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Blayzer Startup Client Wins $5K in Highland Gigabit Challenge

We’re happy to report that one of Blayzer’s startup clients has won a prize!, an Edwardsville, IL-based web application that helps families with young children identify and rate family-oriented restaurants, was named a runner-up in Highland Communication Services’ 2014 Highland Gigabit Challenge.

With this distinction comes a pretty sweet prize package. brought home a jumbo-sized check for $5,000 and office space in Highland, IL equipped with Gigabit internet for an entire year. They will also receive support from the Highland Entrepreneurship Program. is an early-stage startup that Blayzer has been working with since its infancy. In fact, you could even say it was born here. That’s because it’s the brainchild of Blayzer’s own VP of Digital Production, Brandon Lance. In addition to his important role at Blayzer, Brandon is the father of two young daughters.

“I understand all too well the challenge of taking your kids out in public,” Brandon said in a recent meeting. “It only gets trickier when you introduce food and drinks. With parents and caregivers will be able to search for and share helpful info about restaurants and how well they meet a family’s needs. Kids menus, high chairs, changing tables, entertainment, and even plain old attitude toward children…it all plays a big part in where you decide to go.”

The whole team here at Blayzer could not be happier for Brandon and and we look forward to helping them tackle the next mountain 2015!

If you or someone you know has a startup they’d like to start, contact Blayzer to learn about our strategic planning and online marketing services.

Want to learn more about the 2014 Highland Gigabit Challenge? Here’s the full press release from the City of Highland, IL:

High Tech Coming to Highland
Squarefruit Labs, maker of next generation 3-D printers, wins $15,000 Highland Gigabit Challenge

Squarefruit Labs of St. Louis was announced on Friday as the top winner of the 2014 Highland Gigabit Challenge business plan competition.  In addition to cash prize, the high-tech startup will receive more than $15,000 of in-kind professional services, including free office space in Highland, accounting, legal and marketing and branding services.  They will also receive one year of a Gigabit internet connection through Highland Communication services, at no charge.

Presently operating in the Cambridge Innovation Center in St. Louis, Squarefruit is headed by Chico Weber, a recent graduate of SIUE’s School of Engineering.  Weber and his team are focused on developing, implementing and deploying next generation 3-D printers.  These unique 7-axis printers will enable Squarefruit customers to integrate other materials, for example circuit boards, into the standard 3-D printing process and opens up tremendous manufacturing opportunities.

Along with Squarefruit, two web app startups were named as $5,000 runners up. is a web application to help families with young children to identify and rate family oriented restaurants in the brainchild of Brandon Lance from Edwardsville.  SIUE student Wade Berner won the other $5,000 cash prize with his internet-based idea, Seated App, a mobile application that works directly with restaurant hostess to improve your eating experience and reduce waiting times.

The competition’s “live pitch” event was held at The Korte Company in Highland (IL) in front of more than 40 attendees.  Finalists made 5 minute presentations to panel of judges and respond to the questions afterward.  The two-person panel included Ben Burke is the Director of Entrepreneurship at Arch Grants, a nonprofit, economic development organization with a mission to create an entrepreneurial culture and infrastructure to build successful companies in the St. Louis region. Burke is also the Co-Founder of Underground Angels, a group whose mission is to connect young, business-minded professionals with early stage entrepreneurs for the purpose of providing hands-on support.

Local business leader Terry Lammers, President of Innovative Business Brokerage Group, Inc. served as the second judge.   Terry most recently spent time gaining experience in the commercial banking industry. Previously, he participated in eleven successful business acquisitions over 20 years of business ownership, gaining integral Mergers & Acquisitions experience.

Other finalists included, Chess Research Labs, Ignition Machine, pasilobus, and Vet Check-In.

Patrick McKeehan, director of the Illinois Metro East SBDC, was impressed by the event and the participants.  “All seven finalists were impressive,” said McKeehan.  “Today’s competition reconfirms to me that entrepreneurship and innovation in the Metro East region is starting to flourish.”

“I anticipate our Challenge winners to be warmly welcomed and fully embraced by community,” said Lisa Peck, Economic Development & Marketing Coordinator for Highland. “Highland gives all three the opportunity to establish and grow their startups in a wonderful business community and emerging technology hub.”

The Highland Gigabit Challenge sponsors include the City of Highland, Illinois Metro East Small Business Development Center, Singleton Law Firm PC, St. Louis Regional Chamber, Highland Chamber of Commerce, Corning, Foppe Visual Communications, Scheffel Boyle, CPA, Terra Properties, Bluebird Network, TheBANK of Edwardsville, RETKO Group, Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, Oates Associates, National Telco Television Consortium, First Clover Leaf Bank, the Rotary Club of Highland, Highland Communication Services, Highland Entrepreneurship Program and Moran Economic Development.