By Brian Brus
Courtesy of The Journal Record
TULSA – Autumn Worten and Jennifer Brisco want to reignite a renaissance period of learning, and this time make it fun.
Worten and Brisco are the founders of RenKid in Tulsa. Or rather, they’re positioned to become the founders of the business – it’s still merely an idea right on the verge of realization. But in a sense, that’s one of the attributes of the original age of innovation, Worten said.
“We all want to be that renaissance person, to have our hands in a little bit of everything and be cultured, to make connections between ideas,” Worten said.
The purpose of RenKid is to help working parents plan fun, interactive, educational time with their children. Depending on a client’s subscription, RedKid will deliver a package with enough activity seed materials to fill an evening. Each package will follow a particular theme, such as sports or world languages, and include movies, science experiment kits and the like.
The first-time entrepreneurs are hoping now that someone else agrees with them that it’s a marketable idea. They’ll find out soon enough.
Worten is one of nine entrepreneur teams chosen to try her best elevator pitch March 11 at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. If those brief presentations can win over a panel of judges representing hypothetical investors in an elevator, the Oklahoma business developers could walk away with a share of the $10,000 in prizes.
The competition is sponsored by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, i2E Inc. support agency, and the Buffalo Lounge, the collaborative business promotion format with the Oklahoma Film & Music Office.
Jeff Moore with Norman-based Littlefish and Fountain Ventures also was chosen to compete at SXSW with his partner Valerie Myers Christensen.
Fountain Ventures is an umbrella organization formed to take orphan technologies to market. Christensen said they regularly meet fledgling innovators who have brilliant ideas but are tied to a day job and can’t afford to split their attention to form a startup. She said the ideas might not be Facebook-quality, but still have a lot of potential.
“Similarly, there are many businesses who spin off an idea and realize it’s not part of their core-value position,” Moore said. “They’ve validated that it’s helpful but not part of the main strategy.”
That’s how they found Littlefish, which was orphaned from Phase-2 Interactive, a development shop in Oklahoma City that couldn’t pursue the development and marketing of a social media management assistance system. Moore and Christensen picked up the idea and have fine-tuned the concept to pitch at SXSW.
Like Worten, the Fountain Ventures founders said they appreciate the opportunity for exposure in Austin even if they don’t win over any investors right away.
For information about the Buffalo Lounge elevator pitch competition, call Josh O’Brien at (405) 813-2412 or visit www.TheBuffaloLounge.com.