Tom Stewart, Conquer Accelerator’s Program Manager, discusses season two, first-ever Demo Week Road Show
After nearly ten intense weeks of concentration on their companies, the Conquer Accelerator’s second season is fast approaching its summer finale. The 2017 teams are AvidCor, Horizon IQ, Prndl, and Urū. Kicking off on June 5th, the ten-week program is preparing this year’s cohort for a first-ever Demo Week Road Show. With just a week to go, Conquer’s communications manager, Aaryn Richard, sat down with program manager, Tom Stewart, to ask some questions.
So, Tom, we’re almost done with year two for Conquer. How does 2017 differ from 2016?
This year, we’ve encouraged our cohort to spend more time together. We want them to look to each other for support and inspiration, creating a deeper, richer community and a sense of collegiality. This has allowed our leadership team to offer encouragement, mentorship, and advice, while making space for these motivated individuals to rely on one another.
How has Conquer grown?
We’re a young program, so with a year’s experience under our belts, we’ve concentrated on growing the ways in which our Michigan State alumni and business experts engage with the cohort. These experts—along with their passion, knowledge, and support—are tremendously valuable to both the cohort teams and our team, and we are beyond grateful.
Can we give a recap of the teams?
Of course! This year’s four teams are motivated and on the move:
• AvidCor is an innovative digital health company with a mission to make cardiac monitoring available to all by making it easy to use and affordable. AvidCor develops cutting-edge IoT sensor devices and analyzes captured signals using artificial intelligence. The company’s first product is a clinically proven cardiac monitor that provides real-time alerts to patients and doctors when AFib is detected.
• Horizon IQ provides its users an innovative way to find a restaurant, bar, or coffee shop without having to deal with annoying, long lists. With a messenger-based interface, which feels like chatting with friends, Horizon IQ connects users with unique, tailored recommendations and encourages the explorer in all of us.
• Urū creates a sport-specific, universal platform, connecting global, athletic talent with teams looking to fill their rosters. Urū makes navigating the global sporting world easier, empowering players and coaches and providing a space to connect.
• Prndl helps users find their parking spaces ahead of time, taking the headache out of excursion. By letting users rent out their own, unused, private spots, anyone can earn money from parking with this new app.
When can people see these teams pitch?
Last year Conquer’s maiden voyage, we thought an East Lansing event would serve our teams best. This year, we wanted to expand our reach and take the teams on a Demo Week Road Show. These three events are free and open to the public, and we are encouraging everyone from MSU alumni, the investor community, as well as our collaborators to come out, attend, meet the teams, enjoy some free light food and drinks, and hear these pitches.
We’ll kick off the Demo Week Road Show on August 15th, in East Lansing, at the MSU Hatch. Those interested in this event may register here: bit.ly/ConquerDemoEL. Then, we’ll head to Detroit, on August 16th, where we’ll be hosted by The Loft at 1420. Registration for the Detroit event can be found here, bit.ly/ConquerDemoDetroit. Finally, we’ll be taking the teams to Grand Rapids, on August 17th, to give their final pitches at Start Garden. Those wishing to see these pitches in Grand Rapids should register here: bit.ly/ConquerDemoGR. (Please note, all Bitly links are case-sensitive.)
Where can people find us on the interwebs?
We can always be found at www.conqueraccelerator.com, and would love to see folks follow the journey on our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Tom is a professional manager and business coach, with expertise in organizational design, program design, and operational strategy. Over the last decade, he has provided consultation to hundreds of organizations, many of which were new or emerging small companies. Tom is responsible for identifying and evaluating investment opportunities, structuring and negotiating transactions, managing due diligence, and working with portfolio company management teams to execute strategic growth initiatives. His efforts have resulted in nearly $25M in new client revenues, 100+ new jobs, and over $5M in external funding for his portfolio. As Conquer Accelerator’s Program Manager, Tom’s hands-on style creates an intentional space where entrepreneurs discover and put into action the innovations they already possess, transforming their ideas into profitable, sustainable, and socially responsible organizations.