New Business Concepts Finalists
Mobilestead provides solutions that enable hotels to integrate mobile guest services into their existing infrastructure to enhance the guest experience. Guests access the hotel branded service from their existing smartphone (Apple iPhone or RIM Blackberry). The mobile device presents a suite of applications which extend the hotel experience beyond the hotel walls. The user friendly and intuitive applications revolutionize the availability of information and increase the utility of the hotel experience. This improves guest satisfaction, lowers operating costs, and increases revenues.
Founded February 2009 in New York City, Mobilestead has built a prototype and is looking to raise the first round of financing by the end Q1 2010. Market Size:The market opportunity consists of, but is not limited to the hospitality vertical. The initial target will be boutique hotels within the luxury segment. The hotel industry in the US alone commanded $139.4 Billion of sales in 2008. In the fast-paced technology driven world, hotels are looking for new features to differentiate themselves and evolve into the future. Mobility provides a unique opportunity to transform their guests' experiences.
Competitive Advantage and Business Model: By leveraging the pool of developed applications and content partners, Mobilestead creates a superior value and revenue opportunities for the hotels. Revenue will come from integration services, licensing, support contracts as well as affiliate partnerships with preferred restaurants, airlines and other vendors that cater to tourists.
Management Team: Ilya Zatulovskiy graduated from Polytechnic Institute of NYU with BS degrees in Computer Science. Marina Slavina graduated from Pace University with BA in Finance and Economics and an MBA degree in Financial Management.
Marina Slavina graduated from Pace University with BA in Finance and Economics in 2006, followed by an MBA degree in Financial Management (completed in May 2008). Marina's interest, enthusiasm and participation in entrepreneurship began during college - while at Pace, Marina was a finalist in the university held "Business Plan Competition" and traveled abroad to India and Eastern Africa as part of social entrepreneurship classes and interests. Most recently Marina worked as an analyst at a start-up Investment Advisory firm, AIREA Group, where she prepared investment proposals, pitch books and business plans for institutional investors, individual investors and the Indian State Governments.
Ilya Zatulovskiy graduated from Polytechnic Institute of NYU in 2005 with BS degree in Computer Science. Ilya started his entrepreneurship career at an early age. As a freshman in high school (1998), Ilya started and operated TopCelebSites.com, at that time the biggest celebrity site directory on the internet. Two years later, Ilya joined forces with a partner in London to start Novasonic, Inc. Novasonic was one of the first companies to introduce MP3 CD Players to North American and European markets. Ilya brings leadership aptitude and knowledge in the areas of web development and web-marketing. Ilya spent 3 years as a Sales Engineer at Nortel where he was the engineering prime for Unified Communications. In May 2007 he co-founded and bootstrapped Camlink where he served as the company's CEO. Most recently Ilya worked in a direct sales role at Verizon Business. He holds MCSE and CCNA certifications.
NewlyWish is a New York City-based online wedding registry service that unites independent brick-and-mortar stores and service providers with local engaged couples and gift givers, providing affiliated merchants with a technological, marketing, and sales platform to access the large and growing gift registry market, and engaged couples a convenient, unique, and personalized wedding registry experience.
NewlyWish was born out of the founders' own registry experience, which began with a search for local stores whose items they truly wanted to include in their registry. When this search proved fruitless they ultimately registered with Bloomingdale's and Crate and Barrel, only to return the majority of their gifts. And theirs is not an uncommon story.
The wedding registry market is dominated by about a dozen national department and specialty stores that provide convenience and selection, but whose offerings are traditional and often unremarkable.
At $19 billion, the wedding registry market is large, perennial, and growing. Annually in the U.S., there are 2 million weddings, and Generation Y-ers are projected to increase the number of Americans reaching marrying age by 20% over the next ten years.
NewlyWish will target the more than 100,000 New York Metro area couples who get married each year and connect them with local merchants who can fulfill their desire for choice with gift items reflecting their personal styles.
Using our service to source affiliated merchants and our purpose-built web-based registry application, couples will be able to create registries that include the full range of traditional wedding gifts (e.g. cookware, cutlery and linens), plus a host of non-traditional items (e.g. artwork and camping equipment), and ‘experience' gifts (e.g. cooking classes and fitness packages), all in one place.
NewlyWish will also offer a range of complementary services such as personalized wedding homepages (recent surveys indicate that more than 50% of all couples now create an online homepage to house event-related information, including links to their registry), social communities, and mobile applications to ensure an interactive and multi-channel registry experience.
We have begun to build our base of engaged couples via coordinated marketing activities that include digital marketing via social network sites and strategic partnerships with local wedding industry professionals, who are key sources of information for overwhelmed couples planning their big day. As we approach launch, we will utilize SEO and a range of PR activities, with a message of personalization, convenience, and support for the local economy.
Our primary source of revenue will be a commission fee from merchants on all sales made through NewlyWish. We require a further $100,000 to launch and support ongoing operations, and project breaking-even within the first two years. Our projections are based upon market data indicating that couples receive approximately 150 wedding gifts at an average price point of $100. Using a more conservative estimate of 75 gifts at an $85 price point, we project generating annualized revenues of approximately $2 million by year three.
