Haarlem 2 Harlem – Present your Startup
On June 17, 2018, three startups based in Haarlem, Netherlands and three startups based in Harlem, New York met at the Lenfest Center at Columbia University to pitch their business plans to investors and entrepreneurs. The third annual Haarlem 2 Harlem Pitchfest was produced by Silicon Harlem in collaboration with Haarlemvalley & Present Your Startup .
The event opened with speeches from Valerie Vallenduuk, innovator and director of Haarlemvalley, and Clayton Banks, CEO of Silicon Harlem. The two expressed gratitude for the strong relationship being established between the cities, as well as excitement for the innovations and businesses being aided by that relationship. Vallenduuk then introduced the day’s first startup pitch: MHods, from Haarlem.
MHods CEO Hugo van Dijk began his presentation by asking the crowd to “raise your hands if you think the rent is too damn high.” MHods, which stands for Modular Housing on Demand System, aims to make home ownership more affordable. The project involves building homes using prefabricated units of standardized sizes. Buyers would be able to customize and see a visual of their future homes on the company’s website. Van Dijk claims that these buildings are 30-50% cheaper than conventional homes, while construction is twice as fast. The startup is seeking $300,000 in funding.
The first New York based entrepreneur to present was Bryan Uribe, founder of Yofii. Yofii is a financial advising application focused on helping users eliminate credit card debt. The company analyzes data from over 15,000 banks, including transaction histories, rewards programs, and available offers to automate the debt elimination process. A completed mock-up of the app can be seen at www.yofiiapp.com. The company is seeking $50,000 to fund app development and mentorship for the development and launch processes.
Netherlands-based Maester then showed off their online training and education website. CEO Tim van Pappelendam explained that online training is a $31 billion industry, and his platform uses real-time feedback and behavioral recognition to produce a greater performance boost at a lower cost. Maester already boasts 50,000 users. They are seeking $500,000 of funding over the next two years.
STEM Kids NYC CEO Yvonne Thevenot began by describing her company’s ambitious mission, “To bridge the gap between current school curriculum and the immediate need for schools to prepare students for STEM opportunities and for jobs that do not yet exist.” The startup’s after school programs are offered at public, private, and charter schools, and teach students a wide range of skills, including computer programming and robotics engineering. They also offer PreK, summertime, and teacher development programs.
The winner of the PitchFest, Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao, presented next. Sabine Berendse’s startup aims to help save endangered sea turtles in the Caribbean Sea. They hope to spread awareness of the threats that these sea turtles are exposed to because of human behavior. In reflecting on their accomplishments to date, Berendse says that Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao has already saved over 1000 turtles, cleaned prime nesting sites, and reached 150,000 people with their message.
Nohmad CEO and Product Design Director Shawn Rhodes was the last to present at the Haarlem2Harlem PitchFest. Rhodes showed off his light-weight mobile barber chair and digital platform for connecting clients and barbers, which he hopes will help barbers provide on-demand service at a reduced cost. The kit is available to professional barbers for $3,000. They are asking for $500,000 funding.
The event culminated with Vallenduuk and Banks presenting an oversized check to the winner of the PitchFest, Sabine Berendse and Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao.
Full Slide Show from Event
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