1492 Demo Day to be held next week

For 11 weeks, five local startups have refined their business concepts in preparation for the 1492 Accelerator Demo Day Wednesday at the Canzani Center at 60 Cleveland Ave. on Columbus College of Art & Design’s campus. Registration and networking begins at 2:30 p.m., and demonstrations and business pitches begin at 3 p.m.

The 1492 business launch program −a collaboration between TechColumbus, Columbus State Community College and CCAD, with support from the Ohio Third Frontier− is designed to accelerate the development of innovative startups in a matter of months rather than years.

The program’s objective was for all the participants to launch a viable service or product this month. However, each startup was at a different stage of development when they entered the program, making that goal unreachable.

Nonetheless, all the participants made “great progress” during the program, and on Demo Day they will be able to highlight what they’ve achieved and what they still need to do, says Greg Pugh, senior director of venture acceleration at TechColumbus.

The participants aren’t the only entrepreneurs who can benefit from Demo Day, though. Investors looking for businesses worthy of capital and new business owners curious about what the entrepreneurial community is up to are likely to find the event helpful, Pugh says.

An independent panel of judges, which included business leaders and entrepreneurs from Central Ohio, selected the five 1492 participants based on written applications and formal business pitch presentations held in October.

The participants are Azoti, Capstone Innovations, Churchsys.com, hungerly, and Infinum Education.

Azoti is a marketing platform that provides offline support services and a suite of online tools to help the five million-plus local food producers increase their share of every food dollar spent by driving demand and increasing productivity. Azoti will serve local farmers, dairies, fisheries, distributors, co-ops, farmers markets and artisans by providing demand aggregation services, program management, and a host of customer relationship management solutions.

Capstone Innovations has designed and patented an adaptable interlocking pallet system made up of identical units that slide together and lock into place so a pallet can be built to any ten-inch increment. Capstone’s system allows the user to create a custom pallet, thus avoiding additional shipping charges for pallets that are too large, or the costs of building a pallet for items that are larger than standard size.

Churchsys is a software as a service offering developed to manage all aspects of operating a church. Currently serving six churches within Central Ohio, Churchsys provides the definitive end-to-end system for managing a church or church district, and addressing the prevailing question of how to grow and retain membership.

hungerly is a location-based mobile marketing, analytics, sales and loyalty platform built with street truck and cart vendors in mind. hungerly enables users to discover local food vendors that may be around the corner, but would normally go unnoticed. Once discovered, the vendor is empowered with tools to keep consumers engaged by providing proximity alerts or offering incentives for repeat business.

Infinum Education has developed Aviso, which allows students and advisors to collaboratively drive student and institutional success. Aviso offers three main features: academic planning to define a future curriculum path for a student that is in line with their intent; alerting, which identifies any potential challenges or trends that may compromise a student’s ability to succeed; and integrated messaging that allows students and advisors to communicate about planning, alerts or other topics of interest.

In addition to weeks of business coaching and mentoring, each of the 1492 participants received a $20,000 grant.

The program was held for the second time ever in 2011. Pugh says it will be held for at least one more 11-week period in 2012, though it could be held up to two or three times this year.