Amanda Allen received her BS in Finance from Fordham University and is a 2010 MBA candidate in the Graduate School of Business at Fordham University. She is currently a part-time student, with concentrations in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Amanda is the Founder and CEO of NewlyWish – a company born out of her own wedding registry experience – and has been focusing on launching her business throughout her graduate studies. Prior to enrolling at Fordham's MBA program, Amanda worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for seven years as a commissioned bank examiner and project manager. Amanda serves as an advisor to several Boards, including Fordham Women in Business, Fordham Entrepreneurship Society as well as her housing cooperative, 92 Yorkville Housing Corp. in NYC.
Rob Brueckmann received his BS in Biology and Computer Science from Loyola College and MS in Distributed Computing from Johns Hopkins University's Graduate Engineering Program in 2002. He is the CTO of NewlyWish, with responsibility for the design and development of the technology and infrastructure used to build the NewlyWish online gift registry system. Rob has been a lead application developer for 9 years, involved in every aspect of the software development lifecycle, and has been a Vice President with Merlin Securities for the past 5 years where he built a comprehensive skill set in banking and finance-centric distributed rich internet and desktop application design, management, development and deployment.
Danielle Colamartino received her BS in Psychology from Fordham University and completed her MBA in Marketing Management at Pace University's Lubin School of Business in May 2009. After graduation, Danielle became involved with NewlyWish and is currently the Director of Marketing and Public Relations. Danielle is also a Manager in the Customer Marketing & Sales department at the National Football League. Danielle has held this position in Digital Media Sales since July 2007. Danielle has been responsible for over $75 million dollars of revenue and has built the NFL's digital sales platform to include the league's 32 team sites, NFLCanada, NFLLatino and NFLRush. Danielle has 8 years of experience in the media industry, working in management positions at both MTV and VH1, both Viacom properties.
Robard Williams received a BA from Haverford College and a Masters in Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University in 1996. Robard is a Co-Founder and CFO of NewlyWish. Prior to joining NewlyWish, Robard was a Vice President at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York where he worked for more than twelve years managing the Bank's financial sector risk analytics and internal credit risk management departments. Robard has expertise in strategy and policy development, financial analysis and risk management. In addition to having responsibility for managing NewlyWish's financial strategy and associated risks, Robard contributes to the development of the firm's overall management and operational strategy.
Raw Athletics is a sports products company that develops manufactures and markets sports products based on all-natural ingredients. Raw Athletics' first and currently only product is Vapor Fresh, a sports equipment cleaning and deodorizing spray based on all-natural active ingredients. Vapor Fresh is currently being used by various collegiate and professional football, hockey and lacrosse programs, with the vast majority being repeat customers. One customer is a very large, very well known sports supply distributor in Michigan – also a repeat customer. In the future, Raw Athletics hopes to have an entire line of sports products that are used frequently among sports organizations and consumers alike.
Raw Athletics has proven over the past year that Vapor Fresh is a profitable product, and has decided to start the process of scaling up production effective immediately in order to meet market demand. The process of scaling up is a very time-consuming and capital-intensive process, which mainly involves identifying new business partners, including formulation laboratories and contract manufacturers. Raw Athletics has already begun the process of re-formulating Vapor Fresh in preparation of larger scale production, which should take about two months. Once that project is complete in mid-January, Raw Athletics will be in position to begin selling Vapor Fresh to many more sports distributors – distributors Raw Athletics have not been able to pursue due to lack of manufacturing capacity. At the same time, Raw Athletics also plans to begin bringing Vapor Fresh to the consumer market by pitching it to large retail chains such as Sports Authority, Dicks Sporting Goods, Target and Wal-mart.
In order to evolve as a company, Raw Athletics needs an infusion of capital for a number of necessary projects. First, Raw Athletics would like to begin with product line extension by bringing a second product to market – a laundry detergent specifically for sports jerseys, athletic undergarments and workout apparel. This type of laundry is typical for athletic equipment managers every day, yet no laundry detergent has focused on this aspect of the market. Raw Athletics already has the business and customer network to quickly and successfully bring a sports laundry detergent to market. Secondly, Raw Athletics need capital to facilitate bringing Vapor Fresh to large scale production once re-formulation is complete. Minimum runs for manufacturing are anywhere from 200 to 500 units, which would be a large initial investment if sales have not been made prior to manufacturing. Finally, Raw Athletics would like to be synonymous with sports and athletics, similar to Nike, Under Armour and Adidas, just in a different industry. In order for this to occur, a complete renovation of the Raw Athletics and Vapor Fresh websites, as well as all marketing materials, would be necessary.
Stephen Steinberg is a senior at the University of Maryland. Mr. Steinberg is a full-time student working towards earning his Bachelor of Arts in Economics with a minor in Rhetoric, and is expected to graduate in May 2010. Mr. Steinberg is also currently working as an Analyst with Capitol Partners, a private equity firm in Washington, DC. Previously, he worked at Kaplan Financial, a financial firm that specializes in financial planning, wealth management and group benefits. There, Mr. Steinberg analyzed various investment vehicles for their clients' investment and retirement accounts by using Morningstar to review analyst reports and compare key metrics. He also set up and maintained several software packages such as ACT and Zywave to improve the efficiency of operations.