Pivotal Moments for COHORT-12

CDC
Not that CDC

We want to assure our readers that we have been closely monitoring the situation at the Center for Harbor Entrepreneurs and maintaining daily contact with experts at the CDC.  Given the severity of ongoing viral events, it seems likely that a new batch of fledgling start-ups at the Lowcountry’s finest accelerator program will need to pivot at least once if they want to socially distance themselves from the competition.  To assist, we have assembled our crack team, the Shrimp And Bits Business And Innovations Team (BAIT), to offer high-quality recommendations on how each COHORT-12 company should adapt to current events. 

Loan Doctor

Loan Doctor is an innovative financial services company that helps healthcare professionals with all of their financial needs, ranging from buying a practice, commercial real estate, mortgages, student loan refinance and more, by offering them the best rates. It also offers a unique savings product that allows clients to boost their savings by earning an interest much higher than traditional banks, currently at 6% APY for a 1 month, renewable CD. 

This is not your usual HEC participant.  They claim to have facilitated 650+ million dollars in loans and have no clear connection to Charleston. All arrows point towards West Palm Beach, indicating this may be the brainchild of medical retirees more so than youthful entrepreneurs. Possibly they wanted to plant a flag in Charleston to have an excuse to visit Kiawah’s golf course? Whatever the reason, they have swum into our waters and we wish them the best in their efforts to financially inoculate doctors in these contagious times.  We do have a an issue with the name, though.  “Doctoring” a loan sounds a bit too much like “cooking” the books.  We suggest trying on more respectable sounding alternatives like “Medical Moola” or “Medicine Man Wampum”.

Pivot Opportunity: Tweak the brand, work on that backswing.

The Rook

The Rook is the ULTIMATE party tool. College on a keychain. Featuring a gravity bong cap, portable pipe, bottle opener and beer shotgunner, The Rook is standard issue for every weekend warrior. Unlike any other, The Rook has a screw on lid to safely and securely transport your “unmentionables” and is designed durable to keep up with your active lifestyle. The Rook (Dutch trans: “smoke”) is the affordable, portable solution to all your party problems. The lake, the slopes, the beach or even just the backyard. Make Your Move to The Rook, the hidden key that unlocks fun anytime, anywhere. 

This company is so millennial that they left Twitter before it was a thing.  If it turns out that medical marijuana is the cure for Corona-virus, then this outfit will be bing-bonging their way to mad profits very soon, so no pivot needed here at all.  Rumor has it that future products will include an equestrian themed beer bong called “The Knight”, a Catholic-themed spoon and dropper called The Bishop, and (no doubt a nod to your correspondents) a margarita straw to be known as The P(r)awn.

Pivot Opportunity: None needed, smoke on you crazy diamonds.

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By PaleoEquiiOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Cambrian Research

Cambrian Research is an American Company, which strives to improve the lives of the people by innovating, simplifying, and combining manufacturing processes, allowing any person to have access to their own portable factory.

From what we can gather, these recent Citadel grads are trying to build a 3D printer called Evolve onto which one can attach a variety of so-called “toolheads”, or “knobs”. The pivot opportunity here is clear.  Nobody wants to touch nothin’ these days, especially their own face.  Evolve should devolve to a general purpose facial interaction platform that can scratch noses, pop zits, extend eye-lashes, and contour cheeks. 

On a side note, we are strongly in favor of the Cambrian brand, as it harkens back to a time when we ruled the seas.

Pivot Opportunity: Eschew 3D printing in favor of 3D primping. 

MPower6

mPower6 is a fundraising company geared towards sports and extracurricular programs. Fundraising is a must for most programs. Rather than sending our youth door-to-door selling unwanted items, we build a web page to rally supporters for online financial support through our secure app. This process has proven to save precious time for the coach and athlete, and is much safer for our youth. Most importantly, mPower6 makes each fundraising campaign a growth experience for our youth by connecting them with a charity partner of their choice. We feel it is important for our youth to get involved in the community. Therefore, any organization that utilizes mPower6 as their engine to raise funds – must give back through either a donation or community service.

