Our fiery passion to “build healthcare better” gained momentum when we were nominated as one of the Top 5 in the 2015 Louisiana Startup Prize. We are often asked how we did we get there? And why Shreveport? Well, it’s really because of Gregory Kallenberg, his Shreveport crew and the fact he brought our company “Fresh A.I.R.”.
So what do we mean? Well, let’s admit that being from Louisiana, we do not have the resources and startup communities like Austin, TX or Silicon Valley. In fact, that’s why we connected with friends on Google Plus back in the day. But luckily for us, we attended a Delta Regional Pitching event, and it was there that our friends from LA Tech encouraged us to attend Startup Prize. An “entrepreneurial event like no other” is what they said, and boy were they right!
For those that don’t know, Startup Prize happens every year. It’s a startup event based in Shreveport Louisiana, that offers 5 lucky contestants the possibility to win $50,000. You quickly learn that is the “small prize”. And we like to think of it as an event, a place where we always get a little Fresh A.I.R. for our company.
So what do we mean by Fresh A.I.R.? Well, when we say fresh, we mean “relationship fresh”. It is really an up close and personal event. It makes you ask, “Did they just touch me there?”. No not physically, but emotionally. Gregory and the mentors ask questions that get young entrepreneurs to reveal their true passion, their “why”, their mission, their reason for being. And knowing what we know now, it’s partly because they understand the most important thing about investing, is to bet on the person/jockey, not the horse. Which leads me to the A.I.R.
A.I.R. can be broken down into three things.
- Access – to industry experts and other entrepreneurs
- Investors – yes – there are investors there.
- Relationships – People you can trust
For the $50 registration fee, you get to sit at roundtable discussions with industry experts. Some that normally charge $400 an hour. I mean I’m no mathematician, but that $50 fee more than covers the 30 minutes you obtain from attending just one roundtable event. And unbeknownst to you, you could be having a conversation with one of your potential investors. Which is the I: Investors. And yes, that is straight from our experience. One of the persons we had casual conversations with, became one of our side-car investors in 2017. And the R, well it’s about relationships. Which deserves a new paragraph.
Relationships in general are hard. Especially if there is no trust. And trust me, we were like W.T.F. after attending our first qualifying event. It kind of made us feel like we are at a summer camp. That’s because Startup Prize founder Gregory Kallenberg makes it so. We must admit we were at first wondering, what’s this guy’s angle? Well, at the end of the day, he is really an entrepreneur at heart, with a heart. It’s not all about money for Gregory. In fact, if you ask him, he will say that’s for the investor panel. Gregory’s main goal is to make sure you have an impact on the world and to bridge any gaps on your entrepreneurial journey. He wants you to literally have a seat at the table. So he brings the round tables. He brings experts like attorneys, accountants, business owners, financial planners, and keynote speakers with real startup experience, from around the world. Gregory wants to help you open doors and shed light on your journey. And what many will soon realize about the startup prize logo, is that the lightbulb is more than the reflection of a bright idea. The light bulb is about the beacon of opportunity-opportunity that exists from the energy radiating from this Shreveport gathering.
Are we biased? Hell yes! But don’t take our word for it. Go see for yourself. Get your own “shift done”! And if you go this weekend, Wayne will be at two of the roundtables, giving back to the community that helped us launch RNvention and The MultiNix Tool.
For more on Startup Prize. Click here.