The FES Start-up Spotlight Program was created to increase awareness, promote collaboration and tout success of entrepreneurial start-ups in our community. The following companies were nominated by FES members and chosen as the Start-up Spotlights for the 2009-2010 season, based on the criteria of being a true start-up or early-stage venture; showing success to date; having relevancy to FES attendees; and complimenting the FES topic area of the evening.
Promise Me Chocolate
Promise Me Chocolate (PMC) is a one woman-owned business, run by Stacey VanWaldick, that was started out of the Community Test Kitchen at the South Side Innovation Center. PMC specializes in hand-crafted chocolate jewels including chocolate gems and gem-shaped truffles with a variety of fillings. Teaming up with Meyers Chocolates of Oneida, her chocolate pieces are produced and packaged there - until she makes the move to her own chocolate shop. For now, however, she has two stainless-steel kitchens in her home where she engineers molds, which are then turned over to Meyers.
PMC has received more than 15 minutes of fame lately, appearing on the Oprah "O List" for the 2009 holiday season and inclusion in the Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine, "Wedding Ideas That Sparkle." From these opportunities, Stacey's sales have soared and with them her plans for the future.
Greek Peak Mountain Resort's
Hope Lake Lodge & Indoor Waterpark
The recently expanded Greek Peak Mountain in Cortland, NY is now a full fledged resort, offering Hope Lake Lodge, Waterfalls Spa and Cascades Indoor Waterpark. While a successful venture as a ski resort, with the addition of 106 condominium units in nine distinctive designs, a family friendly "green" Northwoods style lodge, spa and 41,000 square foot waterpark with over 500 feet of slides, including a three-story tube slide, a 500 gallon deluge bucket, a wave pool, activity tower, and hot tubs, Greek Peak Mountain Resort is truly a four season escape.
A wholly owned subsidiary of Welch Allyn, a privately held leader in front-line diagnostic healthcare, Blue Highway was formed to "create economic value through new customer insight, products or services, policy and regulatory insight, or business models." Blue Highway uses open innovation to reduce healthcare costs, improve clinical outcomes and allow for safer patient encounters to advance the state of healthcare in the U.S. and in developing countries. Focusing on the most effective alliances across multiple projects within technology areas, including Biofilms; Communications & Computing; Green Science & Technology; Imaging; Molecular & Genetic; Neurodegenerative, Blue Highway is active in engaging industry, academia and government agencies interested in diagnostic and healthcare research and is located at The Center for Science and Technology on the Syracuse University campus. www.blue-highway.com
Launched as a spin-off of CXtec in 2009, TERACAI is a leading provider of Cisco® authorized technologies, focusing on "helping customers build, manage and optimize core networking, communication, and data center solutions." TERACAI is committed to providing advanced Cisco infrastructure solutions customized to the needs of each customer with experience, knowledge and expertise in the areas of Advanced Data Center Networking Infrastructure; Advanced Unified Communications; Advanced Security and Advanced Wireless. A Cisco Partner since 1997 and a Silver Partner since 2006, TERACAI has been designated by Cisco for Customer Satisfaction Excellence since the program's inception.
D-Build is forging partnerships between buyers, sellers, craftspeople and artisans through the creation of a reliable online marketplace for reclaimed materials and finished products made of these materials. D-Build.org serves as the central hub where connections are drawn and a vast intertwined network of information-rich, interactive history of building deconstruction lives. Users are encouraged to populate the network with information, from personal stories to historic records, preserving the past of buildings while creating a future for the materials. By closing the loop between deconstruction and construction, D-Build also hopes to serve as a vehicle for "green" job creation in and around Syracuse.
e2e Materials is a clean technology company based in Ithaca, New York that produces petroleum-free, biodegradable composites that are stronger, lighter and cheaper than composites filling landfills today. Further, these biodegradable materials are made from resources, including soy proteins and natural fibers, such as jute, flax and kenaf which are annually renewable and therefore, better for the environment. e2e Materials is dedicated to delivering cost-effective, sustainable materials and processing solutions to business problems caused by the volatility of oil and the need for companies to accept responsibility for the disposal of their products.
Brand-Yourself, the world's first online reputation management platform, is "an award winning toolset that helps users proactively manage their online reputation and promote themselves effectively across the social web." Designed for professionals, the unemployed, the underemployed and entrepreneurs who want to tap into the power of the social media, Brand-Yourself enables users - including savvy job applicants - to make strong first impressions and win opportunities on the web.
graFighters is a web-based gaming experience that enables users to upload hand-drawn sketches of "fighters," and then transforms these sketches into animated warriors who "battle" against the sketches of their friends. Combining intense action and mind-bending puzzles on a massive multiplayer platform, graFighters allows gaming enthusiasts to summon their characters or upload new ones via personal computers and mobile devices, including smart phones.
graFighters was founded by two enterprising Syracuse University students as part of the college's Student Sandbox program at The Tech Garden in Downtown Syracuse, which gave student start-ups a platform to launch their new and innovative business ideas. As a result, graFighters was voted "Crowd Favorite" and "Most Investable Start-up Company" on Demo Day in August 2009. Additionally, The Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce named graFighters as one of Central New York's, "Economic Champions."