Sunday March 24, 2013 | 07:55 PM

More of the evening's final presentations at Startup Weekend Portland (if this is your first visit, here's some more background on what's going on). 

Unicorn Bump

"Unicorn Bump" is the new name for Jodie Lapchick's Dance Gym concept. Here's the website:

They've put together a promo video with a soundtrack from Michael Jackson. "Not the late-night dancing queen you once were?" asks a voiceover. "What if you could go to a daytime dance club instead of going to a gym?"

"There is an untapped market here worth exploring," says Jodie. "We're kind of just playing with the concept here," she warns. Several members of Jodie's team left early today, leaving just her and her team's Web developer, Nick Hall, on the stage right now.

A judge asks to hear more about the business model.

"I'm looking at getting 100 people, charging $12 apiece getting 2-3 hour sessions on Tuesday and Thursdays," says Jodie. She'd like to open the gym at an existing nightclub during daytime hours, when they're otherwise empty.

Above: a screenshot of the Unicorn Bump website.

CareerMASH is a website designed to help college students make informed decisions about their courses of studies based on expected future salaries in the workplace.

"There's all this information out there: salary info, unemployment data, anecdotal information and advice, but half of it isn't even relevant to their own circumstances. There's no way for them to sift through it.

"There's 9 million students every year shopping for degrees, trying to make an informed decision. CareerMash takes all of that unorganized data out there and uses big data solutions to present it in an easy to use, engaging way."

A very rudimentary beta site is live now at

A judge asks how the team plans to find customers among students.

Swain talks about marketing in campus communities. "Because you can compare your own career prospects to your friends', we hope there will be some viral spread."

Media Shifter

Emily Bernhard introduces herself as a filmmaker who's worked for NOVA, the History Channel, and National Geographic. She notes that producers are sitting on thousands of hours' worth of footage, all of which could be made available to wider audiences.

"The future of storytelling is here, now," she says, referring to the possibilities of online distribution and online video. "We're proposing Ken Burns on steroids, and the difference is that you're in control."

Her team has remixed the 1922 film "Nanook of the North" with shorter clips embedded into an interactive webpage, including background info about the Arctic and modern-day climate change.

"It's cool, right?" Bernhard asks. There are some murmurs from the crowd; it does look pretty slick. "We're repackaging old films to give them new life in new formats," she says.

Judge Stephen Koltai has the first question. "Unfortunately you have a very media-savvy panel of judges here," he says. He wants to hear more about the business model.

"Let's take a National Geographic documentary on lions in Africa. Long pans and zooms, very slow-paced," says Bernhard. "We'd take that and edit it down to make it more engaging. Either we could do that as a service to the owner, and take a fee on that, or they could license it to us in exchange for a percentage or revenues we'd get. ... We're enabling more people to see (these documentaries) through a modern lens."


I'd written about these guys earlier today, and their basic concept remains the same: connecting college students who need a summer rental with other college students in the same community who need to sublet their place while they leave town for summer break.

Team leader Steve Fortune says that there would be three possible revenue streams: advertisers and business referrals (moving companies, for instance), subscription fees from landlords who wish to market their rentals to students, and transaction fees on rentals and subleases.

They have a teaser website up at

About this Blog

Subscribe to the
Commercial Confidential RSS feed

Commercial Confidential tracks Maine's business leaders and economic indicators.

About the Author

I'm an economics wonk and an online content producer for the Portland Press Herald.

You can get in touch with me by emailing cmilneil [at], or by calling 791-6307, or by following @vigorousnorth. Also check out my business and economics list on Twitter.

"On the Move": Submit items of interest regarding new employees, promotions and professional honors — with photos and LinkedIn URLs — to business [at]

Favorite Sites

Previous entries

April 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013


September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)
Prefer to respond privately? Email us here.