The One Acadiana June Luncheon was a testament to the power of community support and the remarkable potential of startups in the Acadiana region. For this luncheon, One Acadiana welcomed three Opportunity Machine (OM) startups to the stage – SafeBoard, Nestor, and FlyGuys to share their entrepreneurial journeys, how they’ve leveraged OM programs and support to grow, and what advice they would give to the next generation of founders.
SafeBoard – Picking Up Steam
The lineup kicked off with an early-stage medical device startup, SafeBoard. SafeBoard is an extremity stabilization device designed to be a safe and secure alternative to sedation in pediatric patients. Founder Ansley Bienvenu participated in Opportunity Machine’s Spring 2023 cohort of The Builder Program as she worked to progress her company forward. She shared, “I can’t say enough good things about [the program]. The encouragement of customer interviews, availability of mentors, the opportunity to pitch at my first pitch competition, and the support and guidance of the Opportunity Machine staff has provided a wealth of knowledge and experience.” As an accelerator program graduate and recent winner of the Opportunity Machine Tech Tank 60-Second Pitch, Ansley continues to engage OM support as she works toward scaling manufacturing for the product.
Nestor – Lighting the Fire
Next up to the stage was Jordy Davidson, co-founder and COO of Nestor. Nestor is changing the way electronic health records (EHR) work by focusing on smart technology, a patient-centered approach, and customizations designed specifically for therapists. They want to make the user experience better, keep data more secure, and make it easy for therapists to collaborate and access information from anywhere. In talking about Nestor’s journey, Jordy shared, “If you know of anyone in this area who is interested in a startup or pursuing a scalable business, I would highly recommend Opportunity Machine and their accelerator program – it’s changed our life.” Jordy finished out his speech by sharing that Nestor has just secured $1 million into its pre-seed round and to begin building out their first version of the product (MVP – minimum viable product).
FlyGuys – Fanning the Growth Flames
The final startup to share their story was FlyGuys, a long time Opportunity Machine member. Whitney Savoie, VP of Marketing for FlyGuys, shared how FlyGuys has picked up steam over the last year, moving from being a 12 person team to a 34 person team within the year. Whitney also commented, “The resources that Destin and his team have provided are invaluable. Not just working space – we’ve been introduced to some of our largest investors through the Opportunity Machine’s network. I think it’s so important that people realize that without the Opportunity Machine, FlyGuys would not be where we are today.” Stay tuned for a big announcement coming from the FlyGuys team soon!
A Final Word of Advice
When asked about what advice she would give individuals with ideas considering a startup, Ansley commented, “No conversation is a bad conversation. Meet with anybody and everybody you can – you’re going to learn something from each conversation and be able to take it with you on your journey.”
In discussing the same question, Jordy shared that when starting out, it’s important to “niche down, and don’t be too vague because it makes the process a lot more complicated.”
Whitney’s final words of wisdom shared were, “I think there’s a little bit of glamorization of startups. But the fact of the matter is – it’s hard. You have to seek out resources like the Opportunity Machine, seek mentorship, seek people who have done it before, because you don’t know what you don’t know.”
As these startups continue to make waves in their respective industries, stay tuned for more updates on each of their journeys.