Firstly, let us congratulate these entrepreneurial do-gooders on their short domain name.  They saved mp6.io from becoming yet another JS framework combing the ubiquity of Lua and the expressive clarity of Lisp.  (Don’t get any ideas, Wilson.) 

Current corona chaos puts this company in serious need of a new direction. Almost every activity they target has been put on ice by physical distancing protocols.  But what if there was another way? What if they could help kids raise funds through the vector of solitude? I can think of any number of parents that would pay their recently-housebound offspring a handsome sum if they would just disappear for a while. 

We recommend moving fast into the soon to explode “I’ll give you 20 bucks if go to your room for an hour so I can have just one work call without your whining in the background” space.  Nobody will want to be a Johnny Come Iso-lately to this boom.

Pivot Opportunity:  “Paid leave” for minors.

Social Circle

Our mission is to help create a social network where all the fear and anxiety of meeting and interacting with new people is replaced instead by a confidence that anybody, regardless of who they are, can go out into everyday situations and feel confident they will make new friends.

Strange for a ‘social’ startup to have a Twitter account but no tweets (at time of writing).  Anyway, here is the hero image from the Social Circle site:

They are trying to draw out introverts with the promise of being included in a large group of multi-ethnic 20 somethings with perfect teeth and ever-so-precise hair ready to pounce! It’s making me wish I hadn’t left the creek this morning. And who sits around outside wearing rolled-up flannel in a non-screened enclosure?  This is Charleston; heat, bugs, rain – pick at least two.  We suggest turning down the social and turning up the circle. Wearable physical barriers enforcing separation are a hot item right now and I’m sure millions of monied singles would love a stylish and omni-present reminder of how close is close enough.

Pivot Opportunity: Roll into being #1 in Human Hamster Balls.

Thaut

Thaut is a strategic thought leadership marketing program and app-supported managed service developed with experts in artificial intelligence, neurolinguistics, marketing, media and software development.

We are going to charitably assume that this semi-established company is not aware of a relevant homophone.  Marketing as we thaut we knew it is dead.  We suggest that these “experts in artificial intelligence, neurolinguistics, marketing, media and software development” consider a tiny little move away from cross-breeding buzzwords and instead focus on large feline predators. 

Pivot Opportunity: A new slogan – “I thaut I taw a puddy tat!”

IEP Answers 

IEP Answers is an innovative online educational platform to assist special needs families through the often complex IEP process.  Founded by the father of a child with Autism, we knew there had to be a better way for families to best represent the needs of their child.  Each review is completed by a licensed special education teacher from the family’s state, this ensures a local expert is assisting. Make your IEP process easy as PIE, use IEP Answers!

This is a company that helps families with special needs children get the best education available.  It is a “veteran owned business proudly based in beautiful Charleston”. You might think that the muckrakers and fun-makers at S+B Publishing might choose not to make this worthy cause the target of scathing satire.  You would be right.

Pivot Opportunity: Feels fine just the way it is.

Bag Valet

Charleston’s Mobile Luggage Storage Solution! We aim to assist visitors bridge the gap between lodging accommodations and flights by offering the convenience of curbside pick-up and delivery of your luggage. Ultimately taking the ‘lug’ out of luggage! 

Founded by a bona fide Connecticut-educated Yankee, this biz operating since 2018 moves around the carpet bags of destination wedding guests within our fair city.  I guess heavily perfumed New Jersey-ites have difficulty toting their belongings from the rehearsal dinner to the hotel to the church then on to the reception then to make a mess of themselves late on King Street then to the farewell breakfast in the cold light of Sunday.  Given quarantine restrictions on out-of-towners, and the social stigma of destination knot-tying, Bag Valet should regroup as “Sack Assistant” and provide just-in-time sanitization for the awkward moment between arrival of the delivery guy and taking possession of the food.  A timely spray and a wipe will bring confidence to an otherwise awkward transaction.

Pivot Opportunity: Spray & Pray

In conclusion…

So let’s get out there and turn this crisis into an opportunity, cohorters.  There’s a lot to do and with everybody sitting at home and all. You’ve got a launch runway like no other.   Get to work and leave the thinking to us!

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