Social Venture Finalists M-Z
TuneButton is a start-up organization whose vision is to prevent the deterioration of music education, by creating the finest music education software for students learning to play music.TuneButton will accelerate learning and bridge what is taught in the classroom with what is learned through practice outside of the classroom. TuneButton will teach theory, ear-training, sight reading, improvisation, instrument maintenance, composition, music appreciation, and notation.
TuneButton develops the whole person and expands cognitive development. Music is considered a fundamental component of human culture and behavior. We want to preserve and strengthen music education.
TuneButton can be used by all musicians. In the U.S. there are over 250,000 private music instructors, over 100,000 elementary and secondary schools in which about 50% of students study music, and over 4,000 colleges with over 14MM students attending, many of whom are engaged in music.
TuneButton teaches music from the most basic level to highly advanced levels.
In order to establish and maintain recurring revenue streams, TuneButton will be a Software as a Service (SaaS). This enables us to leverage economies of scale. An SaaS model eliminates version obsolescence and opportunities for piracy.
TuneButton is unique. It offers video-music lessons taught by real teachers.With TuneButton's Étude Module, the student can play along with software instruments. This reinforces concepts learned from video-music lessons. Video-music lessons start at a basic level and advance in difficulty as students demonstrate understanding.
TuneButton is able to assess a students performance. Notes played incorrectly will be highlighted for review. A more advanced module features recordings of real-instrument parts which must be 'unlocked. Real-instrument recordings are found in the Maestro Module.
Real-instrument recordings obtained through contracts with music teachers will be mutually beneficial; it will be the base of our Media Box and will provide exposure for music instructors.
Marketing and Sales
TuneButton will leverage search and social media to increase Internet presence. We will achieve sales through cold calls, product test-sites, live product demos, and mass emailing. Competition
MakeMusic's Finale and SmartMusic, and Apple's GarageBand do not offer interrelated learning through instructional video-music lessons and simulations with software instruments or real instrument recordings at fundamental and advanced levels. We differentiate by offering a cohesive learning package.
6 Month - Product Release Version Beta; 9 Months - Launch rolling 3 month tests with 4 to 6 test sites;1 Year - Product Release Version 1.0, Make first sale.
We expect sales to generate revenues of $576,000 in Year 2, over $1MM in Year 3, and over $5MM in Year 5. The Future
We envision TuneButton growing toward a social networking platform from which musical instruments, hardware, and private instruction are sold. We will implement a proprietary advertising revenue model, and create the world's largest music education social networking phenomenon.
We are seeking two full-time product developers, a web-developer, a product-test manager, a two person marketing and sales team, and a financial officer.
James Donahue (24), Vice President of Project Development, graduated from Brown University in 2007 with a B.A. in International Relations. Since moving to New York City in August 2007, James has injected his energies into NYC's thriving music scene, gaining valuable experience as an independent music promoter, manager, agent, producer, and practicing musician. He is a co-founder of Search & Restore, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation dedicated to building a sustainable community for jazz and other improvised music by increasing access, affordability, and youth appeal. Search & Restore has expanded its model from a single concert series to major venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The community response has been overwhelmingly popular, including features by NPR, the New York Times, Time Out NY, the Village Voice and Down Beat Magazine among others.
Ben O'Connell Miley (24), President and Chief Executive Officer, graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design. After graduation, Ben began serving on the board of directors for the Miley Foundation researching, seeking, and giving to charities that the foundation feels are a worthy cause and most in need. He is a managing member of Miley Holdings, Llc, a private equity firm that invests in a variety of for profit and non-profit start-ups. Ben has lived in New York City since August 2008, and will complete an MBA in Entrepreneurship at Pace University in New York, NY in May 2010.
There are 300 million consumers living in India's cities, purchasing over $200 million worth of goods and services, every day, from urban street vendors. Everything from fresh vegetables to haircuts to laundry services to cups of chai are bought from about 15 million street vendors through a half billion daily transactions.
