Queritel

Origin: FL | Grant Awarded: 2022 | Status: Active

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What is Queritel?

Committed to helping independent business owners compete and win, Queritel’s cutting-edge omnichannel retail point-of-sale (POS) solution—Figozo —equips SMBs with the ability to reach more customers both in-store and online while maintaining the level of personalization that makes them stand out.

So, how does it work? Figozo helps retailers set up cloud-based catalogs that are updated in real-time so they can have an accurate view of the products they have available, whether they are selling in-store, online, at a flea market, farmers market, or all of the above. With Figozo, merchants can build their online store, configure a slick POS device for in-store and on-the-go transactions, plus offer multiple payment methods, including Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and gift cards, to provide a seamless customer experience. The platform can also keep track of inventory and send updates to team members or key stakeholders (like brands) about items that might soon be out of stock, helping retail merchants efficiently track and manage supplies.

Company Leadership

Shani Bennett

cEO

Shani Bennett is the co-founder and CEO of Queritel, a data analytics engine for independent retailers. Prior to Queritel, Shani was a senior analyst for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), a United Nations agency tasked with helping countries eliminate poverty and achieve sustainable economic growth and human development. Shani Bennett is passionate about human and community development. Shani loves to watch cooking shows and designing logos for imaginary companies.

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Noveil

Origin: CA | Grant Awarded: 2022 | Status: Active

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What is Noveil?

Noveil is a video based dating app for Generation Z college students that uses machine learning to match users. We created Noveil because we noticed several problems in the dating industry such as superficial dating practices, lack of women’s safety, and poor success rates for actual relationships. Our platform solves these issues by allowing users to speak with one another via video chat for 3 minutes before they decide whether or not the would like to match with this person.

Company Leadership

Michael Allotey

cEO

Michael Allotey is an LA native who graduated from the University of California , Irvine in 2021 with a B.S in Computer Science and Innovation. He has experience as an engineer at Amazon as well as Investment banking with Goldman Sachs. He is passionate about technology and how it can be used to improve the quality of life.

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Kendrick Barefield

Co-founder

Kendrick Barefield grew up in Bakersfield, CA and graduated from University of California, Irvine with a Bachelors degree in Mechanical engineering in 2021. His industry experience includes Engineering design with Lucid Motors and Thermal engineering with Masten Space Systems. Kendrick has committed to giving back to the community, serving on the board of the National Society of Black Engineers and participating as a mentor in the 100 Black Men of Orange County.

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JAKAPA

Origin: MO | Grant Awarded: 2022 | Status: Active

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What is JAKAPA?

JAKAPA measures, trains, and tracks soft skills. Bad soft skills are the #1 reason someone will be fired, and bad manager soft skills are a top reason why great employees quit. JAKAPA helps businesses improve their productivity and decrease turnover by providing data-driven answers to 3 of our client’s critical questions about training and engagement:
1. Are my company’s employee development initiatives actually working?
2. How can I help my employees improve their soft skills outside of training and feedback sessions?
3. How do I catch employee development disengagement early so I can intervene before it becomes permanent?
We achieve this using reliable and validated assessment technology, daily soft skill challenges, and an actionable dashboard. JAKAPA gives management and individual employees data clarity around their real-time strengths, weaknesses, and engagement metrics.

Company Leadership

Gavin Pringle

cEO

Gavin Pringle got his entrepreneurial start when he noticed a lack of focus on soft skills in traditional education. This alarmed him due to his experience managing successful teams as a Navy Submariner. Gavin was inspired to found JAKAPA when he learned that bad soft skills are a top reason for employee turnover. He wants to help every business focus on improving their employees’ soft skills by providing frequent measurement, training, and tracking.

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Lisa Riegel

coO

Dr. Lisa Riegel is the chief designer for the Skill Builder Challenge Platform in JAKAPA. She is an internationally sought-after thought leader for program improvement and leadership development. She feels her life experiences as a recruiter, educator, administrator, state-level education policy maker, workforce development consultant, and leadership coach have all led to the development of the JAKAPA platform.

