There’s so much talk about startup accelerators. We report on a lot of accelerators, with an emphasis on the ones accelerating companies outside Silicon Valley. NMotion is one of those accelerators. I spent a bit of time talking with NMotion’s managing director, Brian Ardinger, throughout the course of the program. I also did a mentor session with the five companies in the program about a week before demo day.
Ardinger is one of those accelerator directors that knows the most valuable lesson already: Demo Day isn’t the end for the startups, it’s the beginning.
“When we invest in companies, we help them for life, not just for the summer,” it says on NMotion’s website. On the surface Ardinger is a tech-transfer guy. As the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at NuTech Ventures, Ardinger oversees the crossover from the University of Nebraska and the private sector. However, NMotion was by no means a “student program.”
Each NMotion team received a seed investment of $15,000 which is par for the course for a city Lincoln’s size. The teams also received over $100,000 in important business services and access to a mentor network, which Ardinger stresses doesn’t go away on demo day.
HipPocket, PaperTale, Cinnamon Social, SynserScan, and Alumni Labs worked around the clock as hard, if not harder, than startups at some of the most prestigious Valley accelerators. When the time came on Thursday afternoon, they were ready to show off their summer’s work in front of a crowd of nearly 200 (not too shabby for an inaugural cohort in Lincoln, Nebraska).
Cinnamon Social is a software for automated and intelligent social media content curation led by husband-and-wife founders Jason and Holly Petersen.
SynerScan is a software to digitize hospital operations offering better health care through data led by founder Brett Byman.
HipPocket is a software offering families better context and confidence for financial decision-making led by founder Mark Zmarzly.
Alumni Labs is a software that simplifies and manages the college selection and application process led by founders Martin Wolff and Steve Scharf.
PaperTale is a new software product founded by Dan Castagnoli designed to help manufacturers curb the $500 million dollar loss in paper coupons. Omaha.com reported that Castagnoli revealed in his pitch that people are using photo editing software to change coupons and dupe manufacturers and retail stores out of millions of dollars. In some cases these crooks change $5 coupons to $10 coupons.
While some accelerators immediately start taking applications for the next cohort the day after demo day, Ardinger is making sure that the teams that just graduated into the real business world adjust well. He’s also knee deep in Lincoln’s Startup Week going on all week long. NMotion’s demo day and then Startup Weekend were the official kick off events for Startup Week.
For more information on NMotion click here. Here a re some of our interviews with NMotion teams in our Startups In The Fastlane feature.