As end consumers, we are generally unaware of the care and concern that goes into making the food products we love. We just expect that food brands make great food, with quality ingredients that we’ll enjoy. It rarely crosses our minds that something could have gone wrong with the ingredients.
While it isn’t top of mind for us, it is front and center for food manufacturers and brands. So much so that many of the top food brands – General Mills, Kraft-Heinz, Pepsico, and Conagra – require the manufacturers they work with to track every ingredient’s origin in every batch. This ensures that whatever happened between the field and a shopping cart, is accounted for.
This requirement, which is very clear in everyone’s best interest, places a difficult burden on small manufacturers. Right now, many small manufacturers use a paper-heavy, very manual process to track all the ingredients and batches. Unfortunately, it exposes everyone to risk.
Their creation, Inventory Batch Tracker (IBT), is a mobile-friendly web application designed to easily track the processing of ingredients into finished goods and quickly produce traceability reports if needed. It’s akin to an insurance policy for each small manufacturer and their partners.
Inventory Batch Tracker has been a quick mover within The Startup Collaborative. Launched earlier this year, IBT has had multiple early collaborators including food manufacturing, coffee roasting, hemp/CBD oil production, and pet food.
Nathan Watson, Co-Founder is proud of their solution. “We are excited to have something to help those small to medium-sized manufacturers that can’t otherwise afford the cost prohibitive solutions currently on the market. We feel we have exceptional role coverage and are poised for success.”
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Our society is in a unique shift now when it comes to our belongings. Gone are the days of retaining something for the slightest of sentimental reasons. A trend that the team at Space Worthy has seen is that current and future generations are looking to simplify their lives and the belongings that surround them. Their streamlined process of “toss, donate or keep” is meant to declutter the process of decluttering.
Passing down heirlooms and the stories of why these items should have any significance are often lost during the transition. Space Worthy has created a service that puts an emphasis on keeping the items that family members find valuable while documenting the stories behind them.
The most exciting part? You can start using Space Worthy TODAY. Their beta is live and looking for early users!
It’s time we stop looking at these items as “stuff” or “junk” and start to uncover the importance and reasoning behind keeping them. Rather than finding corners of our homes and lives to tuck these heirlooms away, we should celebrate what is truly worth space with Space Worthy.
Looking to Simplify & Declutter?
In our current culture, it’s common for job-seekers to be expected on various job portal platforms. Through overwhelming customer validation and with an impressive BP 10 Builder Score, Chris Jones has found a way to change the way employees are able to present themselves online and communicate with potential employers.
Jones’s company Loophire, a grant recipient through our FinTech Fellow Initiative, is putting more control back into the hands of job seekers and changing the way we go about the more archaic routine of sending out dozens of resumes and simply waiting to hear back from employers. Through the Loophire online platform, users are able to create video cover letters, emphasize the years of experience rather than their own self-assessments and even integrate a personality matching process to ideal careers and companies. Once these personalized profiles are set up, the next step is to elevate the immediacy of communication between those who are hiring and the job seeker that has matched with them and shows an interest in joining their company.
So when can you expect to utilize this revolutionary platform? Loophire’s beta is expected to be released to a limited number of users and hiring professionals later this month, but we expect to be hearing some exciting updates from Loophire about an official launch early-to-mid summer.
The Real Risk is Not to Start Up.
The business world is seeing a unique cultural shift at the moment. The ability for employees to work what is deemed “non-traditional” hours is slowly becoming the norm, and most companies are incentivizing this ideal for the workforce. Being able to work remotely or with a more flexible schedule is showing massive improvements for productivity and overall job satisfaction.
One solution that many employers are utilizing? Job sharing! Being able to split a position with a partner allows each employee to have more options and flexibility when it comes to their lives. It also gives older employees an option to transition into retirement, while training their replacement. The ability to retain information and pass skills onto a successor has never been more attainable.
Jina Picarella and Jessica Charlsen, co-founders of Job Share Connect, have built a platform utilizing their shared wealth of knowledge and immense customer validation, making job sharing a reality for our communities. Through Job Share Connect, employees are able to be matched with potential job share partners, and employers can follow-through with a comprehensive onboarding and coaching process.
With Job Share Connect, the power to take ownership of your professional and personal life is now back in your hands.
Interested in Job Sharing?
The team has set a new record, triggering TSC’s funding in less than 180 days since they started customer discovery in LEVEL 1. They launched their beta platform shortly before March and have already sold more than 100 devices.
Our preseed funding thesis is intentionally black-and-white. One fellow calls it “the defined path to investment dollars.” If a fellow meets certain growth thresholds, well defined in our methodology, they earn the capital.
Learn more about Certified Cell here.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t express how thankful for Chris, Dan and Betsy Murphy’s investment into our initial preseed fund: the Murphy Vision Funds, in partnership with First Westroads. The Murphys are truly visionary impact investors making smarter bets in Nebraska startups.
