Client Success Stories
GuideOn is a technology company that has built a jobs site for military veterans and current military. It has created an engine that automatically translates military experience into equivalent and relevant private sector job descriptions. It provides veterans with a professional civilian identity. Guideon’s veteran talent acquisition platform leverages behavioral and data science to connect employers to veterans on a massive scale.
GuideOn's success with TFG:
We met with Allan Young on several occasions; Allan helped us identify potential investors and polish our presentation deck. Allan’s decision to invest in GuideOn added credibility to our pitch and to other investors. In addition, Allan helped with assessing the current jobs environment for mid-level and "mid-skilled military MOS or military occupational specialty" based on his own experience as a Marine Corps basic infantryman and field radio operator. Allan identified tax credits available to companies that hire veterans. Including this information in our pitches to prospects, helped increase interest and opened up a discussion on sharing the tax credit income.
With the help of TFG and Allan Young, we were able to grow our team and hire 8 new employees. We were also able to secure a $1M bridge round, with Allan investing $50k of his own money.
“TFG’s introducing us to Allan Young has been helpful in our progress. His knowledge and advice has helped us broaden the opportunities available to GuideOn.“ - Anthony Garcia, founder of GuideOn.
X-Therma is devoted to developing more effective and non-toxic ice blocking material by converging technologies in nanoscience and cryobiology. The company's aim is to completely transform regenerative medicine storage, enabling safe transport and long-term Biobanking for highly advanced therapies, transplants, and drug discovery (R&D). X-Therma’s technology combines the beauty of Nature’s design with the power of nanoscience to produce non-toxic polymer-based materials that set a new standard in preventing ice crystal growth, formation, and retention. The entry MVP for market will be our proprietary chemically stable, non-toxic and hyper-effective (500x) synthetic antifreeze agent and its formulation into a biopreservation solution. These agents can be used as additives that drastically improve existing solutions.
X-Therma's success with TFG:
Mark Klopp has been working with us on a more “mentor style” basis and helping us to refine our executive summary, our ask, and many other basic and important business concerns. Danieal Blahut worked financials with us helping us learn about burn rates, etc. and all other factors for prepping real financials for investors. Charles Eason helped with understanding the principles of SBIR, etc.
The most important result is taking the results of our Phase I DOD SBIR award, and translating those results into another 4 SBIR grants worth a value near $1.5 million over the course of the next two years. We have a phenomenal success rate (100%) for SBIR proposals. We also hired a new employee and now must get ready to hire more for the grants incoming. We also are raising angel funding and at this moment have had one angel invest $100,000, with several more angels “Strongly interested” and paying for us to visit Germany. XT was also awarded a Patrick Soon-Shiong innovation award in November 2015 and was mentioned in The Economist in February 2016.
“TFG has been an excellent resource for our basic growth and understanding of business. As scientists moving into a startup, we initially lacked many of the basic business skills, but at the same time, cannot afford to spend 2 years doing an MBA, or other business courses. Timing is critical for a business and we think that our timing combined with TFGs mentoring and consulting has been excellent for our growth.” - Xiaoxi Wei, CEO and Founder
Lendsnap is humanizing personal finance through Financial Passports. We link to consumer accounts to deliver the easiest way for borrowers to apply for a mortgage or any loan. Our first product is a solution for mortgage lenders to offer a next-generation mortgage application experience.
Lendsnap's success with TFG:
By working with Allan Young through TFG, we were able to overcome the challenges of investor presentation. He made several key introductions to accelerators and investors, including substantial opportunities to practice our pitch and presentation. He helped us keep things simple from pricing to business model and long term plan. Through discussions on our fundraising strategy, he helped us focus on things that really mattered and leave less valuable activities aside.
During our time with TFG so far, we have raised about $300k of outside investment and joined two different accelerators that Allan recommended. Both are opening doors to investors and more top notch entrepreneurial leaders with real world experience. We have now launched our mortgage experience software into the market and are working on gaining market share through strategic influencers and the network built around us. This includes UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and help from UC Berkeley SkyDeck.
