There’s been a lot of talk lately about the success rates of both incubators and accelerators. While incubators can go long term, one of the biggest themes among people who doubt the accelerator model is what happens next. Accelerators want to continue to churn out new companies, and some suggest they do it at the expense of previous cohorts.
A lot emphasis is put on the few companies that get follow-on funding and move to the next level, and no one takes into account that most of the companies in accelerator program don’t make it 3-6 more months down the road.
Andre Fowlkes, the co-president of Memphis based Start Co, the organization that puts on the Seed Hatchery accelerator now in it’s third year, recently told the Commercial Appeal that programs with a 3 month bootcamp-style program and 6 additional months of curriculum and training would be a more effective model.
Many agree with that idea, including Jeremy Vaughn the co-founder of Atlantic Beach, Florida’s The Factory accelerator. They take companies through a quick intensive program and then continue to work with them for a year. The Brandery, Cincinnati’s accelerator that often comes in the top 20 in rankings, puts a cohort through the summer and then the companies are welcome to stay around, keep office space, and continue working with the mentors in the community until the next class moves in a year later.
Now, 5 digital services leaders in Chicago, including successful social startup Social Katy, have teamed up to form Ensemble, “a symphony of digital experts.” The concept was called an investment firm by the Chicago Tribune, an incubator alternative by other sources, and an excubator in a press release.
Ensemble is actually a combination of all three.
Red Rocket Ventures (business consulting & capital raising), Ora Interactive (technology development & design), Loud Interactive (search engine optimization), Walker Sands (public relations), and of course SocialKaty (social media marketing) have teamed up to offer startups and rampups a suite of focused services in a one-to-one relationship vs cohort based. All five together encompass most of everything a startup would need outside of technical expertise, which most startups have.
If you were to combine the cost of working with each of the five companies individually to reach a company’s common goals and grow a business, the services would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Through the Ensemble group, services in a combined suite will be discounted to startups. They will also offer their services at a substantial discount for an equity stake in the companies they are working with. This is commonly referred to as “creative capital” and is a growing trend across the startup landscape.
All 5 companies will play a part in managing Ensemble with Rocket Ventures Managing Partner, George Deeb, serving as the day-to-day General Manager.
“We created Ensemble to fill a void in the market for entrepreneurs desiring do-it-for-me solutions from a one-stop team of digital experts who have proven they know how to quickly and efficiently scale up digital businesses,” Deeb said in a statement. “The Ensemble alliance structure will best serve clients, given our domain experts’ focus and expertise within their respective niches, and the fact we are all entrepreneurs ourselves. Ensemble is by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, which you would never get in a big conglomerate agency.”
Ensemble is based in Chicago but plans on offering their services to a nationwide roster of clients. You can find out more about Ensemble here at ensemblehq.com