WINCHESTER — Four local entrepreneurs pitched their ongoing business ideas to a panel of judges with the hope of winning a cash prize, business coaching and other prizes at Friday’s Pitch Night at InnoVault on the Loudoun Street Mall.
The event is the second Pitch Night that business coach Crystel Smith has held this year. The first was in February and a third is scheduled for early December.
John Doleman, who created and currently operates the Winchester-based Apps TwentyFour Seventeen, took home prizes for People’s Choice and Panel’s Choice.
Doleman’s company helps small businesses and nonprofits market to their customers through mobile applications.
According to its website, “Apps TwentyFour Seventeen provides small businesses and non-profit organizations the capability to develop customer-focused mobile apps to integrate into their marketing communication mix to increase customer engagement, brand awareness and increase sales.”
Apps TwentyFour Seventeens’ cloud-based mobile app builder software allows users to design apps with no programming skills, Doleman said. It offers users click and edit development and custom features through low code development along with the capability to preview changes in real-time.
“We took the complexity out of development and made it innovative, fun and user-friendly,” the website reads. “Once your app is published you will receive a hybrid-based app that works with Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows and Blackberry that can be published on App Stores, Google Play, iTunes or our Private Market Place. You will be able to share with friends, send push notifications and app publishers get real-time app analytics.”
Any type of business can be clients, Doleman said, but right now they’ve focused on restaurants.
The app comes with a basic $69 monthly subscription, a $70 monthly gold subscription and a platinum $149 monthly subscription. The platinum subscription includes Apple services.
Doleman said the process starts with interviewing business owner to decide their goals and discuss ideas on how to accomplish them. Then, an app is built to their liking and can be used for features such as chat rooms and messaging, audio and radio, making appointments, e-commerce and other tools. Doleman said he suggests creating a “scratch and win” contest on the app so users can possibly win a free prize while using it.
For his wins, Doleman received one month of free coaching from Smith, a three-month membership at InnoVault and a copy of Smith’s new book for the People’s Choice award, as well as another free month of coaching, a yearlong membership at InnoVault and a $1,000 prize for the Panel’s Choice award.
Other pitchers included Anneise Green, of Po Green’s Southern Food and BBQ; Shawn Yang, of Tryve investment app; and Frank Ortado, of Homes 4 Humanity.