" TFG’s introducing us to Allan Young has truly been instrumental in our progress over the last nine months. His advice has been valuable time and time again. " - Orion Parrott, founder and CEO
Company: RTBiQ Inc
RTBIQ is a mobile advertising bidding platform for companies that wish to manage their own mobile ad campaigns. Our technology enables our clients to purchase optimized mobile advertising with precision and scale.
Uniquely, we offer a proprietary active learning technology that optimizes client’s campaign directly against custom key performance indicators.
In addition, RTBIQ offers:
- Customizable key performance indicators
- Sophisticated audience targeting capabilities
- Transparent analytical tools
- Access to unlimited mobile ad impressions
Our team of dedicated, professional data scientists works with clients to magnify their brand presence in the market.
RTBIQ's success with TFG:
Our consultant, Gerry Barañano helped open our eyes to the possibility of doing non-recurring engineering contracts for clients as a way of standing out from our competitors. We were able to engage with those sophisticated clients that wanted something beyond a standard media buy.
RTBIQ’s developers loved this way of engaging with prospects. These initial conversations helped to demonstrate the technical prowess of our team, which helped to separate us from our competition since we were so open to having more technical conversations. We were one of the few companies confident enough to have technical conversations with prospective customers.
This new approach led to doors being opened with media buying teams as we all saw the larger opportunity for close collaboration.
These conversations led to $150,000 of booked revenue. With strong revenue, RTBIQ opted not to raise equity financing and thus keep 100% of our company., and headcount increased from two people to now having a team of seven.
"Tech Futures Group provides very valuable assistance to any organization. We are very fortunate to be included and wouldn’t be where we are without the TFG!" - Richard Lowden, founder.
Company: Scan Site
Scansite analyzes and meticulously digitizes real-world objects and people, from museum pieces to rare architectural finds to fine automobiles and more, collecting data to construct 3D models. The company has amassed an extensive content library of these 3D data files that are the most accurate in the industry. Scansite was the industry’s first-mover, establishing a 3D content licensing business similar to what Getty Images did for photographs. The company will continue to offer high resolution 3D scanning, reverse engineering, and inspection services, which will continue to grow its 3D content library. Through strategic partnerships, Scansite can provide quick turnaround, end-to-end services such as 3D printing, holographic display, rapid tooling, CNC machining and mold making, to help content licensees achieve accelerated time to value.
Industry’s desire to incorporate 3D technology into the workflow has meant an ever-increasing demand for 3D content. Advances in computing power and software, along with the recent explosion of 3D printing devices, are just a few examples catapulting 3D scanning and its benefits into the public eye. Scansite is a proven, preferred provider as evidenced by the 800+ high-value, marquee clients including Boeing, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NASA, Richard MacDonald Studio, NIKE, Hyundai, Warner Bros, and the Smithsonian.
Scan Site's success with TFG:
Scansite engaged the Tech Futures Group (TFG) to help:
- Define its strength, weakness, opportunities and threats (SWOT) and desired market positioning;
- Develop its business plan;
- Develop its fundraising collateral material and engage with investors; and
- Execute its business plan.
TFG provided Scansite with VC pitch training, financial model development assistance, and intellectual property protection consultation.
Scansite has raised a substantial portion of its $1 million seed funding round. This enables the company to grow out of the "garage" and into a state-of-the-art scanning studio in San Rafael, California with additional staffing. Scansite also upgraded its marketing and sales capabilities resulting in the acquisition of new customers with long-term contracts and generating 100%+ growth in revenue. The company is also in partnership discussions with several renowned cultural heritage institutions, whose collections can be digitized for certified reproduction, conservation, remote access, scientific study and other purposes.
"Our TFG EIR, Hon Wong, brings proven, real-world experience and leadership into the engagement. In addition, his substantial network of investors, technical experts, customers, and legal and other professionals within Silicon Valley really helps accelerate our growth." - Lisa Federici, founder.
Company: Smash Solar
Driven to give customers control over their power generation, SMASHsolar breaks down barriers to solar through innovative design and a relentless pursuit of customer value. SMASH is a privately held company located in Richmond, California.
