Demo Day: Victory Spark
With over 50 members in the network, many running multiple accelerator programs each year, our team has the opportunity to attend a lot of demo days. Just as each member accelerator has their own unique qualities and flavor, we’ve noticed these assets playing themselves out in demo days as well. We greatly enjoy attending demo days and seeing their different characteristics, we think this experience was worth sharing.
Victory Spark is unique to the network as it is the only accelerator exclusively for U.S. Veteran-led businesses. Wisconsin-based VS is headquartered in Milwaukee and has an additional branch in Madison. This is the first session, teams and demo day in the Victory Spark program.
Victory Spark held their demo day at Lakefront Brewery, in a beautiful exposed brick, German style beer hall. Certainly a fitting venue to showcase everyones’ favorite Milwaukee character traits: beer and cheese. Over 200 mentors, investors, members of the Milwaukee start up community, government officials and representatives, and of course, program friends, family and fans attended the event.
The evening opened with a brewery tour of Lakefront for teams and invited guests. Next was an hour of networking and hors d’oeuvres, followed by the pitches. The evening closed with an additional hour for networking, visiting teams at display tables to learn more and additional beer tasting.
7 teams were presented at the inaugural demo day. Each pitch lasted roughly 4 minutes and Victory Spark Managing Director Nick Weichart even encouraged attendees to hold presenters to the time limit. Luckily, no heckling was needed this time.
Each team had an introduction from Nick, who welcomed each team to the stage by sharing the Founder’s rank and branch of service (some of whom were actively serving) and speaking briefly to the character of the Founder.
While pitches did vary slightly, most followed a 4 part format: background on the team, identification of the problem/need, the product/solution and an ask to the audience. When it came to the asks, requests were varied. While a few teams are raising rounds and asked for investment interest, just as many teams prioritized requesting mentorship, aid in developing specific relationships (industry or individual) or help from the audience to recruit and register to become users.
Meet the 7 Victory Spark 2012 teams:
PropertyVets trains & employs Veterans to be successful in residential property management. PropertyVets rehabs, maintains & manages single-family homes as rentals in the Milwaukee area.
HairSlayer is a social recommendation network exclusively for hairstylists, barbers and their clients.
Pilot Training System
Pilot Training Solutions LLC develops state of the art flight simulation & training software focused on cost-effective training & safer flying.
Everfire is a unique game development company that specializes in indie game development.
EASENET provides customers an alternative to natural gas through biomass processors using renewable fuels.
Nighstir is a free mobile, social networking app for students that allows users to create, plan and share night-time activities.
U The Center
U The Center is an educational web platform where everyone is an Innovator, Researcher and Resource.
You can view an album of photos from the event on Flickr here.