Beyond the Pitch

5 Reasons to Help CBUS Entrepreneurs Succeed

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The impact that the 170+ First Connect advisors and experts have on CBUS startup companies is amazing.

From industry advice, to connections to first customers, to leads on critical hires, these leaders help accelerate our region’s entrepreneurial success.

Recently we asked a few of our First Connect participants why they do it and how they get such remarkable results.

1. To help make new companies successful.

Ted Nikolai, COO of ODW Logistics, has 25+ years of corporate and industry experience in supply chain management. “I wanted to apply what I learned to a smaller organization looking to grow,” he said.

Ted is an excellent fit with Nexosis, a young company that creates intelligence-driven applications using machine learning. Nexosis specializes in warehouse/supply chain forecasting.

A Tip from Ted:

“Flexibility is key. I don’t force myself into areas where I don’t have expertise or relevant experience. Ryan knows that I’m not a technical guy, but if he’s thinking about supply chain or demand planning, or how to sell into large corporations B2B (business to business), I can contribute. The relationship works best when the entrepreneur drives the need.” 

2. To keep creating.

Paul MacCartney, advisor to MentorcliQ, has been in training and development throughout his 30+ year career. He’s also a self-described “science geek.”

In 2012, upon the sale of his company, he retired. Bought a home in Florida, played golf, enjoyed the company of friends. “You think that’s what you want to do,” he said, “but it’s not creative. Now, when I’m talking about MentorcliQ, my face lights up. I’m back to creating things. We are creating companies, jobs, solutions for customers, and shareholder wealth. It’s fun, much more fun than golfing.”

A Tip from Paul:

“I’ve spent thirty years learning what I know. An advisor can’t just download all that into an upcoming entrepreneur’s brain. Life is not like The Matrix—that’s not how it works. You want to be a resource, but you have to understand that the entrepreneurs you are helping are going to learn over time. It’s not one meeting. It can be a one-hour session once or twice a month, but it’s not just a one-hour meeting where you tell them everything you know about capital structure and then they know finance.”

3. To help make Columbus an even greater place for startups

Joe Madich, founder of Devcorr Technologies, LLC, signed on as an expert advisor with Rev1 back in November; he is working with entrepreneur Disha Shidham and her startup Savy (formerly called TacBoard), an online e-commerce company.

“I am passionate about Columbus,” Joe said. “The city has made unbelievable progress over the last 20 years. This community is a really open and supportive sort of group. I got into see whoever I wanted to talk with. People were happy to help me.”

Joe knew he wanted to contribute. “I listened to Disha’s Demo Day presentation online,” he said, “It seemed like a good fit—with my background in programming and in e-commerce.”

A Tip from Joe:

“It is invaluable for all of us who started businesses to remember what it was like starting out. With software, you can build anything.  I helped Disha understand the Lean Startup process and the idea of putting something simple out there leaving a runway to pivot as she learns from user feedback. That’s what makes this so much fun.”

4. To work directly with entrepreneurs

Advisor Dan Charna sold his company, Glory Foods, five years ago. He has his own consulting business and is an assistant professor of economics at Ohio Wesleyan University. He wanted to connect with startups. When Rev1 told him about ProteoSense, Dan said, “the light bulb went on. I’ve spent many a day in a field of leafy vegetables.”

Mark Byrne, the founder of ProteoSense is an experienced serial entrepreneur. “He needed a person from the industry to help him on the ground, to really understand the food industry and get to the right people” Dan said.  “One of the first things we accomplished was creating a strong Board with engineering and food culture.” Dan also introduced ProteoSense to Taylor Farms, a strategic customer and now investor.

A Tip from Dan:

“Mark could bounce his marketing and sales plan off me. I could not help from the technical side, but I surely could from the marketing and sales potential side. I challenged his thinking about the food industry. We really clicked. I don’t think there’s an entrepreneur I’ve ever met who wouldn’t want to share what he or she knows with another entrepreneur.”

5.  To explore a future relationship with a promising young company in a transparent, low risk way

First Connect provides an opportunity for advisors and experts to build an ongoing business relationship with promising young companies or to participate eventually in a senior role, as a Board member, or as an investor in a startup.

Startups with advisors have more success. The proof is in the Startup Genome data—and in our hands-on experience through Rev1’s First Connect network.

Talk to us about how participating in First Connect might be a fit for you or your company.

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