A Madison startup company has been invited to show off its product at the White House.
Export Abroad, a software company that helps other firms with market research and sales leads in foreign countries, will be part of the first-ever White House Demo Day on Tuesday. But instead of pitching their ideas to investors, entrepreneurs from around the country will make short presentations to President Barack Obama to share the stories of their businesses, according to the White House website.
Willy Hakizimana, 35, who co-founded Export Abroad in May 2014, said a San Francisco company that he works with nominated him for the event. Hakizimana, whose company is based at 100state, an incubator at 30 W. Mifflin Street, planned to drive to Washington, D.C., on Sunday and set up a booth in the White House on Monday.
He’s also refining his pitch for the president.
“It’s going to be fun. I’m really getting excited about it,” said Hakizimana, who came from Rwanda for an advanced degree in information systems at UW-Madison. “It’s just going to give us exposure and bring customers our way.”
Hakizimana said he’s hoping to connect with other agencies in the U.S. Department of Commerce who could use his software and network with other entrepreneurs at the event. Customers of Export Abroad pay a monthly fee to access software that uses data sets to identify target markets for their products. The software then creates sales leads and connects manufacturers or producers with clients.
The White House announced Demo Day in March as a way to bring exposure to entrepreneurs, especially women and minorities, and promote the entrepreneurial economy.
“These are the folks whose stories show exactly why we need to grow the pie to make sure there’s opportunity for everyone in our innovation economy,” Megan Smith, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, said in March.