Eight months ago, speech language pathologist Madison McClure had an idea for an app to help her elderly patients regain motor functions, speech, and memory.
It would be full of activities and exercises to reinforce what she did during their appointments, which only last a few hours a week. The goal is to stop the regression that occurs between appointments or after a patient is discharged.
“Caretakers always ask, ‘What can I do when you aren’t here? What can I do to make sure she doesn’t decline,’” McClure said. “We’re talking about teaching your loved one to say ‘I love you’ again.”
“We’re talking about teaching your loved one to say ‘I love you’ again.”
She and her husband Sky McClure came up with Cortex, a Denton-based startup that has a lot of concepts, but no actual app to bring to market.
Starting this weekend all that changes.
Cortex won the 2017 CodeLaunch pitch event in Frisco Wednesday and as it’s prize, Code Authority will assign a team of coders and software developers to create the app in a hack-a-thon that starts Friday.
They’ll be designing, testing, and writing code all weekend while they shoot video and have food catered in.
“By Sunday, we give them all their code,” said Jason Taylor, CEO and founder of Code Authority. “They’re going to have the bones of an MVP [minimal viable product]. That’s a big deal at this point.”
THE CORTEX PITCH
The husband and wife duo beat out four other finalists at the fifth annual CodeLaunch event, which was held at the Dr Pepper Arena and emceed by Marty Turco, former Dallas Star goalie and current director of corporate development for the Stars.
In addition to being the overall winner of the seed accelerator competition, Cortex also received separate awards for “Best Pitch” and “Most Financial Potential.” It’s the most awards won by a single competitor in CodeLaunch’s five-year history.
Madison McClure started the pitch by asking who in the audience knows an older friend or relative who has struggled with brain disorders. The majority of attendees raised their hands and she pointed out that it affects more than 65 million people in the U.S.
“It’s life shattering for the patient and everybody in their support group,” she said. “We want to give you more quality time with the people you love most. With Cortex, a patient who’s in speech therapy can get started with the clinician and they can keep it up after they’ve been discharged.”
“With Cortex, a patient who’s in speech therapy can get started with the clinician and they can keep it up after they’ve been discharged.”
Sky McClure said he anticipates revenues of $3 million a year, not counting expenses, but they need $300,000 to launch the app, market it, and distribute it.
“We’re really looking for someone who is as passionate about this as we are,” he said. “We would love this to be utilized across the world.”
When asked whether he thinks the app would store results of the tests on a cloud, he said it’s unlikely because of all the privacy concerns. Instead, the data would stay on the app where the specialists can view it when they come in.
Initially, the app will focus on helping elderly patients, but the concept could be used for toddlers and children who are speech delayed or have other developmental issues.
“This specific version that we’re starting with leans more towards the geriatrics, but I could see a future version for toddlers and young developing kids,” Madison McClure said.
A LOOK AT THE FINALISTS
Roshawanna Novellus traveled from Atlanta, Georgia to present her startup EnrichHer, a crowdfunding app aimed at helping women-backed companies get off the ground.
“You will be the spark that ignites women-led businesses across the country.”
“Now if you have $100 in your pocket you can invest in a company,” Novellus said. “Think about all of the amazing companies run by the awesome entrepreneurs that you know and the ability for you to make money while they make money. You will be the spark that ignites women-led businesses across the country.”
Entrepreneurs could post their idea on the crowdfunding site where investors could find it.
Daen Hudspeth’s ClickDitto took home the award for “Most Creative.” Hudspeth founded ClickDitto with the idea that any place could become a sales floor.
Whether it’s an artist showing off their work in a cafe or someone selling a Stormtrooper suit from the Star Wars films, anyone who walks by could purchase the items just by using the ClickDitto app.
“We’re going to solve that problem of how do I find that thing I just encountered?” Hudspeth said.
It could even be used to stage a model home and make extra money at the same time.
D’Arcy Young said the office building model is broken and he wants to fix it with his Honeycomb app.
The web and mobile-based platform allows for two-way communication between the landlord, tenant, and service providers. It’s like Slack for office buildings.
“A Class A building owner would pay a setup fee and charge all the goods and service providers who want to advertise on the platform,” Young said.
Getting the service off the ground has been tricky because he needs building owners and management companies to get on board.
“You really have to start in Uptown, downtown, and work your way up from there,” he said.
Credit card debt, student loans, and impulse buying is a recipe for disaster for college students who lack basic financial literacy.
“We’re extremely passionate about making money smarter for everyone.”
That’s why Cole Oliver invented CHDR (pronounced Cheddar), which gives real-time feedback on daily financial actions. The app triggers alerts to encourage saving and investing rather than giving in to instant gratification, such as going out or buying a video game.
It’s gamified so their score goes down if they go to McDonalds and goes up if they go to the grocery store. His goal is to launch the app at universities to help college students.
“They’ve never been taught to manage or care about their personal finances,” Oliver said. “We’re extremely passionate about making money smarter for everyone.”
The app would be free to users and would be tied to their bank account.
Photos by Chase Mardis:
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