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WeekWise: One and Two

Class 8: Eight years of OwlSpark! Nine startup teams from two universities, Rice University and the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University. PLUS: eight more teams from the University of Houston RED Labs. Ready or not, here comes another exciting #bayoustartupsummer!

Like most programs these days, we’re hosting our program online. While we may or may not be speaking into a muted mic a few times a day, or heard, “Can you hear me?” more often than not, founders are still fully engaged and digging deep. The first two weeks were packed with discussions of customer profiles, business models, and competitors, plus previous OwlSpark and RED Labs alumni shared advice for maximizing their time in the program this summer and anecdotes about #startuplife.
  • Business models and forming hypotheses around fundamental questions such as:
    • Who are your customers?
    • What job do they want you to get done for them?
    • What customer problems are you solving?
    • What customer needs are you satisfying?
  • Customer discovery and customer interviews:
    • Mapping customer workflows and ecosystems to identify various types of customers
    • Building end-user profiles to better understand customer needs, experiences, behaviors, and goals
    • Seeking out and getting in front of potential customers to validate needs, pains, motivations, decisions, etc.
  • Refining value propositions;
  • Exploring the different types of market opportunities as it relates to demand, industries, and other key factors; and,
  • Early team dynamics and common founder dilemmas
As with any startup, it certainly takes our community to pull this off. Our gratitude and appreciation to those who helped us put a successful first two weeks in the books:
Quinn Edgecombe
Cali Balance
RED Labs Class 7

Thomas Fields
RED Labs Class 4

Sylvie Kalikoff
Starling Medical
OwlSpark Class 7
Connor Leisz
OwlSpark Class 7

Hesam Panahi
Rice University

Jay Steinfeld
Serial Entrepreneur

Alejandro Tortoriello

TeamWise: Bloodhound

During minimally invasive surgeries, surgeons encounter a common obstacle in ruptured and bleeding blood vessels, which can often be very difficult to locate. Normally when this problem occurs, surgeons indiscriminately apply a general hemostatic agent to a large general area, wasting time and resources. If the bleeding becomes too severe, they often switch to open surgery, eliminating the benefits of minimally invasive surgery. To combat this issue, Genevieve Wahlert and Matthew De Venecia created Bloodhound, a technology used to locate and stop the flow of bleeding blood vessels.

AlumniWise: auggie

auggie (Class 7) developed a smartphone app for performers to increase live event merchandise sales that enables the sale of out-of-stock items, makes merchandise easily accessible, and creates a new channel to directly support artists. Today, they are exploring expansion into international markets. In addition, auggie is also developing:
  • A mobile game that allows pet owners to play together in head-to-head Esports fashion. Fundraising is expected to begin this fall.
  • An investment tool that makes researching and purchasing stocks easier for independent investors.

AlumniWise: Starling Medical

Starling Medical (Class 7, previously DASH Innovations) offers a tech-enabled urinary catheter for neurogenic bladder patients, UrinControl UVis Catheter, that allows them to check their bladder pressure and percent change of bacterial colonization with only a single monthly insertion. Today, Starling Medical:
  • Has hired a CEO;
  • Redesigned some features of the device; and
  • Is preparing to raise a seed round to develop a fully integrated prototype and begin animal studies.

WordWise: Overhead at OwlSpark

“You gotta learn to love bad news.”

“...depends on how much I value my baby.”

“This is great. My skin is like sandpaper.”

“Unfortunately, my mom is using the blender.”
“Now I know what to do with my marbles.”

“In the gym taking a squat…”

“I don't think I need to wrap my compound around your isomer.”

“Sometimes you gotta Y.O.L.O.”



What is the best ice cream flavor?

Pistachio (5 votes)
Mint Chip (3 votes)

Coffee (2 votes)
Cookies and Cream (2 votes)

Worth Mentioning:
Brown Butter Almond Brittle
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
H-E-B’s Swoon Selection
Java Chip
Sea Salt Caramel
Strawberry Cheesecake
Washington Apple Pie
What is your ideal superpower?

Always making the perfect joke
Articulating my thoughts 
Atomic telekinesis
Charming situations into the best possible outcome
Knowing the history of an object through touch
Mind reading
Repairing DNA damage and lengthening telomeres

Transporting into a book
Understanding/speaking every language

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