Innovating Solutions LLC – Belton
The Kansas City software development and consulting firm Innovating Solutions LLC put itself on the smart phone app map with AutoCorrect Switch, an app to disable or enable autocorrection on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android devices.
Now co-founder and software veteran Gina Bourret and her partners are trying to raise funds through Kickstarter for a barbecue app called Tappecue.
Tappecue uses probes to measure the temperature of meat or grills. Tappecue then transmits that data to a web-enabled device by tapping into the nearest Wi-Fi network and allows users to set limits on cooking sessions and receive notifications when time or temperature limits are exceeded.
Bourret was so confident about the app’s prospects that she took a prototype to the American Royal Barbecue Invitational, the Academy Awards and World Series of barbecue competitions rolled into one. It was very well-received.
“The invitational was a great way to tell people about Tappecue,” she says. “We knew it was a viable product, but it was nice that people wanted to buy it.
“It’s just been a roller coaster,” says Bourret. “We started work in February of this year and had a prototype in six weeks.”
Bourret says she hopes the app will raise the $50,000 required to bring Tappecue to market, but if not, she says she won’t regret going through the crowdfunding process.
“We will have found out so much more about the product, the cost base, pricing, competition,” she says. “The process will have been worth it.
“We are just so grateful for the SBTDC program,” says Bourret. She met Larry Lee, now at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and director of the SBTDC at Northwest Missouri State University, as he judged entrepreneurial ideas at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Venture Creation Challenge.
“He gave us invaluable advice. He also gave us contacts and ideas on getting the word out on our first app. It’s so great to have someone like that supporting you.”
It’s hard to find commonalities among these and the hundreds of other Missouri firms who use crowdfunding. But one does emerge; these entrepreneurs’ Kickstarter pages and other sites feature clearly defined products and the goals for their funding. They also show potential investors that the company has made definable progress toward its goal by offering videos, photos and consistent fact-filled updates.
One other commonality: All of these entrepreneurs sought the advice and support of SBTDC business counselors who acted as cheerleaders, educators, advisors and coaches as the situation demanded.
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