Six finalists announced for Casper Start-Up challenge: $50,000 in seed money at stake

CASPER, Wyo. — IMPACT Casper has announced the six finalists for the sixth annual Casper Start-Up Challenge, with $50,000 in seed money at stake.

“Receiving over 40 applications and narrowing it down to six finalists with our judges was no easy task,” said Eric Schlidt, director of IMPACT Casper. ”This year the judges decided upon six finalists instead of the typical five because competition was so stiff.”

The finalists will now work with IMPACT 307 staff to develop their businesses over the next two months, culminating in a final pitch day on April 19.    

The businesses and entrepreneurs for the 2022 Casper Start-Up Challenge are below. More information will be  provided as it becomes available.

Deer Creek Arms 

More information will be available soon.

Infinite Outdoors

Infinite Outdoors is a company that connects hunters, adventurers, and conservation biologists to private landowners. “Roughly a quarter million acres of private landowners have listed on our platform across three states since our launch a year and a half ago,” founder Sam Seeton told Oil City. More information will be released Friday.

Guardian Warrior Solutions:

Casper police officer and 13-year military veteran Preston Atwood  told Oil City he cut the prototype for his Raptor Adaptor on a CNC machine he purchased himself in his garage.

The device is a forked PVC-infused thermoplastic adaptor that locks onto a belt any any predetermined angle to attach any MOLLE-equipped pouch.  MOLLE  (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) refers mainly to the ladder-like weave of webbing on a vest, pack, or belt that attach to pouches for carrying ammunition, medical supplies, or whatever the mission dictates.

A lot of existing  gear manufacturers are trying to increase adaptability in different ways, including belts with MOLLE stitching, “but then again, you have to weave it back and forth, on and off, and it doesn’t allow you to alter [the orientation] of how it’s attached.”

The ideal angle for having pouches at the ready varies depending on whether the user is undertaking a combat scenario, in a competition shoot, or in everyday law enforcement, Atwood said. The applications also extend to hunting and hiking, Atwood said. 

Since last October  he says he’s put  a couple hundred out to market test, including to a member of the French Foreign Legion and a field geologist.

He’s still cutting, heating, and folding the Kydex in his garage, and each unit takes about 20 minutes.

He isn’t aggressively marketing currently; with one CNC machine in his garage, Atwood said he needs to invest in a shop with a few more machines, heating stations, and some employees to meet the eventual demand.

“I don’t have an investor’s mindset: My goal here a typical American small business. my vision for this  a little manufacturing shop in Casper, with four CNC machines that can be cutting around the clock.” 

Visit the website here.

ACS Juices:

Former school counselor Anna Studer debuted her cold-pressed juice business at the farmer’s market June 1 last summer.

Through the order form on the ACS Juices Facebook, customers can preorder juices to pick up from her home or have them delivered by Lickety-Split Delivery.

Studer invested in a commercial-grade juicer, which grinds the produce and then feeds it slowly through a hydraulic press. 

Most juicers made for home use are centrifugal masticating juicers, which results in heat and friction that affects the taste and nutritional profile of the juice.

“People who are in the juicing world… know the difference and can taste the difference,” Studer said

Studer said the juice is an easy way for people to make healthier choices, especially if they are not keen to crunch on apples or celery throughout the day.

Her customers also appreciate having the juice bar-grade product without the labor and mess of juicing at home.

There are currently 25 juice blends, named simply by their contents for clarity. The best seller is  “Sweet green,”  (spinach, red apple, and lemon) which tastes like apple juice, she said. For “the really hardcore” there’s pure celery. 

Because she’s not selling meat,  Studer can run the business under Wyoming’s Food Freedom Act. Nevertheless, expanding into a commercial kitchen is one the priorities for expansion. She’s outgrown the “second kitchen,” created for the business in her house.

She could also use some help with the bottle prep, labelling, delivery, and the juicing itself.

Juicing from 8 a.m. -4:30 p.m.,  she gets about 125 bottles per day, 3-4 days per week. There is about a pound of produce in each 12-oz bottle.

A commercial space might also allow for the delivery of the produce. She’s currently buying 500 to 600 pounds of produce every week from stores around town.

“So, if you ever shopping for celery and you can’t find any, you can blame it on me.”

Picture My Story:

Picture My Story turns children’s portrait experiences into storybooks,” the website says. “Our B2B model allows professional portrait photographers to use Picture My Story’s platform to choose from a catalog of book options and instantly create custom children’s storybooks featuring their clients.” WebsiteFacebook

Intuitive Surgical Design

More information will be released Friday.

Justin Farley, CEO of Advance Casper who also served as one of the Judges for the Start Up Challenge, added, “The continued positive momentum of IMPACT Casper has really assisted in growing the entrepreneurial spirit and ecosystem in Casper. I am always amazed and the wide variety of ideas that come from the challenge.” 

Three winners will be selected by a panel of judges. Each will receive $5,000 and be eligible to apply to the $50,000 seed fund. Pitch day is open to the public and everyone is encouraged to come and support these entrepreneurs.

IMPACT 307 a business development program of the University of Wyoming with business incubators in Laramie, Casper, Sheridan, and Cheyenne.

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