Four fledgling startups identified through the One Spark festival have entered KYN, a new accelerator program, for a 16-week crash course in how to take their concepts to a bigger stage.
Stache Investments Corp., started by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Klan, has put in $1 million to help One Spark launch KYN.
The companies involved in KYN are Original Fuzz, which manufactures padded guitar bags and guitar straps modeled on Peruvian belts; Pure Treats, focused on introducing vegetables into foods kids love; Floppy Entertainment, which designs mobile games; and Hatchware, which sets up digitized menus for restaurants to reach diners through computers and mobile devices.
“This is a natural outgrowth of what we hoped to achieve with the inaugural One Spark festival, and the next step in supporting great startups in Jacksonville,” KYN cofounder and One Spark cofounder Elton Rivas said in a statement.
One Spark will hold its second crowdfunding festival in Downtown Jacksonville April 9-14, 2014, with updated categories, larger prizes and millions in capital investments.
Changes for 2014 include:
Art, innovation, music, science and technology are the updated creator categories.
The prize structure includes a $200,000 guaranteed crowdfund distributed solely on public vote, $10,000 bonuses awarded to the top project in each category, five $10,000 juried prizes, and immediate individual contributions from attendees.
Millions in capital investments will be available for One Spark creators from private investors and equity firms.
A more walkable, concentrated footprint that will include 20 square blocks.
More voting and information kiosks locations.
The co-founder and executive director of One Spark, Elton Rivas, will turn over the day-to-day management of One Spark to Joe Sampson, who served a director of field operations for the inaugural 2013 festival.
Rivas will continue in an advisory capacity while serving as present of the One Spark board of directors.
It’s been a week since One Spark began, and just a few days since it concluded. Touted as “the world’s first crowdfunding festival,” a lot of hard work and high hopes went into the five-day event. Media outlets all over Northeast Florida covered the festival, and Folio Weekly was no exception.
I covered 10 out of the dozen speakers flown in from all over the world for the One Spark Speaker Series. I learned the importance of being a generalist rather than a specialist from Leslie Jensen-Inman. I was schooled by Jessica Sherok on how “Facebook Isn’t Your Friend” (I immediately changed all of my privacy settings). Martin Atkins shed light on just how difficult traversing the music business is — he also threw blueberry muffins into the crowd and used the f-bomb at least a hundred times.
When I wasn’t at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts’ Terry Theater, I was in the media room at the Dalton Agency blogging and enjoying a few complimentary snacks or perusing my assigned group of venues, including Hemming Plaza and the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville.
The event left me inspired and educated on innovative ways to guide my career – even as a freelance writer. I watched local musicians perform on a stage draped with colorful Afghans. I spoke to multiple filmmakers about everything from a zombie disease taking over small town America during the Civil Rights era to filming the musicians of Libya who had previously been silenced by Muammar Gaddafi. I also took in my fair share of public art – mural work by Shaun Thurston, an installation based on Davy Crockett by Drew Hunter and an intimate look at Jacksonvillians by Y.C. Lozano.
“I spent about $200 on my project and had a sponsor to cover the paint, so for me it’s a great return for a few days of sweat and fun,” Thurston said about receiving the fourth greatest amount of votes (855) equaling …
These are the projects that received the most votes at One Spark.
Fathom Sphere: $2,509.43
The 5 & Dime: $2,326.50
The Wall: $3,466.29
Kona School: $3,137.96
The Riverwalk Project: $2,448.45
1 Food Park Project: $3,189.55
Tiger Trail: $4,183.94
Beyond the Façade: $4,202.71
20 Murals in a Year: $4,010.39
The Kona School project also received the most individual contributions at $2,320.
Local artist Shaun Thurston would like to see “20 Murals in a Year” as per his One Spark entry of the same name. Entry #767 is described on the festival’s website as, “Jacksonville needs more public art and my contribution towards fulfilling that need is mural work. Painting a mural can be an expensive process and most of the time, I cannot take on large projects unless the materials and labor are funded by a client or sponsor. This is where One Spark comes in.”
Lucky for Jacksonvillians, One Spark supporters and Thurston, his entry #767, “20 Murals in a Year,” was named number three “vote getters in art” for total seed money of $4,010.39 (according to One Spark’s tumblr page):
Congrats to Thurston and his team. We look forward to seeing more public art gracing the buildings of downtown Jacksonville.
For the past six years, Jacksonville’s Burro Bags has created messenger bags from billboards but has recently gotten into the cycling industry.
