Twelve weeks went fast. By the time we got to our Demo Day presentations, it seemed as though I had just met the other teams in the Spring 2018 Cohort. But in the span of three months, each of the teams rapidly refined their value propositions and had made great progress toward commercial success. And we spent so much time together, any of the CEOs could have presented on behalf of the other four companies. But each CEO brought an irreplicable passion for their own cause. Smart City Works helped me bring my fire to the surface to the betterment of my pitch, my company, and my team.

I started Fend because the increasing cyberattacks on our increasingly connected infrastructure are a threat, not only to modern conveniences, but to human life itself. Attackers have taken down power grids, stolen personal information through heating and cooling equipment, and taken control of moving vehicles. Enough is enough! Left unchecked, these adversaries would shut down our hospitals, disrupt our food supply, and destroy our ability to keep the lights on and the drinking water flowing.

Fend’s DataValve™ hardware provides physical protection for connected equipment while allowing building owners, utilities, and fleet operators to get the real-time information they need to improve efficiency and reduce business disruption. Fend’s cloud-based monitoring service allows users to find additional value in that information and provides the means for a long-lasting relationship with our customers.

Before SCW, we were just a couple of guys, a stack of prototypes, and some code working on a shoestring, bootstrapped budget. Though the market opportunity for Fend is huge, I had a hard time succinctly articulating our vision to others before joining the cohort. Through one-on-one coaching from the SCW directors and their network of mentors, I was better able to communicate the urgency of our customers’ need and the power of our approach.

The team also put me in touch with partners and funding sources to accelerate our growth. The cohort company teams provided great feedback, product ideas, and connections. We’ve since won a sizable SBIR award from the Department of Energy, taken our first angel investment, and opened our new headquarters in Virginia.

Acceptance into SCW was a key, validating milestone in Fend’s path. Participation in SCW’s program was a key milestone in my personal growth and my career as an entrepreneur.

- Colin Dunn, CEO