We welcomed 21 different startup companies to our first-ever CoBuilders statewide accelerator with a launch event in Jackson, Miss., on May 3, 2022.
Each company was part of a selection process that started with one of our seven regional partners. From our partners in Jackson—The Bean Path and Jackson State University—came three of our CoBuilders startup companies: The Skin Consult, Momentum Dryer and iResonate.
Founder Sajani Barot of The Skin Consult says she launched her company after moving from Chicago to Mississippi, which caused her to struggle with skincare issues. The result is an e-commerce and demand-generation marketplace for dermatology and aesthetics. Skin professionals can offer consultations, and customers can purchase products and services using the platform.
“I saw that so many people struggle with the same problems I struggled with,” Barot said. “We’re here to connect others, like me, with professionals who can help them with their skin and be confident. Being here in Mississippi, just such a community-based state, it’s really helped to validate the company and the concept.”
Quantum Flow Inc., founded by Martin McCurtis, is focused on changing the way salons dry hair. Using new technology, the Momentum Hair Dryer dries hair in half the time. The result is increased convenience, efficiency and reduced exposure to heat for the hair, which the company says allows hair to retain vital nutrients.
“We’re introducing amazing products that offer higher efficiency, improved comfort and health outcomes to at-home users and professionals,” McCurtis said. The company uses professional trade shows and strong social media relationships to get the word out.
iResonate, founded by Zeke Fairbank, is a payment facilitator for content creators. Using its “ClickTip” button, content viewers can “efficiently make an impulse donation to the author of the content they’re viewing.”
The tool offers a dashboard for web hosts, content creators and donors, letting everyone see where the money is going.
All CoBuilders startups will work through the virtual accelerator course, which encourages them to hone their product offering, test it with customer research, validate the concept, and work on their financials.
The end goal is Pitch Day, July 28, 2022, when all the participating startups will pitch their company, “Shark Tank”-style, to the general public and Mississippi’s entrepreneurial and investor ecosystem. If they succeed, it could mean significant funding and the opportunity to grow their startup into a thriving Mississippi company.
“We’re excited about this first year of CoBuilders, our partner organizations, and these startups,” Innovate Mississippi CEO Tony Jeff said. “Now they’ve got to put their heads down and work hard in the accelerator to make these ideas bigger, better and, ultimately, fundable.”
CoBuilders is powered by Microsoft and supported by several companies and organizations, including our state-level sponsor, the Mississippi Development Authority. Learn more at cobuilders.ms.