3-2-1: Recent pitches, Mackenzie Stokel, and purple cows

Estimated read time: 4 minutes and 15 seconds.

➡️ The next FIESTA is on March 21, 2023!  

FIESTA is actively seeking sponsors for 2023. If you're passionate about entrepreneurship and desire to grow your brand recognition, this is the perfect opportunity to get involved. There are limited spaces left for anchor sponsors. Contact us here today.  


  • Today’s newsletter shares Makenzie Stokel’s founder story, spotlights the recent pitches, and shares several upcoming events.
  • Our recommended book for the week is ‘Purple Cow’ by Seth Godin.
  • We have three special events next week that are beneficial to founders. Scroll down, so you don’t miss out!

Quick Announcements 📢:  

  • In case you missed it, if you attended FIESTA on Tuesday, we sent out a personal digest of the people that you connected with You can view your connections by logging in and clicking “connections.”
  • See photos from the recent event here! A special thanks to Travis Lilley Photography, we’ve been so thankful to have him capture our events and will miss seeing him at FIESTA. You can follow him on Instagram to stay in touch.  

Upcoming Events 📅:

First up, we have a few special events:

1. Are you tired of spinning your wheels and not seeing the results you want in the market? Do you want to build a product that customers love and that can truly make a difference?

Join Linnify’s “Experiment Your Way to Market Success” events in March to gain valuable insights on how to clarify your startup’s unique value proposition in the market and test assumptions efficiently. There are Limited spots are available. Register HERE and for additional information, reach out to Catalin Briciu.

Dates: March 1st at The Carpenter Hotel with Hall T. Martin and March 9th at WeWork 801 Barton Springs with Elizabeth Jennings

1h | Market validation for investing in early-stage startups with Hall T. Martin / Elizabeth Jennings
2h | WORKSHOP - Creating unique value in the market with Catalin Briciu
1h | The path to your first “anchor” or “lighthouse” customers with David Valentino

2. Celebrate Black History month and show your support by joining us on February 28th, 2023, 3 Day Startup, DIVINC, Huston–Tillotson University, Google for Startups, and F.I.E.S.T.A. have come together for a special evening of networking and fast pitches by talented Black startup founders! To pitch, SIGN UP HERE,  and to attend, REGISTER HERE.  

3. If you are female-identifying, join us as we kick off SXSW! Our next Fearless Female Foundersgathering is on March 6th.

There’s a lot happening next week. Explore upcoming events on the FIESTA calendar!

Recent Pitches 🎤:

  • Ari Salafia with TaxTaker, a female-founded company that helps startups get more money in their pocket through government tax credits.
  • Alex Griffin with SunShader, Inc., the patented laptop sun shade & privacy screen that enables you to literally “work from anywhere”!
  • Anna Frankowska with Graceful Finance, a fintech firm focused on providing financial products and a platform that enables older adults to unlock their home wealth, allowing them to age in place and live with dignity.
  • Sean Van Slycke with Scaffold Education is creating a solution that provides less prep time, more face time.
  • Sara Hall with Tarawa Labs Inc. is the scientist and inventor of Single Spense Gloves.
  • Patrick Bowen Neurophos is bringing the power of the human brain to artificial intelligence.
  • Julianna Lembeck with taurus a mental health solution for consumers with a focus on delivering through content.
  • Aidan Vogel with swyftlyt, which is solving climate change one home at a time.
  • Michele Hermes with Think Outloud Co. Hubbub is a social media solution for public opinion. Our motto is Your Voice, Your Vote!

Member News 🎉:

Founder Story 📚:

Meet Makenzie Stokel, co-founder of eva, making it easy to book artists, speakers, dancers, magicians, and more for your next event.

“My cofounder and I were surrounded by talented musicians who wanted better-paying gigs. We started by manually booking talent at venues before realizing we could automate that process. Now we are an online marketplace that connects private and corporate event planners to vetted entertainment they can book.”

Learn more about eva and connect with Makenzie here.

We would love to share YOUR founder's story. Fill in this form to be featured.

Request for Help 👋🏼:

  • Will Cline: “Hey all,I’m looking for a room to sublease in around the Hyde park/ North UT area. Alternatively, we could find a new place and split rent in the same area. It would be so great to split housing with someone from this community.” Message Will here.
  • Cherie Werner: “We are looking for an event photographer, please reach out to Cherie."

Helpful Opportunities / Resources 💫:
3 Day Startup in conjunction with Huston-Tillotson University Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is offering FREE co-working space WHEN: Wednesday’s 12:00PM - 7:00PM & Friday’s 8:00AM - 3:00PM. WHERE: 1023 Springdale Rd. Building 12, Suite A (Huston-Tillotson University Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation). Reach out to Erika Haskin with questions.

Recommended Book of the week 📖:

If you are wanting to challenge your thoughts, we recommend ‘Purple Cow’ by Seth Godin.

Seth Godin coined the term "Purple Cow" to refer to a remarkable and distinctive feature of a product or service that sets it apart from competitors. Read this book to learn how to add elements to your startup or products that most don’t have.

That's all we have for this week. If you'd like to tell your founder story, be featured as a community member, share a celebration, or ask a question, please respond to this email! We'd love to hear from you.

💌 If you were forwarded this email and would like to subscribe, you can do so here.

Special thanks to Jennipher Judge Realtor, KOYA, and Capital Factory for making FIESTA possible!

Sponsoring is an amazing way to support and give back to the FIESTA community. Learn about sponsorship opportunities here.

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