Shorewood-based Green Earth Terrarium LLC, Milwaukee-based ZenZen Yoga Arts and Madison-based POLCO were the latest budding companies to pitch to Milwaukee-area business moguls on Saturday’s episode of “Project Pitch It.”
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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]
Cole Compton founded Green Earth during his freshman year of high school to share his love of plants with others. Now 18, Compton has sold about 6,000 of Green Earth’s natural centerpieces and donated $3,000 of the proceeds to charities in the process.
Compton is heading to college in Colorado soon, so he was seeking funds to hire employees for the business.
“For me, the cash reward would definitely be the most helpful,” he said. “Time is running out and employees are very much needed.”
The terrariums are easy to care for, needing water just once a month and thriving even in fluorescent light, Compton said.
“What do you envision this could be in three to five years?” asked Peter Feigin, president of the Milwaukee Bucks and one of the mogul judges.
Compton said he hopes Green Earth can expand into more retail stores by that time.
Therese Bailey, owner of ZenZen Yoga Arts operates a yoga studio in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood.
“It is a very unique and unusual, I would say, type of exercise place to help you to get fit, stay healthy and look fabulous,” Bailey said.
She started the business when she noticed people had a hard time staying motivated to go to the gym. At ZenZen, Bailey created a community that clients want to come back to, she said.
She was seeking funding to certify other yoga teachers.
“Our studio would be a location where individuals would come for their training, get the tools that they need, learn where the resources are and be able to take that with them and start a course of their own,” Bailey said.
The moguls felt Bailey could use more business training and mentorship.
“It’s a nice niche, but she’s got to get a little bit more revenue, she’s got to get some people trained to help her,” said mogul Jim Lindenberg, president and chief executive officer of Lindy Enterprises.
And Nick Mastronardi, founder and CEO of POLCO, demonstrated how his software platform can help local governments.
“We are a civic communications platform improving how citizens and their local governments communicate,” he said.
Currently, many local governments use outdated and inconsistent methods of communication, and citizens are left confused and disengaged, Mastronardi said.
“That lack of participation is leaving the door open for the vocal few, the squeaky wheels and special interests to continue to drive the agenda,” he said.
Governments can use POLCO to get responses from citizens on particular topics, and POLCO staff cross-references those responses to assure they are residents and not outsiders.
“It creates a more relevant way of collecting data for government today,” said mogul Deb Allen, president and CEO of Nevada Corp.
In the end, the judges chose Green Earth Terrarium as the $10,000 cash prize winner; POLCO 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; and ZenZen earned the business classes, office space and mentoring from Cardinal Stritch University.
“Project Pitch It,” Wisconsin’s version of “Shark Tank,” airs Saturdays on WISN 12 at 6:30 p.m.