If you were in the Event Hall at The Mill last night, you know: our member startups have it GOIN’ ON! Five companies who participated in Mill Cohorts, our new pre-accelerator for members, impressed us with some fantastic pitches. Okay, technically, four of the companies are Mill members; we also admitted one student startup from IU. 😉
Five diverse founders presented five diverse businesses in delivery, fashion, travel, translation, and food and beverage.
- Nate Harris: Driver on Deck
- Michelle DiLisio: YonderWork
- Charlie Brizz: BarGO
- Abbey Ho: Befits Tailor
- Diego Achío: Traduality Language Solutions
Nate Harris kicked off the presentations with Driver on Deck. Driver on Deck is a flat-fee, white label food delivery service for local restaurants that eliminates high fees charged by third-party delivery services. It cuts out the middleman by directly connecting available drivers to businesses in need of order fulfillment.
Food delivery has surged during the pandemic, as we all know. As consumers, we like the convenience of delivery, and we also want to support restaurants we love through tough times. Typical third-party delivery services, however, charge the restaurant 25-35% of the order (not just the “fee” consumers see tacked onto their bill)! Restaurants are in a tough bind: if they don’t offer delivery, they’re losing business. If they do offer delivery, they’re losing profit.
Driver on Deck’s delivery solution helped local business Roly Poly triple their delivery sales! (Big thanks to Tom from Roly Poly for catering Demo Night! We don’t know who found the golden ticket in one of the swag bags for a year’s worth of Roly Poly, but we sure are jealous.)
Michelle DiLisio presented her startup YonderWork next. YonderWork is the first service offering curated, 2-week remote work and travel experiences to enterprise customers as part of their employee benefits programs. YonderWork helps companies attract and retain top talent, navigate new workforce trends, and access untapped innovation and creativity in their teams.
Imagine: the place you work offers you a two-week trip to Barcelona, arranges all the details (including hotel, a great place to cowork, and so on). You pay a portion of the cost, the company pays the rest. During the day you get your remote work on, and after hours, YOU’RE IN BARCELONA!!!! Was every person in the audience hoping their employer would sign on with Michelle? Most definitely.
Michelle’s decade of experience running another travel company has laid the foundation for her success. She’s getting ready to fill a sales/business development position, and we expect to hear a lot more from her in the future.
Charlie Brizz is our IU student startup for the spring session of Mill Cohorts. (Thank you to our partner, the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering for helping connect us!) BarGO app provides users with real-time information on cover fees, drink deals, wait times, and crowd details for bars and restaurants. Users access a wealth of information at no cost to them to make informed decisions and plan for experiences that align with their preferences. BarGO already has over 2,000 downloads.
Charlie is a natural on stage and delivered a dynamic and entertaining pitch. But don’t be fooled: BarGO is serious business. It’s backed by AI algorithms and some rockstar advisors, and the technology is applicable to many other industries and users, not just college students planning a night of barhopping. Pat East, The Mill’s Executive Director, told the crowd that he’s seen a lot of bar-related apps come out of IU, but Charlie’s stands out because of its potential beyond the bar scene.
Next up, Abbey Ho pitched Befits Tailor. Befits Tailor is a sustainable fashion brand that connects American consumers with independent tailors and family-run tailoring businesses in Vietnam. Befits uses a very cool body-scanning app to gather each customer’s unique measurements. Befits customers receive custom-made, hand-made clothing that fits like a dream.
And in turn, Befits tailors receive a fair living wage for their highly skilled work.
Bye-bye, exploitative garment factories. Bye-bye, so-called standard sizes that don’t fit actual bodies. Befits specializes in clothing for professional women, and it’s a fact that two audience members approached Abbey after her presentation about the jacket she herself was wearing!
But Befits isn’t just about looking good. Fashion is a huge market, and socially conscious consumers are looking more closely at who makes their clothes. Abbey’s background in consulting has given her the hardcore analysis and financial skills to make this progressive business model succeed.
And last but not least, Diego Achío pitched Traduality, his B2B translation services startup. Diego is building a marketplace where companies needing all major translation-related services (translation, localization, interpreting, subtitling, transcription, dubbing) can easily find the right translator—regardless of whether they make their buying decisions based on pricing, experience, or peer reviews. Translators offering their services in the marketplace will have access to a suite of efficiency applications, including an AI “sidekick” that will learn from their work, thus allowing them to double or even triple their productivity.
What’s really cool? Diego and his wife, Traduality CFO Cynthia Herrera, are part of The Mill’s Bloomington Remote program, which recruits remote workers and entrepreneurs to relocate to Bloomington. He participated in Mill Cohorts remotely while they prepared to move from Mexico. They officially moved to Bloomington on Monday—their apartment still doesn’t have much furniture!—and Diego pitched at Demo Night three days later.
That’s the kind of drive we see all the time at The Mill. It’s inspiring and energizing to be immersed in an environment of innovative, adventurous people. We hope you join us for a future pitch night, or join as a member to be part of it!