The Prosper Startup Accelerator hosted its Fall 2015 Demo Day in Emerson Auditorium in Knight Hall on Wednesday, November 12, sponsored by the Olin Executive MBA Program. The program included pitches from the five CEOs in the Fall 2015 cohort of the accelerator.
Meg Shuff, EMBA Alum and Assistant Dean of EMBA Recruiting and Admissions, opened the program with an introduction and acknowledgement of EMBA alum Mary Jo Gorman, Lead Managing Partner of Prosper Capital. Shuff said, “It’s truly a treat to be part of the energy that’s going on right now in this community. I so applaud Mary Jo and the other founders of Prosper for the energy and excitement you have brought around women’s entrepreneurship, and we’re thrilled to host this. I actually am an entrepreneur myself. I have a communications consulting business that I started six years ago so I am well-equipped to know the challenges of juggling many things and to be supportive of your efforts.”
Gorman introduced the five CEOs of the Fall 2015 cohort, but began with a thank you to their families. She said, “Without you they wouldn’t be here, and they wouldn’t be presenting. So a big thank you to all of you.”
Gorman then explained the mission of the accelerator. “The goal of Prosper Women Entrepreneurs Startup Accelerator is really to promote the success of women by investing in them and also helping them to get success in receiving early stage capital.
“You may know that women only get 1% of the venture capital. There is a lot of research on why that happens, despite the fact that they start many,many companies. Part of what we do in the accelerator program is help our entrepreneurs understand how to navigate through those sorts of areas and work on their business models in a way that will be fit for investment and will encourage investment.”
Potential investors listening to the Prosper Demo Day pitches.
The five pitches heralded a broad range of products including a firewall product from Bandura Systems LLC, medical tourism services through SkyMedicus, Inc. a pharmaceutical intelligence software tool through EDIS Solutions, LLC, a hospital discharge tool through JanusChoice, LLC and a transparent LCD product through Taptl.
For example, Suzanne Magee, CEO of Bandura Systems said, “15 years ago I co-founded a company in direct response to a call from the White House to join the effort to secure the critical infrastructure of the United States. We built a team and some technology in collaboration with the Department of Defense and then spun out the technology in order to bring the Polliwall to the commercial marketplace. And that is through Bandura.”
Each presenter introduced potential investors to the current state of their company, and how venture capital could take them to the next level.
The next Prosper Demo Day will be in April 2016.