AwayZone with LaToya Johnson

AwayZone with LaToya Johnson

In this episode, I talk with the Founder and CEO of Away Zone, LaToya Johnson. Away Zone is an app built around cultural access that will connect business owners and service providers who represent a racial, ethnic, or religious affiliation or sexual orientation minority group to consumers who are looking for culturally specific experiences. LaToya details the moments that provided inspiration for creating Away Zone.

“I know from my own personal experiences that if I had a tool like that as I was traveling, I wouldn’t have felt so lost.

— LaToya Johnson

The current focus for the platform is based on reaching out to women, particularly women of color, and the LGBTQ communities. LaToya has chosen to start with African American and LGBTQ communities because she is involved in them, and she has plans to expand to all minority groups in the future.

Topics In The Episode

  • Expected outcomes of beta testing the platform

  • Post-beta testing marketing and launch strategy

  • The importance of focusing on women founders as their early adopters

  • Involving the community in the growth of the platform

  • Pitching the platform to Millenials and Gen Y-ers

  • Pitching the platform to businesses

  • Registering your business to be attractive to investors

  • The process of finding a developer, and what to look for when selecting making your selection


Aerotronic with Chris Chance

Aerotronic with Chris Chance

In this episode, I talk with Chris Chance, Co-Founder and CEO of Aerotronic, which focuses on power line inspection and predictive maintenance with manned helicopters, AI. They also design and manufacture our own single-rotor autonomous helicopter. Chris and his co-founder had a very unique journey with creating Aerotronic. He is a helicopter pilot and aerospace engineer who had knowledge about drones and saw a huge gap in the market for hardware with the mission of inspecting power lines.

Chris shares the impact being in Tech Stars has had for Aerotronic and what they learned from that experience. He also discusses the roadmap for the company, and how future expansion both geographically and technologically will shape their growth.

Topics In This Episode

  • Revenue Metrics

  • Different categories of customers

  • Creating a successful business model around an idea or product

  • How future expansions will factor into growth of the company

  • Emerging technologies and their effects on the market

  • Expansion plans and the geographic impact on their value proposition

Open Books MD with Chere Cofer

Open Books MD with Chere Cofer

In this episode, I talk with the founder of Open Books MD, Chere Cofer. In 2013 the FDA approved 1,423 drugs. While that’s an excellent thing for patients, it’s also a very daunting thing for physicians who need to figure out a way to keep up. That’s where medical sales reps come into play. Open Books MD is a digital platform that connects medical practices and the medical sales reps that call on them, for the purpose of creating and managing facetime interactions with the doctors.

Chere’s background as a pharmaceutical sales rep was where the idea for Open Books MD was formed. She then spent 18 months developing the product, and first launched in September 2017. She discusses an experience the company had with a failed launch of their premium product, and how they took customer feedback to rebuild.

Topics In This Episode

  • Revenue strategy

  • Size of the current team and positions to be filled

  • How a larger team would allow for faster growth

  • Failed launch of premium product, and the resulting rebuild

  • Important lessons learned

  • What is currently missing from the market and how Open Books MD will fill that void

Codelicious with Christine McDonnell

Codelicious with Christine McDonnell

In this episode I talk with Christine McDonnell, Codelicious co-founder and CEO. Codelicious works to build confidence in educators and students in the classroom by providing instant access to full semester foundational skills-building computer science curriculum. The curriculum is focused on grades 3-8 that any educator can teach.

Many of them have not had experience in the subject of computer science, and may lack the skill set to instruct computer science. As a result, most curricula in this area is based on free options. Codelicious fills a void by delivering full semester, comprehensive skills-building curriculum and foundationally takes students through the journey of preparing them for a technology pathway.

Topics in this episode

  • Current status of computer science education in schools

  • The importance of understanding coding and computer science in preparation for jobs in technology

  • Common methodologies of teaching computer science. Static vs engaging models

  • Other options for accelerating computer science into the classroom

  • The rapid growth of new technology affects the classroom and curriculum

  • Codelicious is structured to engage students and develop problem-solving skills

  • Pivoting from a brick and mortar after-school model to a SaaS curriculum licensing model

Selfless.ly with Josh Driver

Selfless.ly with Josh Driver

In this episode, I talk with Josh Driver, the founder and CEO of Selfessl.ly, a web platform designed to become a virtual foundation for companies of all sizes to drip their toe in or level up their giving to the community or causes or charities they care about. Selfless.ly works to manage volunteer time off, employee and workplace giving, or any other type of interaction a company can provide, via grants, sponsorships, or donations. Selfless.ly records all of that and report to tell a good brand story.

Josh shares how Selfless.ly was the first company in Indiana to be both a B Corporation and a Domestic Benefit Corporation, and the strategy behind filing as such. Selfless.ly has an interface for companies and their employees, as well as about 150 nonprofit organizations who are able to self-onboard to the platform. And they are also currently in rapid development to finish their SaaS platform to make it easier for companies to self-onboard as well.

Topics In The Episode

  • Current status as a company

  • Company and employee experience on the platform

  • Creating a custom experience for big customers

  • Importance of bringing on a COO

  • Areas of focus as a B-Corp

  • Creating a pitch deck based on your market differentiation