Founders in the inaugural cohort of Soaring City’s Business Accelerator, powered by the LT3 Idea & Innovation Factory have nearly reached the halfway point of their 10-week program. The group meets in-person every Tuesday evening sharing progress on their goals and working on development of their minimum-viable-product and fundraising strategy. Every Thursday evening they meet on-line with a mentor sharing insight on a variety of topics. And, throughout the week the founders meet with Managing Director, Chris Morancie and Soaring City Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Brian Alvarez-Bailey for technical reviews, retrospectives, and recaps.
Workshops and activities are designed to build experience and confidence in the cohort and have included a unique anti-pitch session where they delivered pitches on why NOT to invest in their companies so that they could work on strategies for answering those concerns when a potential investor raises them. Another session about agile-thinking for CEO’s was led by USF Portfolio Management Office Assistant Director, George Wolf. Another week featured a 2-part session with Morancie leading a module on creating user-stories and Alvarez-Bailey leading a session on techniques and approaches he has used to communicate with investors in the previous fundraising round for his company, Allison.
The Accelerator has had great success building a mentor network for the founders to draw upon with the commitment of a major player with a network of 40+ mentors as well as a commitment from its angel investor network to participate in the June 12th Demo Day that will cap the 10-week program.
Discussions are under way with the U.S. Patent Office to introduce mentoring around intellectual property and patents and the USF Technology Office is planning to visit the program as well. All of this is building toward t.he June 12th Demo Day where the founders will showcase their companies’ potential to investors and advance to the next stage of growth.
Along with all of the learning and professional growth, the companies are already moving quickly. For example, one has entered due diligence discussions with a very prominent investment company and shifted into focusing on a key vertical. Another has had favorable discussions with a leading national accelerator and is planning to rebrand as an Artificial Intelligence company, opening new funding options in the current investment climate.
The inaugural cohort of the the Soaring City Business Accelerator consists of:
BIOS – providing an interactive animated resource for life science education.
Bulkitrade -a B2B marketplace that connects emerging food & beverage brands with international retailers, wholesalers and distributors. We combine shopping, shipping, payment solutions and data on a single platform.
BUP – a digital business card platform that helps you save time, save money, and never miss out on a connection again!
Care Collective – developing a health care marketplace for in-home care services. Patients, families and care professionals utilize our Uber type application to find skilled and non-skilled care on-demand.
Divine Hustle– a media and education technology company that creates cutting edge culturally relevant media products and digital education programs for marginalized and underserved populations.
Erudtion – an education tech company facilitating immersive, interactive learning sessions in mobile augmented reality environment. Students interact with virtual “tutors” who direct the learning sessions and prompt students to interact with their surroundings in a manner that fosters long-term retention.
fayVen – a marketplace for retail space, like Airbnb for pop-up shops. fayVen helps book local vendors for pop-up shops to generate additional revenue and increase foot traffic through co-marketing.
Maka Social – bridging the gap between the dating app and the real world singles event merging the best of both.
OpenOcean – a SaaS platform built to help ESOs streamline access to and tracking of support provided to founders.
Zapay – allowing friends and family to lend each other money and handle repayments without the hassle through automation