On April 17th, fourteen lucky tech startups were invited to the StartFast Accelerator pitch day to showcase their company in front of investors, mentors and the founders of the program. To check out who presented, you can read the write up by one of the tech startup founders here.
Founder of StartFast, Martin Babinec spoke in front of a room full of bright eyed entrepreneurs to let them know why he started the program in the first place. "Using my experience from starting several companies, I wanted to use my knowledge to help others succeed just as I have." Babinec spoke about how entrepreneurs not only get mentors to help them throughout the three month program, but interns will help them along the way as well as a vast network of entrepreneurs and investors throughout the nation that hail from large companies. "With Upstate Venture Connect and StartFast, you're not just getting into a three-month program, you're tapping into a network of people you normally wouldn't get a chance to sit down with."
Babinec recently co-founded a new tech startup to help entrepreneurs make connections easier along with one of my mentors, Mike Krupit. "He's a tremendous asset to Upstate NY and the startup community. Martin generously uses his experience, time, connections, and capital to make a better environment for entrepreneurs and their young companies to grow. It's been exciting and rewarding to work with him on a number of his projects, including IntroNet."
In between sessions, entrepreneurs were able to talk to mentors and investors to gain valuable feedback about their companies, as well as answer questions and take suggestions about the future of their company. Managing Directors of StartFast Chuck Stormon & Nasir Ali invited founders from the teams to drinks and discussion the night before. "We have a very diverse and intelligent group of teams this year, I'm extremely excited to see the presentations." said Stormon. I was able to talk to both Stormon and Ali about my startup and gained valuable insights as to how growth hacking can help my platform gain critical mass. "You have to get to know your users organically on a more personal level and gain critical feedback from them early on." said Ali. "Monetization and revenue strategies are great to plan out, but a startup should focus on user acquisition first and foremost. Monetizing 10,000 users isn't that great, but earning revenue from 10 million is fantastic."
Personally I found the time I spent in Syracuse well worth it if not downright essential. Plus, the city has great food, coffee, and a hip atmosphere as well as a very eager to help community surrounding it. The lucky startups that will be accepted into the summer 2014 program will know by the last week of April. Good luck to them and thanks again for the StartFast Accelerator for helping entrepreneurs succeed!