Burro Bags ImPACKt line is made from promotional material, said Meghan Johnson. Every component of the ImPACKt line products, such as the straps and thread, are U.S.-sourced materials.
“We needed something more durable, so we strayed away from billboard and made everything out of a high-grade canvas material called Cordura,” Johnson said.
The ImPACKt project is recycling promotional material, such as banners, signs and tent-toppers, Johnson said.
Most companies throw these products away at the end of their promotions, so Burro Bags take the materials and turns them into something useful like totes, accessories, tablet cases and backpacks, she said.
The ImPACKt Project has worked with The Cummer Museum, MOCA, JEA and the Jacksonville Jazz Festival.
Johnson said companies can take promotional materials from their events and give their employees the recycled Burro Bags products. Or if a company wants to make something out of promotional material and doesn’t have its own, Burro Bags has a large stockpile of promotional banners and other materials that companies like Vans and Volcom have dropped off.
Jenni Reid has entered One Spark to pursue her dream of touring the country playing the music she loves. She taught herself how to play guitar at the age of 17.
“The great thing about my music is that it is has been able to reach people all over the country,” Reid said.
She said she has been asked to perform across the country, but she just needs the funding to get there.
She has offers to go to Colorado, Texas, Tennessee and New Jersey.
Working at Tijuana Flats doesn’t provide the money she needs to tour, Reid said.
My music definitely changes genres by song, she said.
“If Tom Petty, Johnny Cash and Michelle Branch all had a child by some miracle, it would be me.”
Jonathon Fletcher and Paul Nicholson have created a sustainable agriculture food production system called the Apod Project.
The Apod is a repurposed shipping container that stores a system to produce healthy non-genetically modified organic foods using aquaponics, Fletcher said. Aquaponics is the cultivation of fish and plants together in a constructed, recirculating ecosystem utilizing natural bacterial cycles to convert fish waste to plant nutrients.
“We think of this invention as the future of food. This is George Jetson and how they would be growing food,” Fletcher said.
The system can be a standalone unit that can operate in a field, a parking lot, the side of a mountain or wherever you need it, he said.
The system overproduces the amount of power it needs to run using solar energy. The food is produced through aquaponics, and the only input into the system is through the fish. The fish are fed and their waste is processed into nutrients for the plants, Fletcher said.
It’s a continuous, self-regulating system with its own natural ecosystem.
The Apod Project is displayed inside of a durable shipping container on the Northbank Riverwalk directly in front of the Hyatt hotel. It contains catfish, goldfish, koi, algae eaters and an array of plants inside the shipping container.
It is ideally set up to have edible fish — anything that resides in fresh water, Fletcher said.
The Apod does not damage the environment. The product features technology that can make plants grow faster without altering the plants themselves, he said.
The starting cost to purchase one would initially be $40,000 and it will feature a three kilowatt system, wind turbine and battery bank, Fletcher said. This product can produce up to $15k a year and after two-three years the initial investment will be earned back.
A unique feature of this system is that it can operate with no petroleum, unlike everything in conventional …
Kevin Varnadoe was tired of hauling his kayak seven blocks to the ocean.
Varnadoe said after he bought his kayak, he looked around for something to haul it in and was disappointed in everything he found. So, he created W.E.T., which stands for Waterman Equipment Trailer.
“You heard ‘necessity is the mother of invention’? Well, this is it,” he said.
W.E.T. is extremely lightweight and easy to haul. The trailer attaches to a bike.
Varnadoe said every time he takes his W.E.T. out, there are at least three or four people who are interested in purchasing one.
With a capacity of 200 pounds, the W.E.T. has an adjustable top rack that can carry two kayaks or multiple surf and paddleboards at one time, he said.
There are stores that are interested in purchasing them, Varnadoe said. They could easily be sold for $350 to $399 in stores.
He said One Spark is a good way to meet people and possibly come up with production ideas.
“We are looking for funding to build a factory and build these right here in Jacksonville and put some people to work and get this on the market.”
One Spark entry #432, “In Search of Sound: Excursions from the Global Underground,” is touted as the first feature-length film about the post-millennial music underground. Produced by the brother and sister team of Brian Parsons and Amber Halford, “In Search of Sound” (ISOS) features contributions from more than 20 filmmakers who filmed over 50 artists and labels worldwide. “There was no single camera crew traveling the world and filming – that would have cost a million dollars,” Parsons explains from the MOCA lobby. “Having people film themselves created a more natural, more emotive response.” The film was winner of the London Underground Film Festival, official selection at the Frame Out Film Festival and official selection at the DORF Festival.