The informal market is vital to the urban Indian economy, but however central it is, the market can be made so much more efficient. Transaction and information costs run high, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers and vendors to connect. The challenges faced by vendors in making more than $2 per day, and ultimately escaping urban poverty, are becoming more and more trying.
The VALA Proposition
VALA capitalizes on the unprecedented rise in the use of mobile phones by developing a platform to make the informal market easier to use and easier to trust. Through a simple SMS, a consumer can request any deliverable good or service. VALA identifies the best available vendor to meet this request and sends the vendor to the consumer to complete the transaction. The consumer then rates the vendor based on speed, quality, and price, allowing VALA to continually refine its database of vendors and better serve future consumers.
The VALA Impact
By making it easier for consumers to get what they want and more efficient and profitable for vendors to sell their products and services, we aim to increase the incomes of vendors that use VALA from $2 to $4 per day. Within three years, VALA plans to serve nearly 900,000 low-income vendors.
The Profit Model
VALA has three powerful potential sources of revenue:
- 1. Premium SMS charges to vendors: Vendors are charged a minimal fee for each sale transacted above a certain threshold, ensuring immediate revenues for VALA, while increasing vendors' earning potential. Vala will bring in revenues on approximately 20 million transactions within three years.
- 2. Highly - targeted SMS advertising:With strong knowledge of the buying and selling behaviors of millions of consumers and vendors, VALA will be able to sell highly targeted advertising space with each SMS. Vala plans to send 7.5 billion profit-generating messages within three years.
- 3. Data aggregation
As VALA scales, we will amass an extraordinary wealth of information on informal market players and transactions; information that is incredibly valuable to corporations, policy makers, NGOs and academics across India.
The founders, Craig Edelman, Abhilash Mudaliar, and Ani Vallabhaneni are entrepreneurs at heart.
Craig Edelman, a California - native, is a student of International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School. He has a long history of engaging in social enterprise in the developing world. Craig co - founded Africa Aid, a nonprofit group focusing on improving efficiencies of African healthcare delivery systems through use of mobile technology. For Africa Aid, Craig led the development of a mobile phone platform that allows physicians to communicate for free, thus improving the transfer of medical knowledge, emergency response, and date collection in African nations. From his work, he has a deep knowledge of operating mobile phone platforms in developing nations as well as extensive managerial experience. Craig has worked and lived in India and is greatly familiar with informal market systems. Craig holds a BS in Environmental Systems, summa cum lauda, from the University of California, San Diego. He will be graduating from the Harvard Kennedy School—where he specializes in social entrepreneurship—with a MPA in International Development in May 2010.
Abhilash Mudaliar is an India - native who has lived roughly half his life in each of India and Australia, and is currently completing graduate studies at Harvard. He has experience in many entrepreneurial environments, having started a monthly newspaper with a circulation of 40,000 as a university student and, later, as part-of the start-up team of Unitus - an innovative social enterprise in the microfinance space. During his time at Unitus, Abhilash traveled and worked widely across India, gaining deep knowledge of local markets and, centrally, informal markets, as well as developing deep networks in the social enterprise space more broadly. Experiences in venture capital and management consulting have helped Abhilash bring business tools and thinking to bear on social problems. Abhilash holds Honours degrees in Political Science and Finance from the University of Melbourne. He will be graduating from the Harvard Kennedy School - where he is focusing on social entrepreneurship - with an MPA in International Development in May 2010.
Ani Vallabhaneni, an India - native, is a MBA student at MIT's Sloan School of Management. Most recently, he worked in the Philippines building a self - sustaining for-profit social enterprise providing affordable dialysis care to low - income populations across the country. Prior to the Philippines, he worked in US and India for eight years in information technology as an entrepreneur and consultant, leading several software development and implementation teams in healthcare, BPO, and consumer finance sectors. Ani brings to the team a deep knowledge of building information technology platforms, and using such systems for large - scale data aggregation. His knowledge of the for-profit space in India, adds great value to the VALA team. Ani holds a BS in Computer Science and a BSBA in Finance and Operations Management from Washington University in St. Louis. He will be graduating from MIT Sloan in May 2011.
