Flat World Holdings is proud to announce that Managing Partner and Co-Founder Kirk Ferrell served as a judge on a "Shark Tank"-style competition, where startups and entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to a panel of experts.
The competition was held at OPO Startups in St. Charles, Missouri, and featured four finalists—out of dozens that applied. It was a diverse array of businesses, and included products and services ranging from grilling and barbeque accessories to drone technology focused on the mining industry. Judges heard a 10-minute "pitch" from each business, and had the opportunity to ask follow-up questions.
The winning startup received $10,000 and the runner-up received $5,000.
All participants received some funding based on specific elements of their business plan, including how well they knew their market and their plan for reaching that market.
From a logistics and supply chain perspective, one thing that was clear for the product-focused startups was the important role logistics, supply chain, and warehousing are to startups—even at their earliest stages.
"These businesses, even in year 1 of their operation, are facing the same sort of distribution and warehousing challenges every company faces," said Ferrell. "For example, what happens when you sell products on Amazon and exceed the warehousing capacity Amazon provides? Or when a just-in-time model fails because your product spends far too long on the ship over from China? Those are questions these startups face, and after last night I'm even more excited that this is a market Flat World Holdings is paying close attention to."
However, that doesn't mean Ferrell attended looking for new business opportunities.
"It wasn't that long ago that my co-founder, Jeff Rothermich, and I were running what would become Flat World Holdings off our laptops and coffee shop Wi-Fi," says Ferrell. "We have a soft spot for new entrepreneurs, and they need all the support they can get. Further, we believe that most new economic opportunity and job growth comes from entrepreneurs like the ones we heard from last night."
"And, as a company that strives for an internal entrepreneurial culture, we believe we can learn something from entrepreneurs—whether they are the contestants in this competition, our employees, or our customers."