OCEAN Accelerator™ Demo Day 2023 Recap

CINCINNATI, OH SEPTEMBER 28, 2023 – OCEAN Accelerator™ Closes out Cohort 9 with Demo Day 2023

The founders of eight rising startups made their pitches to some of the best and brightest activators, investors, and encouragers from Cincinnati and beyond. The lights were bright. The smiles were brighter. And as cheesy as it sounds, the future of these startups is the brightest!

Demo Day 2023 was a huge success not just because of the number of people who came to support the founders making pitches or because of the awesome pitches themselves but also because of the connections that were established, the relationships that were built, and the encouragement that was given to another wave of entrepreneurs trying to be themselves as they build their businesses. It was a celebration of what it means to be human and an entrepreneur–a beautiful and complex adventure!

After completing the unique work of our faith-based accelerator, the founders were ready. Over seventeen weeks and hundreds of hours of learning from professionals and mentors, integrating their faith and personal purposes into their work, and building venture-backable companies, the founders took the stage. But not as simple founders. As whole humans. Founders who are able and encouraged to be their whole selves: founders with spiritual goals, big entrepreneurial aspirations, pasts marked with personal and professional victories and losses, doubts and anxieties about who they are and how they make their mark on the world, and calendars filled with Zoom meetings and wedding planning and family get-togethers.

Here’s a rundown of the eight startups from cohort 9 that we heard from:

  • Haydn Vestal pitched TinyChain, a new type of database-plus-application server that saves software developers time and effort when building new cloud services.
  • Mason Orme pitched Wiggl, a workspace coach that provides tools and access to hybrid and remote employees for their wellness and health.
  • Melissa Lo pitched Wildcats, a start-up that connects, empowers, and unleashes young entrepreneurs and their solutions into the world.
  • Simon Hou pitched Anonymous Agent, a new platform where social media users monetize their online presence while merchants gain valuable exposure.
  • Kevin Celisca pitched Integrate School, a platform that helps schools streamline lesson plans, increase visibility for admin and parents into what students are learning, and foster efficient collaboration between teachers.
  • Toly Sherbakov pitched Magic Kids to nurture a generation of creative and imaginative minds through a game-based learning platform that merges virtual reality with the real world.
  • Marvin Francois pitched oneKIN to level the playing field for small business owners to grow and scale sustainably in the digital landscape.
  • Joe Knopp founded Mica to connect individuals with the impact they’re having with the world’s first-ever fractional Chief Impact Officer software. We got to celebrate his growth and hear his vision for where to go next.

In total, over four hundred people signed up to hear the pitches and connect with others. Four hundred other stories interacting with those of the founders. And that’s where the real magic of OCEAN and entrepreneurship happens. Ideas are formed, nurtured, and grown in those conversations. Tomorrow, those ideas become realities that enhance the human experience through new business ventures.

Couldn’t make it? Here’s the live stream recording!

The entire OCEAN team wants to thank everyone who attended and made Demo Day 2023 so memorable.

To our sponsors, we couldn’t have pulled it off without you and we’re thankful for your support. It takes buy-in from all sides to create a human-centered community that embraces the complexities of the human experience, and you’ve all helped make that happen.

To the investors and other attendees, your support and presence make Demo Day what it is. Your investment of capital, wisdom, time, energy, and even your presence goes further than any of us will know.

To the founders of cohort 9, you’re brilliant. You’ve inspired us with your determination, grit, humility, and vulnerability. We’ve learned as much from you as you’ve (hopefully) learned from us. And we cannot wait to see where the path leads you and your startups next.

About OCEAN Accelerator

OCEAN Accelerator is the original service offered by OCEAN Programs focused on early-stage, pre-scale venture backable startups. OCEAN equips founders for the challenging journey all entrepreneurs experience, helping them reach a point of readiness to engage investors, customers, candidates, and partners. OCEAN combines commercial content, personal mentoring, and personal development based on biblical leadership principles. Over seven Accelerator classes, 52 companies have launched or scaled, creating more than 250 jobs. Visit www.oceanprograms.com/accelerator for more information.

About OCEAN Programs

OCEAN Programs is a not-for-profit organization based in Cincinnati, Ohio. OCEAN serves entrepreneurs by providing access to training, community, and a foundation of faith on which to launch new organizations, building healthy founders, teams, and companies through a variety of programs designed to serve entrepreneurs of all types.

For further information, contact Luke Dooley, President & CEO, at [email protected].

Watch the Demo Day Pitch


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