A major problem in our world is the prohibitively large geographic distances separating people, resources, and opportunities. Friends may be too distant from each other, companies may have a hard time finding efficient employees and customers in different countries, and students in developing countries may not be able to access educational resources available in better-off countries. According to UNESCO, the overall literacy rate of Africa is under 60%, and primary school enrollment was 50% as of 2001(Find the rate for world... Not Africa). Also, unemployment is becoming a serious issue all over the world.
WingNow is a revolutionary social website that innovates social networks. People can establish online identities and interact virtually, bringing people together across geographic limitations. This website will have several major uses: creating social networks on new levels, helping employees and businesses work virtually, and making education readily and freely accessible for everyone.
WingNow's social networking function goes beyond traditional websites like Facebook and myspace. Users are allowed to connect through text, voice, and video chatting. WingNow allows people to have fun with karaoke, sports, and other activities. By making an average webcam into a motion-sensing device will make activities easier and more realistic. Users can also go shopping and watch streaming content such as shows, movies, and concerts with friends.
Another important feature of WingNow supports businesses and organizations by supplying virtual business space and office tools. It will utilize innovated concept of cloud computing and web 2.0 technology. This function will connect customers to businesses, businesses to employees, and businesses to businesses. Businesses can operate with less cost, more efficiency, and they can sell their products and services. Even small, local businesses can become global by connecting with WingNow. Businesses can keep up keep up with current technology and business innovation.
In addition to bringing businesses and organizations together, WingNow can bridge the gap between educational organizations and people, bringing schools online and utilizing free or low-cost educational material. WingNow service is compatible with low-spec devices, so the material can be accessed by anyone with a computer or mobile device. Mobile or internet coverage in developing and developed countries can connect and bring educational services to anyone. Just like the adage of giving a man a fish versus teaching him to fish, we will give people the opportunity to grow.
On October 23rd, 2009, the WingNow.com domain was selected to match with the business idea and is working towards a grand opening mid-2010. WingNow requires an initial investment of $50,000. The break even point will be a year from the release of the website. The services will operate through fees from profit-based businesses and not from individuals or non-profit organizations. This will make sure that the most possible clients have access, especially the people with less than $2000 annual income.
WingNow removes the distance limitation and individual circumstance that prevents people from benefiting from the resources of the world. The privilege of birth and location no longer becomes a determinant to social, business, or educational success. WingNow is the answer.
Sung Hwan (Shawn) Cho: (Born July 29, 1983) is a Korean-born fulltime graduate student in Pace University (June 2010), tutor for Information Systems and Computer Science, and founder and director of NSTech Ltd. In 1997, Shawn moved to New Zealand due to the failure of the Asian economy and problems with family businesses back home. Shawn had a very tough time due to shortages of money, food, and other basic necessities. But eventually he had a vision and started his own business at the age of 15, trading electronics. At the age of 18, he began his education in University of Auckland, pursuing a Bachelor of Computer Science, while making NSTech Ltd global.Meanwhile, his family became wealthy, but his thirst for business remained. He started to work as a manager and computer technician for a number of companies. In 2007, Shawn relocated toAmerica to pursue his higher business goals and to ensure the continuation of his future education. Now, Shawn is pursuing a Master's Degree in Information Systems and continuing to lead NSTech Ltd with a vision of creating opportunities for everyone and to pass along the business skills that can make the world better.
Luisa Marieth Morales is currently a full-time, first semester junior with a graduation date of May 2011. Born and raised in New York, she currently majors in Business Economics, and is pursuing a minor in law. She falls under the Dyson School of Arts and Sciences at Pace University. She is currently working as a student assistant at the Seidenberg School of CSIS, an economics tutor at the tutoring center, and she interns at the Colombian Consulate. She greatly enjoys art, strolls in the part, and independent movies. Constant challenge and growth are key to her long-term success, which is one of the main reasons she is most satisfied with her current field of study.
