Merrimack Valley Time Exchange
Class: 2014 Winter Accelerator
The Merrimack Valley Time Exchange (MVTE) is a new "time bank" program at the Coalition for a Better Acre." Community members can sign up to become members of the MVTE and after a reference check can choose to exchange services, skills and resources through the "time economy." Members set up profiles listing services they are offering and those they are requesting, they earn "time credits" for providing services to other members and can spend these credits to get services they need from any other member of the time exchange. One hour of service is always worth one unit of credit. As the program grows and new members join the services offered through the exchange become more and more diverse. For more information call Joy Mosenfelder at 978-452-7523 x 815 or email MerrimackValleyTimeExchange@cbacre.org
Sandbox Accelerator Challenges and Successes:
Pro-Diagrams - Has Pivoted Significantly to focus more on professional services... now needs to develop a new test product.
Meet Caregivers - Working on a new partnership with another care management company. Biggest challenge is legal stuff around liscensing, etc...
Merrimack Valley Time Exchange - Successes include new funding and better brand recognition than thought. Challenges include engaging members, particularly building a leadership team and learning to delegate and let go.
Story to Song - met with mentor in person, has new gigs coming up, may have first customer, and working on art and music. Still only has two mentors and how to get people intersted in the product.
Help Around Town - Having a great time working with mentors, however it is also a bit of time commitment to update them and give them work and there is a debate between her and mentors about focuing on just jobs or opening it up to other things.
AreoShipIt - Connected with a WPI professor who has led a team working with autonomous robots who can have students help build a prototype. Has been running into chicken and egg around building a prototype.
RoundShipIt - Was invited to a small group with an angel investor. Had basically a two hour hot seat and was asked some very tough questions and now thinking about pivoting to talk to focus on businesses.
Susu - Meeting with Mentors regularly and pivoting to focus on medical device companies.
Drainage Wear - Almost finished with business plan. Also found a place to do a clinical trial. Challenge is getting a prototype made, need 50 to 100 pieces for trial.
Catie's Closet - has just completed their valuation proposition... came into the sandbox valued at nothing and are now valued at more than $1,000,000. Biggest challenge is putting together a grant plan.
IndigoPixies - Added new elements to the product and had a radio interview for an hour and have rethought social message around helping. Cannot get in touch with one of mentors.
Delightful Surprise - Has been invited to go speak at a college through MassRehab. Challenge is figuring out how much fudge needs to be sold to cover costs. Working on figuring out which flavors sell best.
Mill City Glass - Has made steady progress across the board on all of needs. Has made progress towards getting ready to become hot. Biggest challenge is understanding how to operate as two seperate businesses and create an llc in a way that makes sense. Still planning on doing all bookkeeping. Also, haven't been able to make new pieces yet this year due to working on this. Suggested to outsource the admin stuff and also to try and get a longer lease option.
Heavenly Cakes - Still working from home, working on finding space. Being reffered to Axion for low rate loans for entreprenures. Got accepted at LCW into a program for funding for businesses.
Faux Pas - Changes in strategy on how to execute a market test and position self in market while talking to mentors and customers and is going to focus on accessories at first to cut-out the challenges of apparel until the model can be fine tuned and scaled. Barrier to sign up for accessories is lower. Working on developing advisory board and having meetings with professionals. Made into the design chair at Pratt's office. Still need to figure out tech portion of how this will work.
Hot Seat Pitches (Murder Ball)
MVTE Went first. Had some great questions.
Indigo Pixies - Refine ask, think about where and how you are walking, talk about the uniqueness of product, studies about postive reinforcement
Story to Song - How much can you charge and how many gigs do you need to book, Logistically how will the structure for this work, Really break down costs associated with the business, think about taking yourself out of the business pitch, look for towns celebrating community events,
AeroShipIt - user education and training, prepositioning vs.mobility, service vs. product, possible pivot produce delivery from rural farmers to urban centers, what is the energy source, what sort of range does it cover, what sort of regulations and trust building would you need to go though, what sortof tracking system is on the drone, what are the obstacles and what is the market
Heavenly Cakes - How will you get clients? Leverage your partnerships: LCW, places you have taken lessons, while you are saving up for your own shop can you be a guest teacher offering Spanish language classes, Have you thought about a YouTube Channel, cost to be sustainable, how many hours on producing cakes vs. teaching, how many employees/interns? What potential community partners can you add?