Put an Oxford Startup Under the Tree
+ other gifts and suggestions for entrepreneurs
Christmas is just around the corner and we thought that would be a good time to look around and tell all y'all about a few of our favorite things, just in case you were wondering what to get that crazy entrepreneur in your life!
Gokaze - Racing Drones and AR Races
The First thing that came to mind as we started scouring the world for our favorite tech gadgets and services was a very cool company that we ran across at the Mississippi New Venture Challenge, a business plan competition sponsored by Innovate Mississippi. GoKaze (pronounced like kamikaze) is the passion-project of two engineering students at Ole Miss, Taylor Brame and Sumontro Sinha. While they didn't win the competition that day, they definitely sold us at Mantle. on drone racing as the sport and activity that will finally get kids (and adults) outside and off of their Playstations.
Simply put, GoKaze wants to be the NASCAR™ of drone racing. Entering the world of Drone Racing where you have to be the pit crew, the racer, the signals tech, and the programmer, can be a daunting task when on your own. It doesn’t have to be.
Through GoKaze, getting into drone racing is easy for everyone, whether you’re 10 years-old or 60 years-old. GoKaze is changing drone racing by not only selling you a "Ferrari" of a racing drone, but also by creating a virtual world through an augmented reality app that allows users to fly crazy-cool race courses by merely sliding down their VR goggles. Basically, its real, live Mario Kart using flying drones and any open space, racing any drone against any friends.
So, how did GoKaze get started?
GoKaze began in Oxford when co-founder Brame, a University of Mississippi student at at the time and passionate about start-ups, met co-founder Sinha, a graduate in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Miami. Within a minute of meeting each other, the conversation was engulfed in the topic of drones. Next thing you know, the guys were headed to University of Mississippi Start-Up Weekend 2016 hosted by the school’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. There, they pitched their concept that went on to win crowd favorite. Next, they went on to the Gillespie Business Plan Competition and then met with the Rebel Venture Capital Fund, where they received grants to get their project off the ground. From that point forward, their days became occupied with creating what is now known as GoKaze.
Now GoKaze is testing target markets for product improvement and building user groups through seminars and workshops held on campus at the University of Mississippi. There, they have already held 4 seminars and spoken with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers campus organization about racing drones. On November 8, 10, and 12, 2016 they hosted workshops where users built a racing drone as a group.
If you are interested in this "sport of the future" as the guys call it, whether getting your hands on a legit, suped-up drone or when you can expect to buy your first race course for your new Google Daydream goggles (here), you can contact the guys through their website at www.gokaze.com.
Speaking of the Future
Here are a few more of our favorite things that every entrepreneur can get behind, whether it is planning for the future or looking into it.
Bullet Journal + Other Journals
If you are like me, trying to keep up with the craziness of things that will happen in the future or need to get done everyday at a startup, not to mention the whole clowder of them we deal with in our incubator (here), is like herding cats. That's where bullet journaling steps in! You can buy an actual, physical bullet journal (here) or you can apply the system as shown in the video below into any old blank notebook too! Shinola makes several different hardback sizes that you can find at our friends Great Scott (here) in Jackson (Medium $17.95 or Small $12). Or, grab Hemingway's favorite journal, a Moleskine, from Lemuria Books (here), just around the corner from Mantle.
While Bullet Journaling is not super high-tech (it is pen and paper after all), the analog nature of the technique drills the ideas a little bit more into your head. However, the flexible nature of the journal also allows for those that use technology tools like Evernote or Asana in their daily task management to bolster those digital tools with the old fashioned one through the concept of migration (watch the video above). In fact, use this cool Moleskine-Evernote Journal (here) to connect the two worlds seamlessly. Basically, by migrating tasks and notes from the journal to the digital versions, any entrepreneur can use the efficient benefits of the digital tools with the tangible benefits of the pen and paper.
Newton Mail ($99/year)
I can be honest with you: when Dropbox shuttered its mail client Mailbox, I was downright glum. Then many months and several forays into replacements, there it was on my Facebook timeline: Newton Mail (here). Newton took up Mailbox's most important feature: the snooze button. Sending email messages to the future so they can come back when you need to really address that message. Basically, snoozing allows an entrepreneur to turn their inbox monster into a super-light-weight to-do list. With a new streamlined inbox, Newton helps declutter your typically busy past, present and futures.
Shoe Dog + The Third Wave + Lean In
Three books, all by legendary entrepreneurs, are a must read for any entrepreneur, no matter where they are in the business cycle. These books and hundreds of others about the crazy ride entrepreneurs find themselves on stock the shelves at Lemuria Books (or for the tech-oriented on the iBook store or Amazon Kindle).
