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WTBC Sheridan Fires Up Second Annual Start-Up Challenge

October 9, 2018

Sheridan’s Wyoming Technology Business Center (WTBC) business incubator has named five finalists for this year’s Sheridan Start-Up Challenge entrepreneur competition.

“We had a terrific number of applicants for the first challenge and a great turnout at the pitch event,” says Scot Rendall, Sheridan Area WTBC director. “Prior to our kickoff of the 2018 process, we had many inquiries about this year’s challenge, so we expect that a number of entrepreneurs with good business ideas will step forward.”

The Sheridan Area WTBC received 40 applications for this year’s Start-Up Challenge. The WTBC is administered by the University of Wyoming’s Office of Research and Economic Development. It is a not-for-profit business incubator system that provides startup and early-stage companies with the expertise, networks and tools necessary for the development of successful businesses.

Finalists will pitch their ideas at the WYO Theater, 42 N. Main St., in Sheridan Thursday, Nov. 8, at 5:30 p.m. Each finalist will give a 15-minute presentation and will entertain questions from the judges. The top three entrepreneurs each will receive a $5,000 award; space in the Sheridan incubator; ongoing counseling and legal support; and the opportunity to apply for additional working capital from a $50,000 seed fund.

The pitch event is open to the public.

The following is a brief summary of each finalist, including the company name, the entrepreneur and the business idea:

-- My-Town, created by Aaron Baker, is a mobile application that will help small businesses reach their local community and for the local community to see events that are happening. The best local eateries and events will be just a tap away. Local businesses will be able to offer products for sale and completely process the transaction within the app. Customers will be able to receive custom verification of orders and can track order status in real time. 

-- Angle PR, created by Jamie Diamond, is a public relations-as-a-service company that works with startup companies to get their stories in the press. Angle PR blends creative best practices in media relations with cutting-edge automation. By streamlining many of the daily tasks and rituals that public relations professionals typically perform, Angle’s account staff can focus more time on client strategy and brainstorming to pitch the best stories, which will enable better press coverage.

-- Spark Payments, created by Spencer Kuzara, is a payment processing company designed to provide a frictionless way for businesses to accept payments in digital currency. Using InstantSend technology, transactions happen in less than one second and cost less than one cent. Since price volatility is not an acceptable risk in business, Spark’s payment processing app will immediately convert digital currency payments into U.S. dollars.

-- Connect Speech Therapy, created by Chelsea Paulus, is an innovative in-home speech therapy practice serving individuals with speech impairments, reading and writing difficulties, memory challenges and other speech therapy needs. Using technology such as teletherapy services, Connect will be able to deliver personalized service not only locally in Sheridan, but also across Wyoming and other parts of the Mountain West, particularly to underserved rural communities.

-- ThermMaker, created by Chad Reckard, is a large, automated fluid heater for use in oil and gas development. Unlike existing fluid heaters that are limited by generic off-the-shelf components, ThermMaker heaters use locally designed and built elements, such as burners and heat exchangers created specifically for their intended role. The goal will be to enable better performance at a reduced cost to create oil and gas service market competitive advantages.

“Community support for startup businesses is very strong in Sheridan, and there are many local success stories for entrepreneurs to emulate,” Rendall says.

For more information, call Rendall at (307) 675-1939 or email srendall@uwyo.edu.

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