Our founders' expertise in consumer product design, construction, and solar power has led to a completely new approach: consumer solar, a new category giving consumers unprecedented flexibility in how they buy solar power.
SMASH is developing an award-winning, simple, snap-together solar mounting system that contractors can installs 2x – 3x faster than conventional systems after less than 1 hour of training. Today, over 60% of a residential solar power system cost are labor, overhead, logistics (costs other than PV – called balance of system costs or BOS costs). SMASH reduces BOS costs by simplifying installation and reducing time on roof by 42% to 56% (as observed by NREL, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory).
SMASH has been funded by private and government sources including multiple awards from the U.S. Department of Energy’s prestigious SunShot Initiative Incubator program.
Smash Solar's success with TFG:
SMASH received assistance from many TFG advisors.
- Our patent attorney advisor reviewed the inventive work and advised on utility of patent protection to a business;
- Our financial model advisor helped build an 5 year revenue model,
- We reviewed DOE budgeting process and guidelines and built a competitive model;
- The TFG entrepreneur-in-residence “EIR” advisor reviewed Smash Solar’s DOE application in great detail
- The EIR also provided feedback on the executive summary and VC pitch document.
SMASH won the 2014 Solar Power International Startup Alley Challenge in Las Vegas, NV becoming the top startup innovator in the solar industry for 2014.
- SMASH has submitted a USPO and PCT (international) patents.
- SMASH received the following funding:
- $500,000 from a DOE SunShot Initiative Incubator Award in 2013 and
- $1,000,000 from a second DOE SunShot Initiative Incubator Award in 2014
- $390,000 in Convertible Promissory Notes (received and committed) to date
With these awards, SMASH will complete the product development process and begin marketing and selling its solar mounting platform to solar installers, and will begin hiring to accomplish these goals.
In addition, as part of the DOE award requirements, SMASH must raise $750,000+ from private investors.
"We have been very impressed with the superb responsiveness and high quality advice offered by the Tech Futures Group. As an early stage start-up, getting this type of support was invaluable.” - Troy D. Tyler, founder.
Company: Cool Earth
Cool Earth Solar (Cool Earth) is an innovative start-up company whose fundamental technology uses an inflatable plastic film to concentrate sunlight onto a photovoltaic (PV) solar cell. With these concentrators, Cool Earth PV cells generate over 1,000 times the electricity of non-concentrated PV cells.
In addition, Cool Earth is developing a complementary technology – a solar meteorological station (met station) that provides highly accurate measurements of solar radiation at a low price point and with minimal maintenance. A network of these inexpensive met stations produces the data required to develop the highly accurate solar generation forecasts needed by utilities, solar operators, and government agencies such as NOAA.
Cool Earth's success with TFG:
Cool Earth Solar was fortunate to have met Charles Eason and Gerry Barañano at an iHub seminar on Small Business Innovation Research Grants from the federal government. After numerous consultations with both SBDC / TFG consultants, Cool Earth significantly improved the quality of their grant application both for SBIR and other granting organizations. In addition, Gerry Barañano significantly enhanced Cool Earth’s go-to-market efforts for the met station and forecasting business.
Cool Earth Solar won two $150,000 SBIR Phase I grants from the U.S. Department of Energy. The first one was granted in 2012 to show the feasibility of Cool Earth’s concentrated-photovoltaic technology using innovative optics and multi junction solar cells. This allowed Cool Earth to develop a field-deployable prototype.
The second $150,000 SBIR Phase I, funded in February 2013 was for developing a medium concentrating system that uses more commonly available silicon solar cells.
Cool Earth also won a $1,732,000 grant from the California Energy Commission to develop and deploy 100kW of solar concentrators; erect 12 met stations; and develop algorithms to convert data from the met stations into solar resource forecasts. This will allow Cool Earth met station customers, such as utilities, to optimize management of the electrical grid. Commercial clients may also combine this information with smart building software to improve building energy management. Cool Earth will be working with Lawrence Livermore National Labs (LLNL) to develop the complex algorithms for the accurate solar forecasts required by potential customers.
“We owe much of our success with these grants to the experience, knowledge and cheerful assistance of these two gentlemen.” - Founder.