moment

My aha-moment is every time I look back to where I used to be before and remind myself just how much persistence, focus, and dedication has paid off. Long-term investor mindset over all.