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The $2.5 million ask: Seven tech startups in the Wave accelerator make their pitch

Margie Manning

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Rich Heruska, Tampa Bay Wave accelerator director, introduces the startups at Pitch Night, held at WeWork in downtown Tampa. (Photo credit: Tampa Bay Wave)

Seven entrepreneurs with tech companies that could change the healthcare, business services and fashion industries pitched their ideas to about 200 potential investors and community supporters at Tampa Bay Wave’s Pitch Night.

The startups, which are collectively seeking about $2.5 million, are part of Wave’s 2019 fall cohort.

It’s the 20th accelerator cohort for Wave, a Tampa nonprofit that houses and services technology startups. Since March 2013, Wave has supported 304 companies that collectively have raised $233 million and have created over 1,900 jobs, said Linda Olson, president and CEO.

“When people say that Tampa Bay doesn’t have a real tech community I want to challenge them and say we have companies that are raising money and creating jobs and building some breakout companies for this region,” Olson said at the Jan. 23 Pitch Night at WeWork.

Next up for the accelerator companies is Wave’s Demo Day Feb. 11, during the 2020 Synapse Summit at Amalie Arena. Several of the companies also will have booths at the summit.

Here’s a closer look at the startups that pitched Thursday night.

Fruutfull

Founders: Ellery Linder and Danielle Rushton

Capital sought: $500,000 (raised $135,000 to date)

Ellery Linder

Fruutfull, based in Tampa, is a direct-to-consumer e commerce company that is introducing an entirely new category of bras which will allow their customers to create a personalized fit.

“Raise your hand if you’ve ever worn an uncomfortable piece of clothing,” challenged Linder as she kicked off Pitch Night. Bras can be especially uncomfortable, as there are 121 different size options, but most retailers carry only a fraction of those options. “This size limitation force us as consumer to fit into what we can find on the shelf, leaving over 80 percent of women wearing the wrong size bra.”

Fruutfull has developed a patent-pending design — a double back band with sliding function that replaces the traditional hook-and-eye closure — that allows the company to offer 253 sizes with just 30 stock keeping units. The company will manufacture its products in Colombia. Although Fruutfull primarily will sell in a direct-to-consumer model online, it’s planning popup stores in selected boutiques as part of a beta launch.

Medzoomer

CEO: Marvin Kloss

Capital sought: $250,000

Marvin Kloss

Medzoomer in Tampa is an on-demand prescription delivery service that enables users to avoid stress associated with prescription pickup. Medzoomer optimizes and tracks the performance of pharmacy partners through its software.

More than one-third, or 37 percent, of patients have left a prescription at the pharmacy due to the inconvenience of picking it up, and attempts by independent pharmacies to deliver prescriptions are cost prohibitive and inefficient, Kloss said. With Medzoomer – described as the DoorDash or Grubhub of prescription delivery — the user places an order on the app for delivery, the pharmacy fills the order in a tamper-proof envelope and a courier safely delivers the prescription to the patient’s doorstep. The platform is HIPAA-compliant and the couriers are vetted through SafetyPIN Technologies, also a Tampa Bay Wave company. There’s live GPS tracking between the pharmacy, the patient and the couriers.

Consumers pay a $2 delivery fee, while pharmacies pay a flat fee based on monthly order volume.

Ecover Global Inc.

CEO: Ben Sever

Ben Sever

Ecover Global is a Tampa-based, HIPAA-compliant patient engagement platform that enhances pre- and post-op communication.

Ecover solves two problems in a healthcare provider’s front office — patient-to-provider communication and patient accessibility to critical information, Sever said. Its software, which spans the web, iOS and Android, allows text, images and video between patients and providers.

The company has raised $700,000 to date and has 18 months of runway. There are 15 pilots scheduled for the first quarter of 2020, and another 15 pilots in the pipeline. Sever projects more than $3 million in recurring revenue by the end of the year.

The company has two asks: introductions to medical professionals and partnerships in the medtech space.

Rentit

CEO: David Rodriguez

Capital sought: $600,000

David Rodriguez

Rentit is a Tampa-based, peer-to-peer e-commerce rental platform that allows consumers and businesses to monetize their assets in the sharing economy.