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” George Santayana
Shoe Dog is the story of Nike as told by its founder Phil Knight. While Knight only tells the story of Nike's history without looking into the future, the story of Nike is filled with do-what-it-takes optimism, sure doom, and an icon-clad ending. Shoe Dog is filled with war stories from Nike's arc that any entrepreneur can apply as they enter each precarious stage of business, whether startup, growth, or IPO.
The Third Wave is a combination of both the history of America Online and Steve Case's, AOL's co-founder, thoughtful prediction for the next level of technology development and innovation in America. Much like Knight and Nike, Case's story of AOL is a tight-wire act from a save-the-company pivot to one of the world's largest mergers ever. In looking toward the future, Case notes that the flatness of the internet will cause a decentralization of technology companies from the east and west coasts. The benefactors of this decentralization will be cities like Jackson as they provide the types of affordable and likable places that entrepreneurs want to locate their businesses and their families.
Lean In is Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's take on balancing work and family life. A bit of a female entrepreneur's manifesto, Lean In has tons of great information for any entrepreneur that wants to think about balancing family life with a risk-filled entrepreneurial journey. Sandberg spends much of the book telling women why the current workscape is stacked against them, but she challenges them to lean in to the challenge for themselves and for their fellow women. The book can also be read by male bosses as a wake-up call as to the unique challenges that their female employees face in their own organizations.
What Do You Do with an Idea?
What Do You Do with an Idea? is a children's book about the journey of having, nourishing, and surviving with a big idea. This book is great for the little, curious kiddos in your life. You can inject them with the idea bug early with this great story of a child who takes an idea along the winding road to success. You can also just buy it and read it for yourself!
Morning Money, NextDraft, the Skimm and The Hustle (All free!)
If there is one thing that all entrepreneurs must do day to day it is stay on top of what is happening in the world. An explosion of information due to the internet has nearly made it impossible to efficiently consume the news that is out there, which is a ton. These three newsletters forego news algorithms for good-ole-fashion human intuition. Morning Money (here) is a combination finance and politics letter curated by Ben White of Politico. NextDraft (here) by Dave Pell is also available in app form on the iTunes Store. Pell brings a bit more commentary to the usually drab (or serious) world of politics and world events. Like NextDraft, the Skimm is an app (and email) (here) based newsletter that boils everyday news stories from finance to politics to celebrities down to a witty skim to keep readers up-to-date. While originally aimed at women, the Skimm can be enjoyed by any entrepreneur as they prep for the day. Finally, the Hustle (here) tackles the world of technology and pop culture in a "bro' tone" that brings a hint of excitement to reading and digesting the daily news.
Buying for now is hard enough, much less having to think about buying the same item sometime in the future! That's why we love subscriptions! There seems to be a subscription for everything these days. Some of these items are "suggestions" to be purchased by someone or another in some authoritarian roll and others are just because they are awesome!
Soma Water Pitcher and Filters (here): We all drink way too much coffee and not enough water! That's why you need a water filter at your house and office. Soma has created beautiful water pitchers for putting a little fancy in your fridge. Even better, Soma sends you a new filter every three months so you don't have to remember to buy or change your filter like the experts recommend.
Quip Toothbrush (here): Experts also recommend that you change your toothbrush every several months. This is usually easier said than done... until now! Quip has created the world's most accessible electric toothbrush. First off, the quip looks like a regular toothbrush, not a massive attack robot for your mouth, unlike other electric brushes on the market. It also comes with a nifty two-minute timer so that you can time your brushes and make your dentist and teeth happy! Finally, Quip sends you a new toothbrush head every three months so you don't have to remember to change - Quip does that for you!
Wohven T-Shirts (here): No experts recommend that you change your t-shirt every so often. Well, maybe your spouse does. This one is more for fun and everyone knows how much an entrepreneur loves a t-shirt. Wohven delivers a new plain or designer-designed t-shirts every month starting at $10.
Plated (here) + Blue Apron (here): If you love eating nice dinners, but don't know where to start or don't have time to shop for dinner, then these two companies are for you! You don't need both, but each will send you a refrigerated box every week complete with fresh ingredients and delicious recipes for just over $50 a week.
Happy Holidays from your Mantle. Family! Drop us a line if you have any other cool entrepreneur inspired gifts.
Oh! And don't forget, you can always buy your loved one a membership to Mantle.!