Class: 2013 Summer Accelerator
HPT Engineering specializes in developing innovative technologies for the assistive technology field. We make it our mission to increase mobility and rehabilitate those who suffer from weak core and leg strength. The assistive technology business is growing at an unconditional rate and we have developed and implemented a state-of-the art new technology, The Hybrid Power Tricycle (HPT). The HPT was designed for those who suffer from weak core and leg strength such as Cerebral Palsy and offers the user the ability to feel the freedom of mobility and the joy of riding a bicycle. The HPT may be outfitted for all age groups and can be distributed nationwide. HPT Engineering operates as a small business that relies on personal sales as our income. We aspire to outfit hospitals, rehabilitation centers, daycare centers, and households with the HPT to ensure those with poor core and leg strength may receive the best possible product for treatment and rehabilitation. The assistive technology market is constantly changing and HPT Engineering will ensure that each of our products are ahead of the curve.
On 8/21, the group started practicing for our final pitch. We heard from half of the class, and they amazing! It is great to see how much my classmates have grown their idea or business.
On 8/22, Justin and I did our practice pitch. It definitely has grown from when we started, but like always, we can change some things up. The constructive criticism/advice from classmates and Sandbox staff were extremely helpful and overall helped us make a better pitch. We also heard the rest of the classmates (who did a great job). David Parker gave us some great tips and what to change during our pitch.
On 8/14, we heard from Joe Lane, CEO of SafePath Medical, and Parul Singh, Founder & CEO of Gradeable. They told us there stories of how they got started and some of the troubles they went through. It was very inspiring to hear how just about everyone else goes through some difficulty when creating a start up. One thing that suprised me was how Joe does not have that many people on payroll. One take away was that having professionals support and want to use your device is something that money can not buy and adds a lot of value to your product.
On 8/15, we heard from Raj Melville, Executive Director of the Deshpande Foundation and Principal at Ambient Engines and Brenna Schneider, Founder & CEO of 99Degree Custom & Sandbox Winter Accelerator Winner. We went to 99Degree Custom's workshop in the Everett Mills. It was amazing to see what she has done in just a few months after winning the Winter Accelerator. We heard about the struggles of running a start up and the positive's of running a start up. One take away from the night is to always stay positive and do not think negatively when starting a company because there will be ups and downs.
On 8/7, we heard from Valerie Kijewski, a professor from UMass Lowell. We learned about costs and the different types of them. Some of the costs we talked about were sunk costs (time spent in the business before pricing starts), fixed cost (costs that need to be covered no matter what), and variable cost (costs that can change). We talked about pricing stratagies and how to come up with a cost by either letting the customer decide the price or you having a cost no matter what. The biggest take away from this session was learning about value in use. I believe the best pricing stratagy for HPT Engineering is to look at the next best option and then determine our price.
On 8/8, we heard from Trisha Blanchet, Founder and President of Operation Delta Dog, and David Parker, Executive Director of Merrimack Valley Sandbox. They had some very good stories and words of advice. Some take aways from the night was about knowing the legality behind your business and how every business is different and will be run the same way. Also, something else that I found important was that your morals that you have highley determine the type and reputation of the company.
On Tuesday 7/30, we heard from Steve Coleman, Akiyo Fujii, and Sean Doran, they are experts on law. We heard lots of great tips and advice. The biggest thing that I learned from them was to always make sure that everything can be traced back to a document. We learned about the different types of business entites and why it is important. Also I learned that networking and indsutry societies/organizations are very important (which I already knew), but it reinforced how important it can be.
On Thursday 8/1, we heard from Barrie Atkin and Dan Pullman, experts on raising capital and funding. We learned most of where funding can come from and how to gain access to it. The biggest take away I heard on Thursday is "Ask for money get advice, ask about advice and get money." Also to always follow up after a meeting and ask for referrals to netwrok with more people so oportunities are not missed.
Last night, July 24th, we learned a lot about social media. As we see everyday, it impacts us in many ways from facebook, twitter, linkedin, tumblr, instagram, etc. It is important as a business/ entrepreneur to utilize social media to its max potential in order to further our business progression.
Each social media option has its advantages and uses
Linkedin: Good for B2B and customer relationship management
Twitter: Simple, easy to use, and accessible
Facebook: Popular and business geared
Tumblr: Very visual
Google+: Helps google search engine optimization
In order to be effective, it is a good idea to connect different social media platforms together to save time and get your message out. We should focus on a couple platforms instead of all of them so they can be properly utilized and not overwhelmed. Social media can take up a lot of time so by focusing only on a couple, all of our time will not be used up.
You have to be careful when using social media for a business. Overposting can annoy people following you and flood their news feeds. This is known as “white noise”. Make sure to utilize different apps on mobile devices for personal and business social media accounts so that you do not accidently post from the wrong account. It is also important to make sure your posts do not seem “ad-like” so viewers will not skip over them. Finally, grammar and spelling is very important when using social media.