Recalling the old maxim, “If you want to become wealthy you need to make your money work for you,” Rodriguez asked if your stuff should work for you as well? He described Rentit as the Airbnb for your stuff — a full-service e-commerce peer-to-peer rental platform that allows businesses and consumers to monetize their assets in what is currently a $15 billion sharing economy and is projected to top $300 billion by 2025.

Rentit has a couple of things going for it:  People are moving back to urban areas with smaller living spaces, and millennials, Renit’s target market, tend to value experiences more than ownership of assets.

Rentit is in a beta phase now. It’s onboarding local businesses and users and plans a soft launch at the Synapse Summit.

Reptrics

CEO: Kevin Goodwin

Capital sought: $600,000

Kevin Goodwin

Tampa-based Reptrics helps businesses generate customer testimonials by automating the collection of reviews and posting them to review sites that matter most. Reptrics reputation management platform ensures that businesses can monitor their reviews across multiple review sites without having to lift a finger.

Reptrics builds marketing automation software that Goodwin said helps businesses get online reviews they deserve.

“More reviews equal more customers, which helps generate more revenue,” Goodwin said.

The online review reputation space is a fractured market, and Reptric’s competition has priced out the small and medium-sized businesses, he said. Reptrics has gone from 10 small business customers to 42 customers in less than four weeks.

There’s a free version of the product, as well as a premium version and a professional, managed services platform.

Exiom

CEO:  Erik Paul

Capital sought: $500,000

Erik Paul

Exiom, based in Monticello, Florida, utilizes advanced 3D modeling software, combined with a simple iPad-based 3D scanner to create breathable, waterproof and hygienic custom fit limb splints.

When Paul’s two sons both broke their arms in the same week, Paul knew there had to be something better than a fiberglass cast. That better way was the Xkelet brace, a waterproof and breathable cast that optimizes healing and minimizes pain and inconvenience.

It’s faster, easier and more profitable for med professionals, Paul said. They can complete a 15-second scan with an iPad-based app that measures and  builds a file. The file is sent to a highspeed 3D printer and placed on a patient during their initial visit. The braces are registered with the FDA as 510K exempt class one medical devices, and reimbursable through insurance.

The company, which has an exclusive contract with Xkelet, was founded in July 2018 and has done pilots with several university athletic departments. Paul also is talking to Veterans Administration hospitals and some high-volume orthopedic groups and hospital systems

SoleVenture

Founders: Eve Epstein and Robin Rusignuolo

Robin Rusignuolo

SoleVenture, based in St. Petersburg, is the back-office support for the company of one. The platform provides the infrastructure needed to build and grow a business for formation, tax setup and business insurances to the personal benefits of traditional employment, including health, dental, vision and limited medical plans.

The workforce has changed, with traditional work being replaced by the freelance economy, Rusignuolo said. More than 60 million Americans are freelancers, who love the freedom and autonomy of their work situation, but give up traditional benefits such as access to health insurance, paid time off, employers handling their taxes and a steady paycheck.

Many freelancers use fractured solutions, four or five apps that are inefficient and costly, she said. SoleVenture incorporates them into a single platform that also can provide job referrals.

The company has raised $900,000 and started earning revenue in week nine, with an estimated $150 million in revenue in the first five years. SoleVenture will officially launch at South by Southwest and at the Synapse Summit.

Rusignuolo’s ask was that people stop by the company’s booth at Synapse.

Two Wave companies were not at the Pitch Night because the leaders were traveling out of the country. Rich Heruska, Wave’s accelerator director, described them briefly.

Nickelytics, based in Fort Myers, is a marketing adtech company that provides advertising solutions to help increase gig economy drivers’ pay. It formerly was The Nickel Ride. Since its pivot in July it has $10,000 in monthly recurring revenue, and will announce next week that it’s been accepted into a globally known accelerator, Heruska said.

OmPay in Tampa is a web-based app that provides access to zero percent interest deferred payments. After a successful pilot at the Wyndham Grand in Clearwater, OmPay won approval to work with the entire hotel chain. The company has raised over $1 million. Dr. Kiran Patel, a Tampa healthcare entrepreneur and philanthropist, was the lead investor.

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