PumpFive, VolliBands to split cash prize from ‘Project Pitch It’

Brio earns Pitch In award

The moguls on "Project Pitch It" season three.

Last updated on June 26th, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Milwaukee-based fuel delivery service PumpFive LLC and Oconomowoc-based volleyball strength training tool VolliBands LLC split the $10,000 cash prize on Saturday’s episode of “Project Pitch It.”

PumpFive and VolliBands will also each receive the Stritch Pitch Award, which includes business classes, office space, mentorship and staff support from Cardinal Stritch University.

And Brio, a Madison-based bar/restaurant mobile payment system, earned the Pitch In award on the latest episode of the Wisconsin entrepreneurial pitch show on WISN-TV Channel 12. The moguls, successful entrepreneurs who review pitches on the show, will host a forum of investors and experts in marketing, finance and networking on behalf of Brio.

No one likes going to the gas station, said Talethea Thompson, owner and founder of PumpFive. So she developed a mobile app that allows both individuals and companies to get their vehicles fueled up remotely.

“They can schedule, pay and drop a pin, and wherever their car is parked, we will go and fill up their gas tanks,” Thompson said. “For our corporate partners, they love us right now because at this point, they won’t have to send their expensive employees to the gas station during company time to get gas.”

She established the company in May and the app recently went live. While Thompson and her husband are the only employees so far, they have such high demand they have ordered another three fuel trucks and plan to hire three drivers for them.

The app has a $19.99 monthly fee, and PumpFive purchases its gas wholesale and sells it at retail prices, Thompson said. Over the next few months, she also plans to add oil changes, tire changes and auto detailing as service options.

“I’m thrilled that you acted,” said mogul Peggy Ann. “You’re a true entrepreneur. You saw a need and you acted on it right away. That is fabulous.”

Aaron Lang blew out his shoulder during his collegiate volleyball career, and it took him two years to rehabilitate the injury. Now, as a coach and official, he has seen others do the same. So he came up with VolliBands, a strength training and injury prevention device for volleyball players.

“We really want to emphasize shoulder health,” Lang said. “A lot of people are throwing out their shoulders in volleyball.”

The VolliBands, tension bands the athlete clips on to an anchor, add resistance to the muscles used in a motion such as setting or spiking. Lang is targeting the national club volleyball community, which he estimates to be about 4,500 clubs, each with approximately 30 teams of 12 to 15 athletes.

Lang also showed the judges Tough Sticks, ball blocking sticks he developed to block a player’s spike in practice. Those are a side product, he said.

“He really has to figure out what is it that he needs to focus on,” said Debbie Allen, one of the moguls reviewing pitches on the show.

“Right, but how are you going to make money now?” asked Jerry Jendusa, another mogul. “What product, what service and what’s the vision to grow?”

Brio was the brainchild of Clay Burdelik, who was frustrated with the delay at some restaurants when it came time to pay.

“I came up with the idea after many frustrating nights as a server and bartender on State Street in Madison,” Burdelik said. “One night in particular, I was a frustrated patron who missed his train because I couldn’t get the bill from my server.”

He’s got the software developed to make it possible for customers to pay and split the bill on their phones. Brio is beta testing with Cooper’s Hawk Winery and restaurants in Madison. It also plans to expand to restaurants in Milwaukee.

“I just think about every time I’m out to eat with a group of people, three, four credit cards come out on the table and they’re taking them away,” Allen said. “This way we could just all go on our app on our phone, pay our bill and just be gone.”

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Molly Dill
Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.