When you are researching an accelerator you usually just hear from the individuals running the program or what you can read on their website. We know we can tell you why you should or shouldn’t apply to our program, but it would be more beneficial for you to hear it from the founders of our latest cohort. The individuals who most recently went through the program, the highs, the lows, the pros and the cons.
We asked our alumni startups of UpTech 6 to provide us with their perspective on the program. We will be sharing their thoughts in a series of blog posts. In the second edition, you will hear from Aharon Cagle, CEO and Co-Founder of Glimmar, David Hollabaugh, CEO and Co-Founder of Picnic, and Rico Grant, CEO and Co-Founder of CrownMob.
How do/did you get the most out of the program?
Aharon Cagle: You have to be active to get the most out of the program. Ask questions, engage with others. Go in to it with an open mind and realize, even if you are a seasoned veteran at what you do, the startup process and world is an entirely different animal.
Rico Grant: The focus on data was huge for us. We use it daily to predict where we will land.
What was the most valuable aspect of the program?
AC: The knowledge gained from challenging what you think you know to be true. JB’s dedication to helping you realize your business objectives and needs.
David Hollabaugh: JB and Abby catering the program to our company’s needs.
RG: Deep dives into the business with one-on-one meetings with the MD.
What was the least valuable aspect of the program?
AC: It was all valuable. While I may not have found some of the sessions valuable, I recognize that they WERE valuable to others. It’s difficult creating a program that fits every single startups’ needs.
DH: Some speakers did not provide valuable feedback for us.
RG: I didn’t get a lot of value out of all of the speed mentoring sessions
Why did you decided to go through the program?
AC: To help grow and build our business.
DH: It has grown to have the best reputation in the Cincinnati ecosystem for a startup accelerator.
RG: We needed aid with building a solid foundation for a good business as first time entrepreneurs. I would say UpTech is all about that.
If you could go back and NOT go through the program, why would you choose not to?
AC: I would choose to go through the program in most every case. Honestly, I wish our other startup had gone through the program as well.
DH: It would be due to the validity of my business, not because of UpTech.
RG: I would do this program again if it started tomorrow.
What drew you to UpTech?
AC: UpTech’s focus on data-driven tech.
DH: JB’s drive for continuous improvement.
RG: UpTech’s Executive Director, JB Woodruff.
Cons of the program.
AC: Focus on pitching, while important, adds stress and at times gets in the way of building the business.
DH: Not a lot of engagement from some mentors and surrounding business community. Would love to have more small pilots/tests with potential customers as it would go a long way for early stage startups.
RG: Mentors not as engaged as I would like them to be.
Pros of the program.
AC: Perfect length. Lots of knowledge from the team and mentors.
DH: Great focus on building a business.
RG: Focus on customers, deep dive into business strategies, perks (discount for professional services).
Thoughts on the startup community here in our region?
AC: Definitely helps. Networking is the most important part of the ecosystem right now.
DH: The ecosystem is great if you are building a startup that leans into some of the businesses in the area. It hurts when you build a tech company focused on selling to other tech companies.
RG: The community is inclusive and supportive.
Any other information you’d like to tell potential applicants?
AC: Make sure your tech is in place or you have a clear path to get to a product to sell well before the end of the program. Second guess everything. Make sure that every founder is on board and committed to the process, can’t emphasize this enough.
DH: Ensure your company is a right fit to maximize the acceleration that UpTech brings.
RG: Great program, but it’s not magic, you get out of it what you put in!
Interested in learning more about the program? Join us on 5/10 for an info session at UpTech. Register here.