Sheltowee Business Network Blog

Trends Seen In the Sheltowee’s Startup Week Pitch Contest

Trends Seen In the Sheltowee’s Startup Week Pitch Contest

Nov 15 2019

Trends Seen In the Sheltowee’s Startup Week Pitch Contest

This November, Sheltowee put together its first startup week pitch contest which can be analyzed for trends in technology and consumerism.  As we soon head into 2020, understanding the trends that drive innovation remains important to being a catalyst for change.  And, every entrepreneur learns that being a catalyst for change means knowing when to act.

These are some of the trends we observed through the participants of the day:

1.        Fintech continues to seek more analytics in its data integrations and for its shareability inside organizations.   Forbes identified several trends that are driving startups in this area.  They included: (a) Big banks looking for more AI; (b) a catering to millennials (28-38 years old), as they are the largest generation of the workforce; and (c) big money flows into fintech. 

Presenting at the SBN event was Forecastr, an online financial forecasting platform that helps CEOs and management teams confidently forecast revenue, budget expenses, and manage cash.  Forecastr serves a high “shareability” among investors and mentors.

Goldman Sachs estimates the worldwide fintech pie to be worth $4.7 trillion.

There are more than 12,000 fintech startups worldwide, according to CB Insights.

2.       There’s now a focus on medical devices for pediatrics.  FDA is committed to supporting the development and availability of safe and effective pediatric medical devices. As reported by AAP News, unlike pharmaceuticals, companies are not required to study medical devices in children, and development continues to lag behind devices for adults. Over the past decade, only about 9% of devices going through pre-market approval or humanitarian device exemption pathways were approved with pediatric indications for children under 18, according to data presented by the FDA.  The need has been observed and in the years ahead, there is anticipated more emphasis on youth medical devices.  Innovation Therapeutics, at the pitch event, is a pediatric-focused device company that solves early medical and developmental issues in infants and children, preventing long-term and more complex problems.

3.       Ecommerce for Small Business continues to jump forward.  Curated datasets are getting easier, and with more emphasis of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the ability to narrow focus target audiences continues.  Online sales growth continues to creep upward.  And business-to-business ecommerce is escalating.  At our pitch event, we welcomed Tacklehack, the curated marketplace and software platform that allows anyone to sell custom and small-batch outdoor products. Ecommerce Academy asserts that 2020 for ecommerce is all about omnipresence. The customer journey is now far from linear; it’s not only multi-device, but multiplatform. Ecommerce retail sales are expected to account for 13.7% of global retail sales in 2019, according to  By 2040, around 95% of all purchases are expected to be via ecommerce, the firm’s statistics concluded.

4.       Online girl power web portals and apps gain ground.  Social media and other online portals are trending for preteens as well as teen girls.  Women control over $20 trillion in worldwide spending, so marketing to younger girls and touching them earlier can be anticipated to grow, according to  Over the next decade, women will control two-thirds of all consumer wealth in the United States and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history. Estimates range from $12 to $40 trillion, according to She-conomy. And, don’t forget one out of every 11 American women owns a business. Sheltowee’s pitch event drew Moxie Girl, a platform built to support and empower preteen and teen girls through goal setting, mentoring, and positive reinforcement.  Their online tools provide girls and their influencers with a platform to help a girl discover her strengths, achieve her goals, and learn how to handle setbacks.

5.       Personalized gifts continue to evolve. According to Technavio Research Report personalized gifts market in the US will grow by USD 3.47 billion, at a CAGR of 9% from 2018 to 2022.  The sales volume of seasonal decorations including personalized decorative mugs, handkerchiefs, and plates has been witnessing a continuous spike in the US. Gifts with a twist are growing in importance.  These types of gifts have become more affordable with easier access, say trend trackers.  A new twist found in this category at the Sheltowee pitch event was Personalized Pranks, a new way to shop online for customized gifts.  The artificial intelligence evaluates the personality traits of an intended target, recommends the right prank, and executes the plan.

A parting note:  We’d like to recognize the area judges who participated in this first pitch event:  Alan Grosheider, Blue222; Bridged Morrissey, The Root; Carlos Ocampo, Emergence Law; Lisa Benson, Business First Louisville; and Natalia Bishop, Story Louisville. Our pitch director was Alex Day, the CEO of the Sheltowee Business Network.

 And a special congratulations to our Sheltowee Business Network Pitch Contest winner:  Michael Detmer of Innovative Therapeutics with LullaFeed. He receives a one-year entrepreneurship membership in the Sheltowee Business Network!