Column: Sheridan Start-Up Challenge launches new area businesses

Today’s Community Perspectives column allows me to introduce our three 2022 Sheridan Start-Up Challenge winners.

Our first winner was Gannett Health, founded by Louisa Crosby. Gannett is a mobile, advocacy-focused direct primary care medical practice. The focus when seeing patients will be prevention and access, as Louisa and the team she will hire will be accessible via office visits, house calls and telemedicine. Direct-to-consumer means no insurance middlemen to deal with or co-pays. This new business will offer same day appointments and will be able to treat more than 80% of conditions requiring medical care.

Patients will access Gannett’s direct primary care model that features unlimited primary and urgent care services via a monthly or annual membership fee structure. Louisa will launch the business in Sheridan County but plans to expand it to provide medical care to many underserved areas of Wyoming.

Our second winner was HorseWell, founded by Megan Welles. Megan has developed an easy-to-use, lightweight equine myofascial massage blade that will relieve muscle soreness in horses. Though all horses can benefit, HorseWell’s initial target market is performance horses, including racing, rodeo, showjumpers and dressage.

Myofascial massage tools have been used for human massage for a long time, but Megan, a lifelong horse owner, believes that horses will also benefit from massage techniques using the blade. Use of the HorseWell blade can be combined with other equine massage techniques to increase relaxation and build a stronger bond between the horse and rider.

O. clarkii Reels (OCR) was our third winner. This new business was founded by Rodney Fought, Zac Sexton, and Brad Williams. OCR has developed a semi-automatic fly reel, which is a popular reel type in Europe but not in the U.S. They’ve engineered this semi-automatic reel to have features not found on any such reel in the current fly fishing market, including a sealed drive system, a sliding, adjustable reel foot and an extended and adjustable line guide.

Their product met with immediate favor on pitch night, as they were not only named as a winner by our judge panel but were also named the Audience Choice Award winner by popular vote of Challenge attendees.

OCR’s initial target market will be premium, dedicated fly-fishing shops. To avoid competition with online retail, wholesale pricing will be offered to fly-fishing retailers, and there is not an initial plan to sell the reels direct to fly-fishing customers. Ultimately, OCR would like to create an entire branded line of fly-fishing gear and apparel. If successful, they will be a wonderful new outdoor products-oriented business based in northern Wyoming.

Competition for seed funding in this year’s Challenge was keen — IMPACT Sheridan had the largest number of applications submitted in five years. The three non-winners: Solid Hitch, a line of trailer towing hitch and bumper solutions, Cannoli Bliss, a maker of authentic Italian desserts, and I Call Shotgun, a developer of car games for high schoolers and young adults, could have been named winners in previous years. The team at IMPACT 307 looks forward to working with all six Sheridan Start-Up Challenge finalists to get them launched as new businesses.

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