Omaha’s First E-Commerce and Saas Technology Startup Accelerator Announces Demo Day

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Seven tech startups and more than 100 investors will face off during a ‘Shark Tank’ themed Demo Day in Omaha, Neb., on October 3.

Straight Shot Accelerator Fait Larson

Straight Shot Managing Director Faith Larson opens a Speak Easy with an update on the accelerator's progress.

The startups have a shared sense of urgency, leading them to form critical partnerships, launch new client campaigns, and tirelessly attack development with great diligence since the program began last month.

Omaha’s first tech accelerator, Straight Shot, will host a "Shark Tank" inspired Demo Day on October 3, and many of the venue’s 400 seats have already been reserved by some of the Midwest’s most notable investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders. Among the "Sharks" participating in the investor panel are Dave Knox of The Brandery and Blair Garrou of the Mercury Fund.

The impressive progress made by the seven startups halfway into the e-commerce and SaaS accelerator has attracted best-in-class mentors and spurred early interest from the investment community.

"The startups have a shared sense of urgency, leading them to form critical partnerships, launch new client campaigns, and tirelessly attack development with great diligence since the program began last month," said Faith Larson, Straight Shot’s managing director. "We are thankful for the support from our mentors and the investment community thus far and are confident the startups will delight them on October 3."

The Midwest’s only e-commerce and SaaS accelerator received more than 365 applications from startups around the globe and, after a thorough vetting process, offered only seven founding teams the opportunity to participate in the 90-day program in Omaha, Neb.

Those seven startups include:

BusinessExchange – a referral SaaS model that allows small businesses to make evaluations of, connections with, and recommendations for other small businesses as vendors and/or suppliers. BusinessExchange recently launched a pilot program with the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce that aims to spur economic growth and increased collaboration among Chamber member companies.

BuyNow – an e-commerce application that allows customers to instantly purchase advertised goods and services from any TV, print, online and/or out-of-home ad by simply sending an SMS text message. BuyNow has a patent pending for their ad-tech application. The founders are on the cusp of pivotal partnerships with one Fortune 500 media company and a handful of major retailers.

CardioSys – a software currently under development that uses fluid algorithms that will help health insurers, third-party administrators, and brokers to forecast preventable life events and mitigate risk among their client/customer population. CardioSys partnered with UNeMed, the technology transfer branch of the University of Nebraska Medical Center responsible for bringing intellectual property from the laboratory to the marketplace.

Cosmic Cart – an e-commerce platform that consolidates fragmented shopping carts across the web while enhancing the shopping experience for customers. Cosmic Cart allows publishers to monetize their media and retailers to sell their products across the web. Currently, more than 85 brands, six fashion bloggers and five major retailers have signed on with Cosmic Cart.

Crateful – a software that leverages advanced audio and data analytics to help music enthusiasts find the best music for their mood or the moment. Crateful’s technology analyzes each song in a customer’s database by tempo, key and rhythm structure and then allows the user to sort based on their needs. Currently, more than 60 well-known electronic music deejays are piloting Crateful.

Cympel – an e-commerce and ad-tech platform that streamlines online shopping for consumers and expedites the transaction process for brands. An attractive platform for advertisers, publishers, and customers alike, Cympel eliminates the multiple redirecting windows currently involved in the online advertising and shopping process. Cympel’s team has two campaigns underway currently and is showing a positive return-on-investment for each.

HuntForce – a software that enables hunters to become more strategic and successful in their sport by reducing the hours they currently spend sifting through and organizing the thousands of photos taken by their trail cameras. The father-son founding team has established relationships with more than a dozen professional hunters interested in using the HuntForce technology to improve their upcoming season.

Mentors from coast-to-coast

Straight Shot’s mentor roster is a testament to the caliber of startups participating. Mentors hail from Atlanta, Cincinnati, New York City, Portland, San Francisco and, of course, Omaha. There are more than 200 mentors that have been handpicked based on the needs of the seven companies.

Some of the most notable mentors include:

  •     Nick Bowden, co-founder and chief engagement officer, Mindmixer
  •     Tracy Britt, assistant to the chairman, Berkshire Hathaway
  •     Johnson Cook, co-founder, Atlanta Ventures and Atlanta Tech Village
  •     Adrienne Graham, founder and CEO of Empower Me! Corporation and Red Shoe Agency
  •     Mark Hasebroock, co-founder of Hayneedle and founder of Dundee Venture Capital
  •     Kelly Hoey, co-founder and managing director, Women Innovate Mobile
  •     Julie Mahloch, founder,
  •     Doug Nielsen, co-founder, Hayneedle
  •     Rick Turoczy, founder, Portland Incubator Experiment
  •     Bruce Hoberman, founder, Proxibid
  •     Ty Harmon, technology fellow, AstraZeneca

As part of the accelerator, mentors and entrepreneurial experts from across the country have joined the founding teams for regular content sessions, Speak Easies and bi-weekly dinners. For a full calendar of events and tickets to Demo Day, please visit

About Straight Shot

Omaha’s first software-as-a-service technology and e-commerce accelerator launched in July and has attracted more than 200 mentors and seven startups. Founders have come to Omaha from San Francisco, Minneapolis, Louisville, North Carolina, and more. Straight Shot sponsors include McCarthy Capital, Dundee Venture Capital, the AIM Institute, Scott Technology Center, the SilverStone Group, First National Bank, and PayPal Developer in addition to several others. To learn more about Straight Shot, its startups, or its mentors and sponsors, visit

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Erica Wassinger
since: 03/2013
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