Where are they now? Creative Capital Pitch Session I contestants

A few weeks ago, Dan Hoffman of Invest Nebraska, the organization that has sponsored our CCPS $1,000 prize, asked me for updates from our past contestants. Unable to provide them myself, I contacted the 26 past contestants with three questions: Where are you now with the idea you pitched? Specifically, what were your takeaways from…


A few weeks ago, Dan Hoffman of Invest Nebraska, the organization that has sponsored our CCPS $1,000 prize, asked me for updates from our past contestants. Unable to provide them myself, I contacted the 26 past contestants with three questions:

  1. Where are you now with the idea you pitched?
  2. Specifically, what were your takeaways from pitching in a CCPS? Did you make any new connections?
  3. Where do you hope to be in the future with your idea, or, if you stopped working on it, what’s the next idea you’ll be pursuing?

I received quite a few responses and I’m excited to not only share them with Dan but with you, as well. This is the first of three posts with updates from our CCPS contestants.

1111_CCPSBadgeIn addition, we awarded each of the contestants a badge for their participation. A big thanks to Erin Standley at BrightMix for designing the badges as well as the branding for CCPS and the Keynote presentation used for the event.

To watch the one-minute video pitches submitted for our first CCPS, visit: siliconprairienews.com/2009/02/creative-capital-pitch-session-finalists-details.

Emily Kaminski — EmilysProject

1. I’m still working on EmilysProject and developing the site. Promotion and generating actionable interest is a high hurdle.

2. The CCPS was a very good way for me to see local talent at work. It was motivating and interesting to hear other people’s ideas and receive feedback on mine. Specifically it got me thinking about what else would be possible.

3. I’d like to work on the promotion aspect of my idea and eventually connect with someone who specializes in pharmaceuticals.

– Emily Kaminski emily@emilysproject.com

Scott Kroeger — Übercheap

1. The idea is implemented (ubercheap.com) and I am working through the effort of registering merchants, ironing out the datafeed kinks and starting on a content strategy for the blog.

2. I didn’t takeaway anything from pitching at CCPS, but Jeff Hansen who is on the Invest Nebraska board put me in contact with an entrepreneur in Ohio who has been a great resource.

3. I hope it will be a well trafficked site helping people find cheap deals.

– Scott Kroeger skroeger@gmail.com

Corey Spitzer — Science Video Game

1.  Which idea was that? I think that was about 10 ideas ago. =P To be honest, I never really expected to actually work on this particular project, but it was nice to pitch it and get some feedback.

2. It was a great opportunity to put myself out there a little bit, to meet some other creatives and innovators, and to hear what other people are thinking and doing in Omaha.

3. I’m currently working on a couple different projects with some really cool people; nothing that I can really talk about at the moment. So this science game idea is back on the ol’ list, but if any business-minded person wants to chat about it, I’m still up for it.

– Corey Spitzer techmonkey4u@gmail.com

Ben Schaechter — GoPollGo

1. GoPollGo has come a long way since the pitch session. After receiving seed funding in May of 2009, development began full-time over the summer and a public release of the site launched on September 11th, 2009 after three and a half months of full-time work by a single employee. GoPollGo is still being actively developed. The next release of the public, consumer site is slated for November 25th, 2009.

2. I don’t particularly remember if the CCPS gave me any new connections. I’m sure it did and I don’t specifically remember. However, the CCPS did show local people what I was up to in my dorm room at the time. Whether or not my seed funding from BrightMix had a direct correlation with the CCPS, I don’t know. I know it didn’t hurt. More than anything the CCPS was a bit of publicity for what I was up to.

3. GoPollGo has much planned for the future. While currently I, the sole employee of GoPollGo, am obligated to work alongside of school until May (which has definitely slowed down progress) I plan to continue running the company full-time upon graduating from Creighton University. GoPollGo will eventually grow into a profitable, multi-employee company with a global presence.

– Ben Shaechter ben@gopollgo.com

Tim Wildsmith — The Nebraska Nine

1. The Nebraska Nine was talked about with several local musicians and the possibility is still out there.

2. I put the plan on hold when I began recording my new album. But I did continue to try to be creative by starting a website called www.financemyalbum.com where people can donate money to help me fund my recording. In return, they’ll get their name in the liner notes.. along with some other cool incentives.

3. For me the process of the CCPS was beneficial because it helped me put a focus on creative marketing as an independent musician. I’m working now on both making great music AND creating a unique experience for fans to be a part of.

Tim Wildsmith timwildsmith@gmail.com


Brad Campbell — S.T.R.A.W.

1. In short, I’m on hold. I had a potential client who was in a hurry to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit for home buyers, but could not get financing together. We are hoping that something may develop there in the spring, but that remains to be seen. I have been working with an engineer to work out any structural considerations and still looking forward to a full scale test. It’s one thing to consider on paper, it’s another to see what actually works and what doesn’t.

2. It was a great experience. It helped me to sharpen my focus and my speech on the specifics of the idea. In other words it forced me to clarify the way that I communicate about the idea. While I did not come away with specific business contacts from that event, I have stayed in touch with one of the other finalists from that night. He and I share a common faith and we have seen each other in person a few times, stayed in touch via email and we are continuing to pray for each other — not what I was expecting, but its been great.

I also have come away with greater confidence in what I’m doing. This has helped quite a bit in the way that I communicate where this is heading.

3. As I said above we are on hold for the moment and we seem to be heading in a slightly different direction, at least for now. I believe that we are actually working on the same idea – straw bale roofing system – we’re just going to take the less direct route to get there. My wife and I have been looking into housing and other building projects in different parts of Africa. Specifically, we are looking at housing projects in Harare, Zimbabwe. Housing is in short supply, unemployment is high, and they are working with a cash economy. We are planning to build houses the way that standard housing is built there and employ locals who are out of work.

We make money by selling small houses for cash to people who have the means and are in need of proper housing. We also boost the local economy by providing training and creating jobs and income for those in need. Eventually we would like to develop that into entrepreneurship training so that people will have the ability to work for themselves and drum up business even in tough times.

Once established, we will have more flexibility to experiment with things like straw bale walls, and eventually a roof. Africa is ripe for conservation entrepreneurship. Housing, water, cooking fuel, and electric power are all in high demand throughout the continent. Each of those areas has great potential for small businesses in local economies.

That’s where we’re headed. If straw bale roofing fits somewhere in the big picture there, it would be great. If not, we’re still making an impact in meeting real need with long term solutions. That’s what it’s all about.

– Brad Campbell skimcoatbc@yahoo.com


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