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Keara Pringle

ctO

Keara Pringle is an engineer and project manager. She is an agile project management enthusiast that has taken numerous engineering projects from ideation to full commercial release. Keara is passionate about JAKAPA due to her experience working in Corporate America and seeing what poor soft skills can do to team performance. She wants to help businesses develop stronger corporate cultures through better soft skill training and hiring practices.

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Flora

Origin: IL | Grant Awarded: 2022 | Status: Active

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What is Flora?

Flora was born from pains of horticultural hopelessness: Aabesh De, the Founder of Flora, was killing every single plant in his line of sight. The last straw was when his mother gave him a rose bush plant to babysit: The rose bush withered away in a week.

Aabesh was frustrated that there wasn’t an accessible, easier way to learn about houseplants and gardening, while connecting with other plant parents along the way. Surprised that there wasn’t a “heart monitor for your plants” in the market, started tinkering around with numerous moisture and light sensors in late 2020, and invented the Flora Pod.

He eventually developed the Flora iOS app for launch in July, 2021, which has now grown to more than 125,000 users from more than 190 countries! Flora has now grown to a talented, plant-obsessed, rock-star team of 30 individuals committed to one singular mission: To save as many plants as possible and commit to fighting the climate crisis through connecting millions of people with nature.

Company Leadership

Aabesh De

founder & cEO

A first-generation immigrant and globe-trotter, Aabesh is driven by a lifelong sense of curiosity.

He founded Flora from this applied curiosity, inventing the Flora Pod and developing the Flora iOS app from his frustrations with horticultural hopelessness. He taught himself mobile development (primarily in Swift), and found his calling in building useful, mission-driven products for thousands of people. He previously worked at Microsoft and Etsy, and is now dedicated to saving as many plants as possible and committed to fighting the climate crisis through connecting millions of people with nature.

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Dataplant

Origin: MO | Grant Awarded: 2022 | Status: Active

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What is Disco!?

Disco! (timetodisco.com) is a web platform that enables consumers to explore and book curated group events on demand across a variety of industries. As the category leader of automated group experiences, Disco! is disrupting the traditional event planning process to remove the friction between consumers and businesses and make group events accessible to all. For local businesses, the platform enables entirely new revenue streams, reduces labor costs and connects businesses to great customers.

Disco! offers real time booking across all industries and business types with a “curated” look and feel that consumers desire. With the continued growth of our end to end planning features, consumers will be able to utilize Disco! to seamlessly coordinate all details with their group, encouraging repeat bookings.

Company Leadership

Brittany Dwyer

founder

Brittany Dwyer’s background in the event and hospitality industry combined with her passion for connecting people through memorable shared experiences was the force behind launching Disco! She has over 7 years experience leading large software development initiatives at a startup, digital agencies and a large corporate company.

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DenScore

Origin: IA | Grant Awarded: 2022 | Status: Active

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What is DenScore?

DenScore is a data-driven digital health company that helps consumers make smarter decisions about their oral health care so they receive higher quality, more personalized and affordable dental treatment. DenScore provides dental claims insights to Medicare Advantage plans, insurance carriers and health systems so they can steer members to the most desirable dentists in their network to reduce dental plan costs and member disenrollment. DenScore also offers a web-based application that helps enrollees, employees and uninsured Americans understand their dental symptoms so they’re better equipped to navigate their dental care needs. DenScore’s application benefits users by helping them manage their symptoms, avoid unnecessary dental care, reduce out-of-pocket costs, minimize non-urgent dental-related ER visits and much more.

Company Leadership

Kyle Gernhofer

Co-founder & cEO

Dr. Kyle Gernhofer is DenScore’s co-founder and chief executive officer. After graduating from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Kyle treated thousands of patients in the Navy and private practice. While on active duty, he received the Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal for leading a humanitarian exercise that provided medical care to communities throughout Southeast Asia. In private practice, Kyle was consistently recognized by his patients and peers as being one of San Diego’s top dentists. Kyle started DenScore to help people make smarter decisions about their oral health so they can live healthier and happier lives.

