The third St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) Archangel’s Den Alumni Entrepreneur Contest is almost here!
The five teams selected in November 2020, have embarked on a journey, consisting of feedback directly from the judges as to why they were chosen to compete, and working with a diverse team of five expert mentors to prepare for the virtual stage presentation.
Andi Bamby – Erik Babinski ’13 and Mandy Chan, Co-founders
Founded in 2019, Andi Bamby is a creative agency that focuses on advertising and web-based content creation for small businesses and artists.
“We have been working together on projects since university, but this process has encouraged us to re-affirm our roles and solidify our responsibilities,” shares Babinski. “We have been challenged through the mentorship process, as it has forced us to take an honest look at our business and our strengths and weaknesses. Even if we are not selected as winners for the competition, the experience of meeting with mentors and hearing honest feedback about our business has been invaluable.”
Headsm.art – Carter Sprigings ’15, CEO
Headsm.art is a device that provides real-time feedback on impact force that would improve both player and team outcomes by using a mobile app/web platform and a device within a helmet.
“The mentors ask tough questions and have provided a lot of insight that is easily overlooked. I feel I now have a much stronger understanding of the technical and business challenges ahead,” says Sprigings. “Pivoting was the hardest decision I have had to make – it’s hard to let so much effort go to waste. Fortunately, I was able to reuse most of the algorithms from the original prototype. There are a lot of technological and manufacturing challenges ahead, and the knowledge of a team of mentors will be monumental to Headsm.art’s success.”
Lucidity – Luca Bernardini ’20 and Tyson Lowe ’20, co-founders
Lucidity is a mental health programme, which is designed to evaluate, monitor, and improve the mental health of student-athletes.
"We have learned the importance of changing our minds. Initially, we took feedback personally, as we have put so much time into this business and the cause means so much to us,” says Bernardini. “However, the Archangel’s Den mentors guided us to bettering our idea and unlocking new potentials. It was challenging to arrange meetings because we are currently in different cities and in school full-time, but we have solidified a schedule and have had no issues since. We have already gained more knowledge and experience from the competition than we ever could have asked for. We hope to continue utilizing these connections to better ourselves, and most importantly our company considering the amazing cause it supports.”
Plastic Flux – Hanson Wong ’12 and Mohesan Sreekuladevan, co-founders
Plastic Flux’s goal is to build a recycling studio that produces elegant furniture while providing full transparency of how much plastic is diverted away from landfills.
“As a team, we have grown to be open-minded about what excites the public and honed our business strategy to reflect market traction! Plastic Flux is now on target to build elegant and eco-conscious furniture sold directly to consumers,” says Wong. “One of the biggest challenges we faced during the competition was rapidly building a proof of concept without proper equipment and limited resources due to the pandemic. From this experience, we hope to also gain insight and connections into the furniture and e-commerce industries.”
SHOUT! – Siddart Fredrick ’13 and James Kamelle, co-founders
SHOUT! is a social media mobile application providing location-based discussion threads and groups, SHOUT! is redefining the way local communities interact.
"Being a part of the SMCS Archangel’s Den Alumni Entrepreneur Contest was a great experience for us, marking a milestone in the growth of SHOUT! In the last six months, we have gained invaluable knowledge and access to a fantastic network of industry experts,” says Fredrick. “As new entrepreneurs, the contest accelerated our understanding of how to go about creating a startup and provided us with a strong foundation for execution. One of the challenges we faced was attempting to incorporate significant changes for further development, while still maintaining SHOUT!’s true vision. With the mentorship we received in this contest, we were forced into, and eventually overcame a challenging yet necessary transformation, that allowed for further versatility within our final product. We can confidently say that we came away from this contest with a much bigger and better thought-out vision for our company."
The Archangel’s Den is an Alumni Association initiative that began in 2018 and has provided young alumni starting their careers with direct contact to experts who have paved the path before them.
“Up to now in the Archangel’s Den competition, we have seen the entrepreneurial spirit of our alumni based on their post-secondary experiences,” shares John Walsh ’73, Manager of Community and Learning Partnerships. “Very soon we will see the fruit of seeds that are being planted in the classrooms at St. Michael’s as the school offers more experiential education and design thinking is applied in day-to-day learning.”