Our “#jpreneur” or entrepreneurial journalism pitch night was the culmination of many weeks of hard work by students who came up startup ideas to solve real-world problems.
Our goal is to create a community of journalism innovators that can help an industry in crisis deal with disruption by starting new ventures or becoming intrapreneurs launching new products in legacy organizations.
As a class, we selected four of the best ideas and worked in teams to develop a pitch to potential investors and a business model. Students also talked to many potential customers to hone their ideas.
Video will be forthcoming, but check out their work. I’m especially proud of the impressive logos and well-designed pitch decks.
Where to Run is an app that helps serious runners find the best routes when traveling. It’s a “minimalist approach for a minimalist sport” that outshines competitors with its clean design and routes vouched for by real runners. This was a great team composed of John Stevenson, Aidan Galasso, Robert Kohler, and Darius Hence, a group with a wide range of running experience, including a University of Memphis track athlete (Galasso.)
Versd allows book lovers to easily access music they are reading about. This team brings a wide range of media, marketing and music industry experience to the task at hand and included Dominique Williams, Zach Losher, Marion Ziegler, and Jessica Rainer.
SafeCity tackles a problem posed to us by the Commercial Appeal newspaper by streamlining severe weather and other emergency alerts and closings. This group overcame a number of challenges and included seasoned entrepreneur Jennifer Sadler, magazine-writing award winner Samuel Prager and a broadcast journalism intern with an insight into how newsrooms operate, Kelsey Semien.
Stockboy is an app which will help you find things in the grocery store and help you to manage your lists and coupons. This group included Robin Spielberger, Barry Parks, Ameila Ables and Ketevan Dolidze, all of whom have substantial professional experience. Bonus points to them for their awesome stockboy aprons, clever demo video, and extensive customer discovery process.
Also, to try out the app (for as long as the website is up) you can go here on your computer or mobile device.
BIG, HUGE thanks to Start.co and especially Andre Fowlkes for their tireless help in teaching startup principles and giving feedback. I also really appreciate all of the entrepreneurs who came to class at various points during the semester to give advice and feedback – the Memphis entrepreneurial community is very generous. They include: serial entrepreneur Kenn Gibbs, software-engineer-turned-entrepreneur Scott Finney, Start.Co CEO Eric Mathews, Rachel Wilhite of Caissa Public Strategy, Tameesha Desangles, CEO of Wedding Worthy, Vince Rogers of Musistic, Chris Przybyszewski, executive vice president of US BIOLOGIC. And if I forgot anyone I will add it post haste.
I really appreciate the faculty members who turned out to support us last night, including Joe Hayden, Darrin Devault, Sandy Utt, David Arant, Ron Spielberger, Bob Willis, and Tom Hrach. Also loved seeing former #jpreneur students there like David Morris, Calvin Carter, and Lauren Turner.
Here’s to the future of journalism!