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PitchBreakfast roundup: Why become a founder? And open to more markets

What did you miss at PitchBreakfast last week?

A recent college-grad has developed a program to foster better employee relationships. An app that makes ordering coffee ahead of time a breeze … for every shop that’s not Starbucks. And a civil engineer who helped develop a system to better monitor roads (think potholes, not traffic).

This month we featured three companies in an alternate Pitch Breakfast format. During the event, each company had two minutes (without slides) to pitch followed by fifteen minutes of feedback from our panelists.

The panelist included:

  • John Cambier, Managing Partner, IDEA Fund Partners
  • Brandon Shelton, Managing Partner, Task Force X Capital Management

Be a leader

In a day and age where many office environments are technology-driven, establishing personal connections with teammates has become increasingly difficult. Recent Davidson College grad Shea Parik, CEO of Jam, created a solution to ease what he calls a current crisis of connection in the workplace.

Jam works with human resource departments to collect employees’ personal interests and then integrates with company calendar systems to automatically schedule ‘Jam Sessions’ where groups of employees can connect on a meaningful level around things they care about.

Jam currently has six clients, including an NHL team and a media startup.

While Jam’s company goals were made clear in the pitch, both Cambier and Shelton wanted to know more about him and why he founded Jam.

“We invest in leaders,” Shelton said.

Easy does it

Coffee giant Starbucks makes it very easy to avoid lines with its order-ahead app. Customers can order online, pay online and drop in quickly to pick up their coffee. And thanks to Cloosiv, independent coffee shops can offer the same service to customers.

Cloosive Founder and CEO Tim Griffin said he’s “building a billion-dollar competitor to Starbucks.” Citing 55,000 potential shops to partner with and crediting Starbucks with doing the heavy lifting on the technology, Griffin said Cloosiv’s ease of use for coffee shops is a big draw. “It takes less than five minutes for shops to set up,” Griffin said.

While Cloosiv’s focus is currently on coffee, Shelton inquired about how the model could work outside of coffee. “What happened to coffee shops during the last recession?” he asked.

Cloosiv already integrates with six major point-of-sale clients and is close to signing a 45-location coffee chain.

On the road again

Everyone uses them. Everyone feels when they’re in bad shape. What, you ask? Roads. Chris Sunde, civil engineer and founder of GoodRoads, has developed a device to collect road data so city managers can make educated decisions on funding road maintenance.

With the city of Matthews, N.C. as a client, Sunde is seeking $100,000 to cover software costs and travel expenses while selling the product.

The device attaches to vehicles and collects road imagery through a camera and uses an accelerometer to measure acceleration and vibration. The data is collected and can be sorted based on quality level and frequency of use to determine which roads need the most attention.

While Sunde is marketing the product to city managers to use in allocating road maintenance budgets, Shelton advised him to look at additional revenue streams from non-governmental sources like shipping UPS and FedEx, whose drivers use city roads daily.

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