Igor Pokryshevskiy is a full-time undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, at the Seidenberg School of CSIS, minoring in math and economics. Born in Ukraine, he immigrated to the US in 1995, settling outside Philadelphia. In 2007, He moved to New York to begin his studies at Pace University. In addition to being accepted into the Honors College, he was also selected as an inaugural Seidenberg Scholar. While at Pace, Igor has been involved in various clubs and volunteered in technology outreach programs with local secondary schools. During the spring of 2009, he elected to spend a semester abroad at the American University in Bulgaria. That summer, he began an internship with New York Life in the solutions architecture position. After the 12-week internship concluded, Igor resumed his studies at Pace and continued his previous position as a Computer Science tutor. During winters and summers, he enjoys traveling whenever he can and is planning to backpack through the Middle East. Igor will be graduating in May of 2011.
Advanced Road Hazard Simulator
Car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers and young adults in America - over 24,000 driver and passenger deaths in addition to over 400,000 serious injuries in 2006. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these horrifying statistics have been reduced by about 10% in 2008 due to defensive driver courses and increased awareness of the problem.
The Advanced Road Hazard Simulator advances driver training and defensive driving instruction to a whole new level. The value of training simulators in preparing airline pilots, astronauts, military personnel and emergency responders for critical situations was dramatically underscored by last January's "Miracle on the Hudson" U.S. Airways safe water landing. Using this same training concept, our simulator will prepare drivers for dangerous, and potentially deadly, driving scenarios by allowing them to experience a variety of random road hazards and practice correct procedures and maneuvers to avoid or minimize the impact of traffic crashes that claim the lives of so many young drivers. Facing a life-threatening situation is not the time to think about what you should do – reactions must be instantaneous and this can only be done by practice. Immersed in a photorealistic simulator, the trainee will experience heightened awareness of driving behaviors and external situations that contribute to traffic accidents.
While software based driver training exists, there is currently no product that goes beyond the basics of learning to drive. The Advanced Road Hazard Simulator is designed to pick up where traditional driving instruction ends. With a primary target market of 24,000,000 current drivers in the high risk driver pool and with 8,000,000 new drivers each year, the opportunity to impact the death and injury statistics for drivers in 16 – 24 yr. old age group by simulation training is tremendous.
While primarily aimed at young drivers, this simulation training will have a positive impact on drivers of any age. Our team, a highly experienced project manager, a software engineer experienced in simulation programming, 2 graphic artists experienced in virtual environment design and a former insurance adjustor as an advisor, are creating this realistic and badly needed training environment.
To reach this huge market, we are seeking to partner with automobile insurance companies and driving schools using a licensed software model.
Insurance companies directly benefit by a decrease in number and severity of claims while policyholders can benefit by reduced insurance premiums. By incorporating a scoring model within the simulator, we can provide insurance companies with a metric which they can use to offer policyholders premium discounts for successfully completing training much as they do now for defensive driving courses. Driving schools will benefit through an additional revenue stream by offering advanced training courses. With the trend of high school driver education courses outsourcing instruction to established commercial driver's ed. schools, the opportunity for additional software licenses for classroom use will grow.
Jonathon C. Lentine, a 2009 graduate of the Pforzheimers Honors College at Pace University received his BA/BS degree from the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences majoring in both Political Science and Psychology. Currently a full-time MPA graduate student at Pace, he expects to graduate in 2011.Jonathon is also a member of the International Honor Society, Pi Gamma Mu and a leader of Pace's award winning Model UN Team.Combining his extensive computer knowledge and graphic arts experience, Jonathon became a key member of several online software development groups. With over four years experience in computer rendering and simulation, Jonathon has functioned as lead designer and Project Manager, liaisoning with major commercial game developers. Jonathon's accomplishments are all the more remarkable since he suffers from Autistic Spectrum Disorder. He has been the subject of a CBS News Special Report on Autism in College filmed in part on the Pace Campus. He has also participated in many autism studies at the Mt. Sinai Seaver Center for Autism Research.