NOT starting with capital is where you define the purpose and viability of your startup. Seriously, 75% of venture backed companies failed between 2004 - 2010, and that's a statistic we hope you avoid.
What is Ignitor?
Ignitor is an accelerator… a hands on mentoring/consulting program that brings business concepts from idea stage to full fledged startups. The reality is, providing capital to a new company isn’t enough. In fact, Ignitor believes that NOT starting with capital is where you define the purpose and viability of your startup. Did you know that 75% of venture backed companies failed between 2004 – 2010?
Ignitor’s methodology is clear and simple: MENTORSHIP IS EVERYTHING! It’s important that an early, inexperienced entrepreneur learn the ins and outs of the startup game. Our team has built companies before… and we are going to hold your hand every day, explaining all facets of the startup world. We will be your lead blocker.
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What we do at Ignitor
Let’s face it, building a company is hard as hell, especially the first year when you have limited resources, no support, and very little direction. That’s when we come in! We are your first investor, your first partner, your first employee, but more importantly, we are there for you: giving you access to our office, our network, our resources, and our time. We become a part of your entrepreneurial family and do anything to lead your startup to success.
Ignitor is not your typical accelerator program where hundreds of companies are “accelerated” each year using the same structured approach. We don’t invest three months just to throw you out and hope you succeed. Instead, we work with six to twelve companies at any given time, doing whatever is necessary–for as long as necessary–to ensure that each and every company achieves their goals. We invest in you for the long run, so get ready for some fun!
You get access to our entire world when you become part of the Ignitor family. Ignitor will provide you daily mentorship from Bobby, Lee, and Brandon, free access to our StartU course, relationships with vetted interns that will track your daily bookkeeping, build your social media presence, conduct market research, etc.
Most importantly, we provide community. You will get instant access to space on your local campus and access to unique coworking spaces in the southwest metro. The communal space provides you real-time mentoring and constant collaboration amongst other startup ventures just like you.
Another key piece to our community is our network. You will further enjoy weekly dinners where we bring in local entrepreneurs that have successfully built companies with $100+ million in yearly revenues. You’ll also receive access to roundtable discussions with these advisors and get direct feedback on strategies you can use to improve your startup.
Lastly, we may not believe funding should be at the core of a business startup, but we do believe getting your concept in front of fresh eyes can enhance the growth of your venture. Therefore, every 12 weeks, you will participate in a Demo Day with your fellow founders. Demo Day is were we invite Venture Capitalists, Corporate Sponsors, and other entrepreneurs to join a 3-hour, catered event for you to show off your startup, display the progress you’ve made, and “ask” the audience for help. You should not be surprised if you get a few funding or job offers at the end of each event.
Most of the founders we fund are expected to be in the Twin Cities area for the duration of our relationship, whether that’s six months or two years. The reason being, during a founder’s stay with Ignitor, they will participate in weekly office hours and can meet with partners and experts as often as needed to successfully launch their startup.
But most importantly, we host weekly dinner events at The Commons in Hopkins, MN or Excelsior, MN. And at each dinner we invite an expert in some specialized field of the startup world to speak on their recommendations and hacks for each founder to improve startup success. Typically, our speakers include startup founders, venture capitalists, media experts, and well-known executives. Almost forgot to mention, the added benefit of weekly dinners is that speakers often choose to advise the founders that interest them most and even occasionally invest in startups they believe will succeed.
On Demo Day, any startup/founders currently in the Ignitor program present their companies and the progress made to a room full of selected guests (investors, sponsors, press). Demo Day is a private, invitation-only event where people can apply for the event and then they may get an invite in return, which they must answer with a “Yes” or “No”.
Essentially, Demo Day will act as a one or two day process where startup founders can pitch their companies in a “safe space,” showing off their progress and asking the audience for additional resources the startup deems necessary to enhance company growth. Eg. money, leads, mentors, suppliers, coders, etc. Founders give a pitch (15 minutes), and then we will pause for 15 minutes to allow the audience to meet and speak with the founders if they are interested in helping the startup with their “ask”.
Ignitor will also be sharing information on the companies in advance of Demo Day: sharing the concept being constructed, progress made throughout the companies time in the Ignitor program, and a background on the founders.
Mentorship is at the core of Ignitor and we don’t believe in the “one-size-fits-all” advice that founders often get in other accelerators and school programs. At Ignitor, Bobby, Brandon, and Lee work alongside the startup founders. We roll up our sleeves and figure stuff out – everything – together with the founders.
New entrepreneurs don’t know what they can’t know. The world of entrepreneurship is a large and scary place with limited structure and support. That’s why we give each of our startups unlimited access to us. We know entrepreneurship. Each Ignitor partner has been in the thick of things… selling companies, failing at companies, raising capital, launching tech co., launching retail co., launching non-profit co., launching service co., launching real estate/space co., experiencing corporate structure, company valuations, marketing principles, and a ton more.
Ignitor provides the needed structure for you and your business.
Every entrepreneur has glaring weaknesses and inefficiencies, that’s normal and expected! That’s why we do things a little differently at Ignitor… at most accelerators, your weaknesses are identified and then you are given advice on how you can fix them (read a book, go to class, get a mentor). We don’t believe in that model. If you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve made it into the Ignitor program, you’re extremely talented at a bevy of skills and we want you to focus on those skills. Therefore, we plug your weaknesses with talent. If we identify you’re struggling with your companies finances, we’ll add a CFO to your team for a few hours a week. If you can’t market your product or service, we’ll have a social media or advertising guru join your team until it meets a level both parties deem acceptable.
The moral of the story is: We want you to focus on your strengths. We don’t want you to waste your time learning new skills just because you’re a startup with limited resources to access top talent.
This is the #1 conversation piece surrounding Ignitor: Why would startups give up equity without receiving money in return?
The answer is simple: 75% of venture backed companies fail and we don’t want your startup to fall into that percentile. Beyond that, most accelerators invest money for equity and then push the startups out the door after 3 short months. WE don’t invest money, but we do give our startups access to FREE space, networks, courses, mentors, resources, and consulting for up to two years or until the startup generates $1,000,000 in yearly revenue. Ignitor cares about business success, not about fitting in with other accelerator models.
P.S. In our professional opinions, we’d give up equity in our company without hesitation if we found a partner that could give us years of experience, $50,000+ in immediate resources, constant media and marketing attention, access to elite mentors, and a staff of employees that we could use for free… Why wouldn’t you?
Welcome to your New Office!
"We Will Literally Give 100% Every Day"
Our story is relatively straightforward and simplistic... We are sick of the overwhelming abundance of get rich fast ads online about starting a successful startup. As a team, we've founded over 20 startups with revenues ranging from $100,000 - $10,000,000. We've seen it all and we want to share that experience with you. Yes, that is a similar story to hundreds of other startup programs, but here's the difference: We don't need to turn a profit day one. This is important for you to understand because that means we will be doing anything in our power to help your startup succeed. Therefore, don't you dare give up or give into the wrong temptations with your business before spending a little time with us.
We can all be starters, initiators, and challengers. “Entrepreneurs.”
We can all learn more, leading to unlimited possibilities.
Stay well balanced, with a chip on each of your shoulders.
Apply For Ignitor Today!
Apply for Ignitor now... a hands on accelerator program that brings concepts from idea stage to full fledged startup success. Get access to our StartU course for FREE, access our network, join our weekly dinners, and participate in our demo days!