We started second annual Capital Factory program which I co-founded with Joshua Baer and Bryan Menell last year. I'm excited about this year's companies, some are further along than others, but I'm most impressed with the entrepreneurs themselves.
Here are the companies:
- Hurricane Party (Austin, TX) – a location-based social networking application that helps users create, manage and discover events that are relevant to them.
- Simpz (Boston, MA) – helps event organizers reach critical mass and sell unused spots through word-of-mouth marketing via Twitter, Facebook, and other existing social networks.
- Smackages (Dallas, TX) – a beauty community that connects members with cosmetics brands and helps them make more valuable cosmetics purchases by allowing them to try products before they buy them online.
- RecycleMatch (Houston, TX) – an online marketplace that transforms waste into value by connecting companies that have waste with companies that can use the materials.
- Corkshare (Cleveland, OH) – a simple, visual way to share and discuss collections of web content like photos, videos, links, and more through virtual CorkBoards.
We had the welcome kickoff a few weeks ago and a couple meetings since. Already some of the ideas are evolving, which is expected. 70% of startups end up doing something different than what they first ventured.
There are 20 mentors as part of this program, with heavy experience in fundraising, SEO, engineering, branding, and industry connections. I spend my time with the entrepreneurs discussing product direction and design, business model and marketing. I also make introductions to folks in the industry who can help them.
Capital Factory is an accelerator, not necessarily an incubator. Our job is not to 'nest' the startup until it's ready to jump out…it's to accelerate them to their next point. They should solidify the product direction, business model solid, and accelerate distribution or revenue.
I'm proud of what Capital Factory is doing. It's a piece of a larger puzzle to make Austin even greater than it is today (Kiplinger named Austin #1 city of the decade!). And for me, along the way, I'm enjoying the collaboration with entrepreneurs, and learning from other entrepreneurs and mentors. It's community, enjoyment and professional development…trifecta!
If you're a developer/engineer thinking about an idea and applying next year, feel free to drop me a note at blog [at] deckermarketing.com