From Inside Business
757 Accelerate picked six more companies for its mentor-driven startup acceleration program.
They are: Nuekie, health and beauty products for people of color; Xperience Robotics, an artificial intelligence-based software platform that uses wearable sensors to track patient’s movements; Forefront, a premier training provider; Metallum3D, a metal 3D printing platform; Redactable, a web application used to redact files; and Addison Weeks, a creative furniture hardware company.
The 12-week program that aims to move startup companies from the pre-revenue stage to profitability and job creation begins Aug. 26 and runs through Nov. 22. It includes customized and curated connections to mentors with entrepreneurial, industry and subject matter expertise to help grow their businesses quickly.
With meetings twice a week, the program covers subjects such as legal issues, customer and sales pipeline development, marketing and branding, business model validation, financial model development and management of investors and investment.
At the end of the three months, the companies are able to pitch to more than 30 investors based in Virginia and North Carolina.
Evans McMillion, 757 Accelerate’s executive director, said the cohort is chosen based on a rigorous selection process that included 130 applicants this year.
She said each application was reviewed and scored by a group of entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders who picked 16 finalists for in-person interviews.
“The 16 finalists came to the area for a full day of interviews by our 15-person interview committee,” McMillion said.
She said the chosen companies scored high in the following areas: strength of their founder or founding team; size and strength of their specific market; whether their product or technology solved a significant problem; stage of business development; and likelihood of scalability.
“We are really excited about the strength of the founders chosen for cohort 2 and the fact that they represent a diverse mix of local and out-of-area companies addressing big problems and helping us retain and attract business to Hampton Roads,” she said.
Three of the companies – Nuekie, Xperience Robotics and Addison Weeks – are based in Hampton Roads. Forefront and Redactable are New York-based companies and Metallum3D is out of Charlottesville.
Josuel Plasencia, cofounder of Forefront, said in a news release that the interconnected and global economy enables economic activity and development to stretch beyond a few specific hubs.
“Businesses thrive where there is a community of capital, advisers and innovation, and that is the community that 757 Accelerate has created in Hampton Roads,” Plasencia said.
McMillion said part of 757 Accelerate’s mission is to help retain and attract promising businesses to Hampton Roads.
“Both our research and experience has shown that startups and early-stage companies will go and thrive where there is capital, mentorship, and a culture of innovation,” she said. “By offering each startup $20,000 during the program, aligning with a strong source of (follow-up) capital like 757 Angels, and tapping into the deep knowledge of the business leaders in Hampton Roads and throughout Virginia, we offer our cohort founders access to the kind of capital, connections, customers, and business acumen they need to accelerate the growth of their company here in Hampton Roads.”
McMillion said the program, which was launched in 2018, partners with regional corporations and six Hampton Roads’ cities to offer the companies access to potential customers and key economic development connections to support the growth of their businesses in the region.
McMillion said a couple of changes have been made for this second cohort, which includes assuring that the participating companies complete the program even more prepared to raise private capital post-program.
And, she said, the program will also focus earlier on driving the participants toward specific business-based milestones to help them stay focused on the key performance metrics that drive growth.
“We are also planning on adding an additional stop on the investor roadshow to expose our founders to more early-stage angel investors,” she said.
From Inside Business
By Sandra Pennecke
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