WENATCHEE — A navigation service that works inside and between buildings won a $100,000 investment Thursday during the Flywheel Investment Conference.
Cartogram was one of six companies selected from 28 applicants to participate in the competition, held at the Numerica Performing Arts Center. Each competitor gave a 10-minute business pitch and answered questions from a panel and the audience.
Fifteen investors, most from Wenatchee, put up the $100,000. Six of those investors were on the panels that questioned the presenters.
Will Clausen, founder and CEO of Cartogram, said customers include hospitals and sports arenas. Universities could also use Cartogram, he said.
“We did a survey at one of our recent hospital customers,” he said. “On average, folks who spend at least 20 hours inside the facility each week were answering three way-finding questions per day. When you scale that out over an employee count of 5,000, 6,000 people, you’re talking about millions of dollars that are being spent on labor just to help people find their way.”
Businesses pay for the service. Cartogram works like Google Maps, but Clausen said hospitals may have privacy or security reasons not to include certain locations on Google.
Consumers can download a mobile application or use a text messaging service, and businesses can integrate the service into their websites. Receptionists can also print out directions.
Clausen said the investment would come in handy.
“The first thing we’re going to do is probably get a marketing person,” he said. “We don’t have somebody specifically dedicated to marketing. This is my first time here (in Wenatchee). … We have lots of investors here now, so we’ll be back.”
The Flywheel Investment Conference brings entrepreneurs, investors and community members together to offer support for growing companies. It includes seminars, panels and networking.
Competition attendees voted for their favorite presentation. The company with the most votes, Strive Tech, received $5,000 cash.
Strive Tech uses smart clothing to monitor users’ performance.
Nikola Mrvaljevic, founder and CEO of Strive Tech, said Flywheel was one of the best conferences he’s attended and everyone was personable and welcoming.
“Right now, we’re working with a local company in Wenatchee on manufacturing,” he said. “Not many people wear smart clothing today. People have been talking about it for decades now, and it’s finally a reality.”
Both winning companies are based in the Seattle area. They are not required to move to or base part of their operations in Wenatchee.
These were the other competitors:
- Jill Angelo, founder and CEO of genneve, which provides resources to women going through menopause.
- Janelle Maiocco, founder and CEO of Barn2Door, which connects chefs and farmers to buy and sell food directly.
- Symon Perriman, founder and president of FanWide Technologies, a free website that helps sports fans find game watch parties at local bars.
- Scott Ware, founder and CEO of MirrorCache, which uses smart mirrors to offer more secure safes for hotel rooms.