Online startups are so common in today’s digital age that more likely fail than succeed. But with the right aid in development and finding investors—and, of course, some money—talented, hardworking professionals can get a good idea off the ground.
Those are the individuals Kelly Schwedland looked when he established the Tech Foundry, a Valparaiso-based accelerator program that wrapped up this week.
Schwedland is an entrepreneur who’s worked in the development of many startup companies, some of which grew into great successes. His company Elevate Ventures seeks out promising Indiana startups to connect them with investment and experienced business minds from across the state. The overall goal, according to the Tech Foundry website, is to help establish thriving Indiana companies.
"Today was validating because a lot of the people who had been mentors along the way that had seen the companies two or three months ago. They were surprised that they were the same companies, to see how far they had come," Schwedland remarked regarding the first cohort to move through the program.
Tech Foundry, the work of a partnership between Elevate Ventures with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, intended to do just that. The program chose six companies for to mentor over a 13-week course, which ended today after beginning in August.
The six companies cover an array of different service areas. Such as Adjunct Professor Link, which seeks to help qualified educators find teaching positions, and Ananse Health team, who are dedicated to the area of healthcare and caregiving. Additionally, there are start-ups focused on protecting the electronic devices of young school children, one with the aim of helping businesses and non-profits connect and raise money and, finally, a project focused on developing high-altitude balloons, which are used in various areas of research.
Over the course of the program, all six companies were provided with mentors and investors to find the best way to develop a corporate structure. They were also provided with working space in Valparaiso in a mentoring environment, and most importantly, received some $15k in capital needed to take their first steps.
"The Tech Foundry has been great, Elevate Ventures sponsored this opportunity", said Ginny Angert of Ananse Health, "We had the opportunity to meet with a bunch of different groups. To really have that synergism was exciting. Honestly, one of the best things this was the mentors. They brought in a lot of business and real life experience, and gave us some really great ideas about how to build our product."
Ron Pulliam, also of Ananse Health, added the "I think one of the large benefits of being in the foundry, which corresponds to our next steps, is that the people we met with were able to tell us how to maneuver our companies to a point that we need to be in order to attract new investment."
The next steps for these developing companies is move beyond the confines of the program and establish revenue traction in the marketplace.