June 13, 2024


Marketing Needs Experts

Startups seek to address common problems in Omaha, elsewhere | Local Business News

A treadmill that adapts to your pace.

A job placement service that allows people to continue their careers without having to sacrifice time with their families.

Mobile apps developed by local entrepreneurs that help businesses and families connect with one another.

Those ideas were just some of the pitches made by 30 seed stage startups at The Living Room, a renovated event space in a former furniture factory in north downtown Omaha. Each startup that came to Wednesday’s Get Started Omaha event sought to provide a solution to problems faced by individuals and families.

“A lot of the startups we talked to are solving pain points that they have felt themselves,” said Kellee Mikuls, CEO and co-founder of Swishboom.

Swishboom is a startup that seeks to expand parents’ network of trustworthy babysitters via an app. Mikuls and co-founder Richard Tom, who also is her brother-in-law, won a $25,000 grand prize at Wednesday’s competition.

Some startup executives acknowledge their surprise when they say that few, if any, other companies and individuals already have addressed the problems they’re looking to solve. Those executives include Air Traffic Awareness co-founders Cameron Knight and Tonderai Kambarami, who gave a presentation on an affordable modern visual system to help private pilots avoid aircraft collisions.

“It’s really bonkers,” Knight said.

For other startups, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided opportunities to put their visions into practice. Co-founded by Jina Hwang and Jessica Charlsen, Job Share Connect seeks to connect employees with employers that are willing to provide flexibility by allowing multiple people to fill one full-time position.

By providing that flexibility, the co-founders said, employers could address labor shortages.

Charlsen said Job Share Connect has placed about a dozen people with primarily small businesses and is looking to partner with businesses nationally.

HerHeadquarters, a startup founded by Carina Glover, has been able to help small businesses grow through partnerships that complement each other’s strengths.

For example, Glover said women in Houston and San Francisco who connected through HerHeadquarters grew their respective businesses by collaborating on creating a successful beauty product.

“They discovered opportunities that weren’t previously on their radar because their focus was local,” she said.

Technology advances have helped a startup like Impower Health market a treadmill that CEO and President Doug Miller said automatically adjusts to a person’s pace. That technology, Miller said, is helpful to people with physical ailments.

The efforts that local and regional startups are making to solve problems are a reflection of the area’s startup culture, Proven Ventures co-founder Erica Wassinger said.

“I think, by and large, Nebraska and Midwest founders are really good at trying to solve a problem,” she said.