A second group of startups are making their way through the Columbus-based Lumos Accelerator. Their innovative solutions are as wide-reaching and as varied as the paths that brought the seven companies together for 10 weeks of rapid business building.
Accelerator Director Alex Purtell says this class is even further ahead than class one, with at least two startups already serving customers and others readying the launch of their MVPs. If there’s a theme apparent for class two, it’s platforms; high-growth, high-market platforms tackling everything from cleaning up dog waste, to tracking and managing chronic illnesses.
In just a few short weeks, pivots have been made, rebrands are in the works and customers gained. Learn more about each accelerator company as they take the next steps to growing their business.
RoadTrip wants coffee connoisseurs to experience the best beans local roasters have to offer without even setting foot in a car. Many of the top coffee shops are local operations the average person won’t experience unless they visit.
“Every month we find the best beans from the best coffee shops across the country,” says RoadTrip’s Anthony Rangel, and those beans are delivered right to your front door.
Building a startup is a new experience for the RoadTrip team, motivating them to seek the guidance available at every stage of the process through an accelerator. Since entering Lumos, RoadTrip has already seen a pivot. The business originally planned to offer a monthly subscription service for craft beer, but the team quickly realized the legal restrictions of shipping alcohol across state lines would have made for an unreasonable price point. Rangel says it’s something they would have discovered eventually, but many hours and dollars down the road if not for Lumos.
Smart City Supplies
Smart City Supplies is making its way from one business building program to another. Created during the Smart Cities Hackathon in early May, Founders Tammy Smith and Greg Shak headed to the event to brainstorm solutions to help the city, and meet folks with the same passion for Columbus. They left with a potential high-growth business and invitation to join the Lumos accelerator.
“We are looking to build a SaaS product helping not-for-profits and restaurants manage food and basic goods waste by gaining real-time supply chain information,” Smith says. “People living in food insecurity will be helped with this solution, as well as not-for-profits or businesses that will save on operational costs related to perishable goods loss/waste.”
Smart City Supplies is in the product discovery phase with hopes to launch an MVP in late summer or early fall.
If you just really hate cleaning your bathroom or your kitchen, Zyp might just be the answer to your cleanly prayers. Zyp offers on-demand, area-specific cleaning services, starting with a single room like the aforementioned, all the way up to a once over of an entire abode.
But, the service isn’t available in Columbus just yet. Zyp is trading Boston for NYC for its headquarters, where it will also launch its services, with the accelerator hopefully providing the means for expansion to bring the platform to cities like Columbus.
Founder Murray Bibas says Zyp discovered Lumos through AngelList. They had been gaining traction with other accelerators, but saw many advantages to Lumos’ smaller class size and approach of, “We look at ourselves as a temporary co-founder versus here’s some cash and a little bit of mentorship,” Bibas says.
Many unbanked or underbanked individuals have limited options when it comes to needing a few extra dollars. Traditional banks don’t loan small amounts, leaving friends and family or predatory payday/title loans. SoLo looks to bring a better option to the scene using a social credit scoring system to help lenders determine the creditworthiness of borrowers for micro-loans of up to $1,000. And, SoLo loans can help a borrower build their credit.
Based in NYC, Founder Travis Holoway discovered Lumos through an acquaintance. He was attracted to how cost effective it is to start a business in Columbus versus NYC. He could find a strong level of talent at a more affordable price. Holoway has also been impressed by Columbus’ emerging scene of young entrepreneurs, as well as the growth and development of the city.
SoLo hopes to launch its MVP by the end of the month.
Auto accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers in the U.S. As parents to teen drivers, the DRVN team wanted to know what caused this startling statistic. Research pointed to the mandatory 50 hours of “supervised” drive time. Supervised doesn’t necessarily mean experienced instruction. Add in self-reporting, and there’s a possibility of fudged numbers.
To better prepare teens – and parents – to hit the road, DRVN aims to build the first comprehensive platform focused on providing both parties the tools to establish safe driving behavior. A mobile application will not only give parents a way to automatically log hours, but also a framework to coach teens through their hours on the road.
In pursuit of the MVP, many of the members of the team are also employed at CNTXT Digital, and DRVN means building something for themselves instead of just for their clients.
Did you know the dog poo cleanup business is a $6 million industry? Ground Crew hopes to add to that figure.
“For $9 every week we clean up what the dog leaves behind,” says Co-Founder Patrick Beal. He and Brian Bachir entered the accelerator with a brand new idea and in the first few weeks, have already picked up customers.
It was an article about the millions of dollars the niche dog doo business was pulling in that pointed the duo in that direction. Digging into the story more, they found that many competitors operate on a franchise model that costs time and money to get started. Ground Crew will use technology to undercut costs and connect folks in need of work with people that want to free their yard of land mines.
Autoimmune Citizen Science
For many individuals with chronic illnesses or autoimmune diseases, a trip to the doctor’s office often doesn’t equate to feeling better. As AICS Founder Vivek Mandan explains, it becomes a self-driven health journey with lots of research and lots of experimenting.
“They are their own guinea pig to see what’s going to make me feel better,” he says.
AICS will provide a centralized database of quality information for those with chronic conditions to make better informed decisions about treatment options. That data can also be used to drive better research to close the doctor-patient gap.
Rev1 directed AICS to the Lumos Accelerator. Mandan says they knew there was a very clear problem (rogue research), but the solution felt unwieldy. The accelerator will help the platform narrow in on its market.
For more information on the Lumos Accelerator, visit lumosinnovation.com.