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Scribe was inspired by their sister Natalie and their father Dave, who are now the official Scribe customer archetypes. This delightful direct-to-consumer brand allows you (whether you’re an ultra thoughtful Natalie or an ‘I can’t forget again,” Dave) to first select 3-5 people most important to you. From there, you add their important occasions like birthdays, Mother’s day, anniversaries or the like.
Voila! Scribe does the hard work for you. They’ll send you reminders and prompts to pick out the perfect card. Once you’ve done that, they mail the card to you so you can take it all across the finish line. Heck, they’ll even stamp and address it for you. All you need to do is write a little diddy and place it in the mailbox again.
Did we mention the cards are incredible? They’re all designed by local or independent artists. And, true to Harding brother form, Scribe cards tell the artist’s story inside each card making each brand interaction feel so personal and … well, fun!
End-to-end, the experience feels more like you’ve been delivered a witty and clever art gallery, that you happen to mail to your mom after you’re done.
To Join the Scribe Beta
Succession planning is one of the most painful processes for business owners and leaders. It has a powerful domino effect when done well but when ignored, which it often is, it can be paralyzing for a business.
Most leaders assume succession planning is regulated to the C-suite. It’s a dangerous assumption to make, especially when an organization loses a critical teammate or legacy employee. Process documentation becomes the least of an executive’s worries at that point. Restaffing and retraining are expensive and time-consuming.
The truth is that succession planning is a challenge that faces all levels of an organization. Dream Catcher helps business owners and executives increase capacity amongst their talent in order to transition (or propel) the business through its various phases from startup to succession planning.
Founded by QLI exec Tinashe “Nash” Mahupete, Dream Catcher’s leadership coaching program helps close gaps in team members who better understand how to attain goals that match their aspirations as well as your company’s KPIs.
He’s working on the wireframes now and looking forward to launching later this year.
Want to Stay Updated on Dream Catcher?
You may remember Pinata Founder Kyle Tut from last year’s startup showcase, where he talked about lessons learned in customer discovery for another concept.
Kyle, and cofounder Matt Ober, are masterful at listening to the market, iterating on customer pain points and turning their product into the go-to solution.
Pinata is living proof of that.
Rewind back to 2006, the majority of data (71 percent according to CacheLogic) changed hands in a peer-to-peer model — think Spotify early on. However, P2P technologies had difficulties managing and monetizing data control, giving rise to the centralized cloud model.
Now, companies and users are getting smarter, and in some cases mad about vendor lock-in and data silos inherent to the cloud model. With a vision to be the platform that equitably transacts the world’s data and gives users control of that data, Pinata aims to solve the downsides of the centralized cloud.
Kyle and Matt recognize that less than 20 percent of the world’s data will be housed in data centers by 2021 while over 80 percent (according to Cisco) will be stored on individual devices.
So why is our data still bottlenecking through those data centers?
This massive shift in data storage has created a wedged open door for Pinata to enter. Pinata leverages IPFS for distributed data movement while allowing that movement to be transacted. This unique revenue model creates returns for Pinata, the data originator and the data mover.
Pinata has grown users 30 percent month-over-month consistently. And there are no signs of slowing.
Have an Idea for BlockChain?
One of our favorite fellows, Retail Aware, just closed their seed round. Founder Keith Fix was masterful at bringing strategic partners on board and convincing brand new angel investors to invest.
Funding from this round will primarily be used to scale their sales and distribution. Since we last blogged about the startup, Retail Aware has quadrupled their distribution of sensors. They have also added critical teammates to enrich the product.
With a successful showing at SXSW 2019, the Retail Aware team is building momentum and conversation throughout various industries. As always, Retail Aware welcomes any customer introductions. Specifically those in merchandising for grocery or convenience stores.
If you see Keith or Andrew Dierks, please congratulate them and tell them to get back to work.
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The lack of alternative sizes and settling for unrealistic standards is becoming more readily apparent in the larger market, but Stature’s main focus during the launch is a bit more focused: Why is it so hard for taller women to find a variety of clothing styles that fit them comfortably while retaining the most up-to-date fashion trends?
Leaning into Omaha’s ripe fashion community, Karisa forged strategic partnerships that will help accelerate Stature’s early growth. Photographers like Heather and Jameson and involvement with Fashion Institute Midwest to find the best designers and manufacturers locally became key to Stature’s trajectory.
“We work locally to develop and manufacture your clothes – meaning your purchase supports several other women-owned businesses,” said Malchow, “you can personally enter in your measurements online so you never have to guess what length you’ll get. By owning the product and the platform we cut out any middlemen and sell directly to our target market.”
Malchow’s emphasis on utilizing other Omaha businesses has brought about this cyclical ecosystem that can be easily forgotten for startup companies. When Stature’s website officially launches on April 5, an entire population of women will have access to affordable, fashionable and custom-tailored clothing. Stature is poised to help empower these women to stand tall and feel confident doing so.