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Charlie Hubbard

Co-founder & cdO

Charlie Hubbard is DenScores’s co-founder and chief data officer. He graduated from Iowa State University with an MS in Computer Engineering and has been practicing data science for over 8 years. Charlie uses his passion for machine learning and big data analytics to ensure that DenScore’s performance-based metrics enable clients to gain deeper insights about their dental provider network. Charlie is inspired by DenScore’s unique approach for harnessing the power of big data to improve oral health outcomes for millions of Americans.

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Carma

Origin: NY | Grant Awarded: 2022 | Status: Active

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What is Carma?

Carma is a first-of-its-kind vehicle services marketplace that connects car owners with car repair shops to help consumers save big on auto repair and empower local mom-and-pop businesses to earn the revenue they deserve.

Company Leadership

Muhammad Alasgarli

founder & CEO

Prior to founding Carma, Muhammad worked as an investment banker at Rothschild & Co. and Perella Weinberg Partners in New York City, where he executed mega-cap mergers & acquisitions for publicly traded auto-tech companies, automotive OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, and related auto service providers. He has worked on over $60B of cumulative transactions for notable corporate clients such as Carvana, Honeywell Transportation Systems, and various stakeholder affiliates of Hertz Rent-A-Car.

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Nebula Media Group

Origin: PA | Grant Awarded: 2021 | Status: Active

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What is Nebula Media Group?

Nebula Media Group is a full-service website and content accessibility consultancy for small and mid-size businesses. From WCAG to ADA compliance, our ‘accessibility-as-a-service’ platform combines people, technology, processes, and legal expertise to help attain and maintain true accessibility for our clients. Let’s build a more inclusive web, together.

Company Leadership

Will Bubenik

Founder

Will Bubenik is a St. Louis native and has three siblings with intellectual disabilities. Seeing his siblings struggle to use the internet showed him that it wasn’t that his siblings weren’t able to access the world…it was that the world was made inaccessible to them. Nebula was born from that experience. Will is an avid sports fan and a proud Temple University alumni, having professional experience with Special Olympics International and the Philadelphia 76ers. Ask Will about Philly sports!

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Harmonee

Origin: MO | Grant Awarded: 2021 | Status: Active

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What is Harmonee?

Harmonee is a simple app bringing communities together around a common purpose. Relationships between businesses and consumers are currently failing to fulfil either’s most important motivations. Harmonee realigns the relationship around shared values by matching both sides to nonprofits they have in common. In the app a business posts a question to a specific group of people and pledges a donation to a nonprofit that the group supports. People answer the question, giving the business insight and easily supporting the nonprofit they care about. Nonprofits collect donations and return meaningful value to the community. In this cyclical model businesses build strong relationships with their customers by listening well and sharing ownership. Nonprofits earn passive income and build deep support systems. People get to easily fund work they care about and help everyone come together to achieve their goals.

Donald M. Suggs Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award

Company Leadership

Tara Nesbitt

co-Founder & CEO

Tara is an experienced strategist and marketer. Passionate about data and people, she understands the relationship between each component of a community. With over a decade of experience, Tara has learned how to make data relational. She knows that numbers on a page represent real people with complicated dreams and companies with the ability to do much more than turn a profit.

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Justin Trusty

co-Founder & CTO

Justin is an experienced entrepreneur and solution architect. He has worked in the data & consulting space for over a decade and has broad expertise across multiple cloud providers as well as in a variety of industries. He is passionate about data platforms, product management, and solution architecture.

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David Rygiol

co-Founder & CCO

David is a designer who has spent the past decade working with small businesses and nonprofits to build brands that connect with their audience. He also co-founded his own nonprofit that organized large groups of designers to collaborate on projects for social good.

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Involved Industries

Be a Part of the Movement

We champion extraordinary entrepreneurs to create positive change – for St. Louis and for the world. Join us by applying to our Global Startup Competition, becoming a financial supporter, volunteering your time or amplifying our message.