2018 TLI TEAM:
From higher ed institutions to commercial spaces and more, VenueTourist enables institutions to showcase one of their most valuable assets: their venues! Through various 3D-modeling services, VenueTourist provides both clients and users fully customizable and all-immersive virtual reality tour experiences.
After creating our first tour of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, we applied to the Bager Leadership Institute’s (BLI) Capstone Program focused on evidence-based decision making. We weren’t only accepted into the program, but we were selected to be the London Idea Project. Each year, the London Idea Foundation picks one group from the nine BLI Capstone teams to receive additional mentorship, advisory, and access to an incredibly powerful network. These two early supporters were critical to our success, leading greatly to our early momentum.
In June, our focus was “sell, sell, sell.” Finding incredible success at our own university, our next step was determine the best method for expansion to other universities. Speaking with our primary London Idea Project Mentor, Greg Caplan -- a serial entrepreneur currently running Remote Year -- we determined that creating a Campus Ambassador Program was our best path forward. We recruited students across multiple Universities to help us with sales and expanding our network. This program has been the catalyst for our continued growth, landing us to contracts at universities like Miami of Ohio and the University of Pennsylvania, with many other contracts -- ranging from the Midwest to East Coast -- currently in active negotiation.
At the end of June, we headed out to Chicago for a week-long trip to meet more mentors via the London Idea Foundation. There, we gave additional presentations to its donors and supporters. We spent one day trekking from one incredible Chicago tech company to the next. Truthfully, it was the most impactful 24 hours we have ever had -- hearing the ins and outs of successful, growing tech startups and being able to speak to these leaders about VenueTourist’s future strategy.
We gave our presentation to the London Idea Foundation supporters and, afterwards, received waves of advice, connections, and general help. We even talked our way into a personal tour of the Boston Consulting Group’s Chicago office the next day. When we arrived, we were warned that a few of the consultants had heard we were coming in and were excited to have an impromptu Shark Tank panel. Thrilled to have the ears of 8 incredibly intelligent consultants, we spent multiple hours going back and forth talking about our company, gathering critiques and areas for improvement.
Visit Website VenueTourist.com
QUIRK (FKA KRAKEN FOODS)
2017 TLI TEAM:
Quirk crafts small-batch drinking vinegars made from quirky fruits. They are a balanced combination of apple cider vinegar, tea, spices, and herbs with a touch of natural sweetness. They come in 12 oz ready-to-drink bottles, perfect to grab and go for a refreshing daily boost. What makes Quirk special is our use of quirky (i.e. "ugly") fruits that would otherwise be rejected based solely on their appearance.
With the help of The London Idea, Quirk has undergone 7 months of intensive customer discovery, research and development, and branding. We surveyed over 300 people and interacted with an additional 150 people during our 5 public sampling events. We created key partnerships and developed a unique process that enables Quirk Drinking Vinegars to be shelf stable, eco-friendly, and contain raw apple cider vinegar. We completely rebranded from Kraken Foods to Quirk and created a new website and social media presence. The London Idea has been critical in the foundation of Quirk and we hope to keep working with them well into the future to carry on Adam's legacy.
Quirk was lucky enough to be accepted into a couple different programs. We are part of the Zell Entrepreneurs Program which comes with mentorship and additional funding. We are also part of TechArb, Michigan's primer student accelerator program which runs from January to April. The finals for the Michigan Business Challenge were last week and Quirk won Best Undergraduate Team and Best Marketing Awards!