Three new Wisconsin entrepreneurs faced off on the latest episode of “Project Pitch It” Saturday.
[caption id="attachment_336551" align="alignright" width="426"] 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.[/caption]
Dr. Aamir Siddiqi and Dr. Danish Siddiqui, co-founders of Muskego-based RemedyNow LLC, presented their on-demand health care company to the business mogul judges.
“As health care providers, we have noticed that oftentimes, patients are unable to see their own physician in a timely fashion when they are presented with an acute condition,” Siddiqui said. “They’re usually advised to go to the urgent care or emergency room, only to wait there for hours to be seen.”
So the pair created a digital platform that connects patients to physicians on-demand, seven days a week, at a transparent cost, either via video visit or house call.
Mogul Jerry Jendusa of Stuck LLC said the concept made sense from an efficiency perspective.
“The doctors are being measured on their throughput, so they have to see as many patients as possible and this is extremely efficient and effective,” he said.
The moguls asked the co-founders about existing competitors in the telemedicine space.
“We are local, so the idea is to complete the cycle of care,” Siddiqui said. “If I can’t take care of you by listening or seeing you on a video, I will come to see you at your place.”
Siddiqi said it’s an advantage for a physician to be able to see a patient’s home environment, which can be important in primary care.
The pair said now that they have proved their concept in Milwaukee, they want to scale the business to other markets.
Andy Quandt, founder of Lake Mills-based The BikeMobile, also offers a service that comes to the customer.
He presented his mobile bicycle repair business, through which customers request a repair appointment online and Quandt comes to their home or workplace with his repair van.
“I can do up to 10 bikes in one day in your work parking lot or church group or any other sort of group,” he said.
Quandt, who worked in bike repair shops for several years, said he came up with the idea when people encouraged him to open a bike shop in his town, Lake Mills.
“The problem I had with that was with 5,000 people, there just wasn’t enough population to make a living with it,” Quandt said. “That’s when I thought, ‘If I can’t get people to come to me, I should go to them.’”
It was popular enough that in his first season, 2017, he was able to earn enough to open that bike shop in Lake Mills on the side. He plans to expand The BikeMobile into Jefferson and Waukesha counties if he can buy additional vans.
“I’ve got a really great lifestyle business. It’s exactly what I want to be doing. And I want to grow the old-fashioned way, one van at a time,” Quandt said. “Right now, what I need more than anything is capital. The next step is another van.”
“I think there’s a lot more potential there,” said mogul David Gruber, a Milwaukee attorney. “The question is whether he wants a lot more potential.”
“In this case, I like the slow growth, because sometimes people want to get so big so quick, they hire so many people and then all of a sudden your reputation suffers and the quality suffers,” said mogul Jim Lindenberg, owner of Lindy Enterprises.
The third business competing on the most recent episode of “Project Pitch It” was The Tandem, a Milwaukee restaurant with a mission to provide jobs on the north side of the city. It is part of the Historic Walter Schmidt Tavern redevelopment at 1848 W. Fond du Lac in Milwaukee’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood, which was led by Juli Kaufmann of Fix Development.
“We specialize in soul food, comfort food, and above all else we specialize in jobs,” said Caitlin Cullen, owner of The Tandem. “Our mission as a restaurant is to provide employment to the youth of the north side of Milwaukee. We provide on-the-job training, particularly for those who are hard to employ.”
So far, Cullen, a former English teacher who wanted to serve the community in a different way, has created 24 jobs. She was seeking capital to support the restaurant’s growth.
“If we were just a regular restaurant, we’d be going like gangbusters, but because of what we do and the nature of our staffing, it’s a little more difficult,” Cullen said.
Demetri Hollimon, lead line cook at The Tandem, said Cullen and his experience at the restaurant has taught him a lot.
“Working together, working with new people, getting to meet new people,” he said. “Where I grew up in the inner city of Milwaukee, it’s very bad and… (The Tandem) taught me things about life. Responsibility. It’s a life change.”
Mogul Nancy Hernandez of Abrazo Marketing said Cullen should seek nonprofit status for the business.
“I commend what you’re doing, being a former restaurant owner,” said mogul Deb Allen, former president and CEO of Milwaukee-area McDonald’s franchisee Nevada Corp. “It’s not just about making money or being in the business, but it’s also about imprinting on the lives of people that work for you.”
In the end, the moguls split the $10,000 cash prize between The Bike Mobile and The Tandem. They will each also receive the Cardinal Stritch business classes, office space and mentoring prize. And RemedyNow earned the third award, investment advice, mentorship, introductions to local investors and strategy development from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Lubar School of Business and Stuck.
“Project Pitch It,” Wisconsin’s version of “Shark Tank,” airs Saturdays on WISN 12 at 6:30 p.m.