Last edited 2:02 p.m., May 16, 2019
Wednesday was a busy day for entrepreneur Kevin Wyas, who won the Efactory’s Pitch Contest and launched a Kickstarter campaign within 24 hours.
Wyas’ ECRI was among four startups in the running for $5,000 yesterday at the Pitch Contest, a new event at the Efactory, said Rachel Anderson, director of the downtown business incubator. The startup capital comes from RMI Inc., which has previously backed Efactory programs such as its business accelerator.
ECRI’s wireless device and app allows customers to check and monitor vehicle settings, such as tire size and gear ratio, with a phone or tablet.
“All four presenting teams did a great job,” Anderson said via email. “The judging panel had a very hard time reaching their decision and shared that they were very impressed with each presentation.”
The other presenters were Danny Collins, whose 37 North Expeditions helps people explore the outdoors in the Ozarks; Shawn Finger and Allison Cash, whose THINKG mobile app is designed to help young children develop creative thinking skills; and Mandi Young, who is expanding her C-Street Flowers concept to include a garden planning app, according to information provided by the Efactory.
“Winning yesterday was a big shot in the arm,” Wyas said via Facebook Messenger this morning. “The timing was great, because ECRI is at an important stage where I have a tested product, but need to get word out.
“Springfield is home to some amazing businesses in the automotive industry, so the community's support for ECRI means a lot.”
Since launching its crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter yesterday, ECRI has brought in $108 of a $10,000 goal. However, Wyas said the $5,000 won in the Pitch Contest “will definitely help in efforts to get more traction to the ECRI Kickstarter.”
According to its Kickstarter page, ECRI is a patent-pending technology allowing users to program settings on their vehicles. Wyas is starting with 2018 and newer Jeep Wranglers.
Wyas said ECRI comes from the French word écrire, which means “to write.” Additionally, it’s used as an acronym on the app’s loading screen for energizing, connecting, researching and interacting.
The Efactory’s Pitch Contest is similar, but separate from the Spin66 Pitch Pit competition. The latter event was not scheduled this year as expansion of the Efactory’s upstairs area was being conducted, Anderson said.
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