Brother-sister entrepreneur team aim to help small to mid-size c - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Brother-sister entrepreneur team aim to help small to mid-size car dealerships

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RICHLAND, WA - The next 'big thing' could come from right here in the Tri-Cities. Over the last few weeks, a big group of entrepreneurs got together for Launch University. It was sponsored by Fuse Coworking and JMK Tech and it all culminated in Launch Weekend where a brother-sister team took top honors. 

Three local business leaders and entrepreneurs acted as the judges in a weekend-long Shark Tank-like event. 

"It was an extremely intense three days of trying to take an idea that we've had for a business for awhile and really find out if it's feasible," said software developer Justin Jones.

Out of 14 novel ideas, Jones and his sister, Jennifer Olson, along with team member Sean Meininger took top honors.

"I was really pretty surprised because there were a lot of really good ideas. You know, dealership software isn't the most glamorous concept out there. There were some really ambitious and amazing ideas that i was really excited about," said Jones.

Now they're excited about Compass SMS, a software company meant to make the lives of small and mid-size dealership owners a whole lot easier.

"It keeps track of everything from A to Z. Inventory, expenses, all those kinds of things necessary for day-to-day operations," said Olson.

All of it is really a family affair. Growing up, Olson and Jones watched their father struggle with 'new-fangled' technology, even writing things up on a type-writer. Compass SMS was inspired by him.

"We called him and told him earlier today, and told him that we had won the Launch weekend event and he was extremely excited," said Olson.

With their Launch Weekend winnings, the team will work to make Compass SMS a full-fledged business. 

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