iMyK9 wins $10,000 prize on ‘Project Pitch It’

GenoPalate, Dream City Music earn mentorship, training

Jerry Jendusa, David Gruber, Deborah Allen, Peter Feigin and Jim Lindenberg will be featured as panelists in the second season of “Project Pitch It.” Other panelists include Tina Chang and Nancy Hernandez.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:04 pm

Three new entrepreneurs, Dream City Music, GenoPalate and iMyK9, pitched their ideas to Milwaukee business moguls Saturday on “Project Pitch It.”

Jerry Jendusa, David Gruber, Deborah Allen, Peter Feigin and Jim Lindenberg are panelists in the second season of “Project Pitch It.” Other panelists include Tina Chang and Nancy Hernandez.

Jared Judge, co-founder and chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based Dream City Music LLC, showed off his musical chops on Saturday’s episode of “Project Pitch It” with a violin sampling.

Dream City Music is an online platform that connects couples planning their weddings with local string quartet musicians and DJs. In 2017, its first year, Dream City served more than 130 couples in Wisconsin, Illinois and New York.

“Let me tell you about my first professional performance. Assuming I would get paid, I agreed to play violin for my friend’s wedding. She walks down the aisle to some beautiful violin music, but I have yet to see that paycheck,” he said.

These uncomfortable situations come up frequently for musicians and couples, Judge said. Musicians aren’t trained to market and sell their services, and the booking process lacks clarity. Dream City Music systemizes the artistic, logistical and business ends of performing at weddings.

“It’s extremely scalable, as I’ve onboarded over 100 musicians in three states and I’m looking to go national,” he said.

“Project Pitch It” business mogul and judge Jim Lindenberg said it may be a bit soon for Dream City to begin a national expansion.

“He’s in the music and wedding business, but I think he’s going to quickly find out that he’s in the IT business and he’s in the user experience business, especially as this scales and gets bigger and folks that he’s actually advertising on view him as competition,” said Nancy Hernandez, another mogul.

Next, Yi (Sherry) Zhang, founder and CEO of Brookfield-based GenoPalate Inc., presented her company, which aims to help Americans eat healthier based on a DNA analysis it performs.

“I have dedicated my career to helping people nourish their body based on science,” said Zhang, who spent more than 10 years studying obesity genetics at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “We all see these generalized, one-size-fits-all healthy dieting options, but we know it won’t help people in the long-term because each of us is genetically unique.”

GenoPalate analyzes saliva samples users submit with its test kit, and develops a personal nutrition guide with information on which foods to eat and which foods to avoid. Zhang was seeking exposure and mentorship for the company.

“Being a person that has done Ancestry.com…I’m just thinking companies like that will pick up on this really quickly, so she probably has to really launch this pretty fast to get that niche,” said Deb Allen, one of the moguls.

“I think people really want to know today what makes them tick, and I think what’s out there is a lot of what makes you tick is your genes and your ancestors’ genes,” said David Gruber, another mogul.

Karen Orr, founder and CEO of Madison-based Paws by O-No LLC, presented iMyK9, a baby monitor that can be installed in a car to monitor a dog. The system comprises two apps and a Bluetooth tag on the dog collar.

“It allows you to see, hear and talk with your dog when you’re traveling together but you step away from the vehicle,” Orr said.

The system gives the user the temperature, humidity and feels-like temperature inside the car. It sends push notifications if the environment becomes dangerous to the dog’s health, and the user has 90 seconds to acknowledge the message or four rescue contacts will get notifications to save the dog, she said.

“Over 27 million Americans travel at least once a week with their dog. Additionally, there are 50,000 police K9 officers in America today and over 1 million detection dogs,” Orr said.

Between 5,000 and 15,000 dogs die in America each year from heat stroke from being left in an unattended vehicle, she said.

“I need your help helping us get to market and feeling the love for the animals that we all grew up with. That’s what I’m doing—making a difference—and I’m asking for your help,” Orr said.

“I have not seen a product like that in the market,” said Jerry Jendusa, one of the moguls.

In the end, iMyK9 took home the $10,000 cash prize; Dream City Music earned the business classes, office space and mentoring from Cardinal Stritch University; and GenoPalate nabbed the investment advice, mentorship, introductions to local investors and strategy development from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Lubar School of Business and Stuck LLC.

“Project Pitch It,” Wisconsin’s version of “Shark Tank,” airs Saturdays on WISN 12 at 6:30 p.m.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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