Gordon Daily, founder of BoxCast, a live video streaming company, had built a really good product, but initially wasn’t sure of the best way to move forward.
He learned of JumpStart Inc.’s Burton D. Morgan Mentoring Program and five months after he started working with advisers, he obtained $300,000 to grow the business.
“I had laid the foundation in terms of product, but I needed some help to get the business model and all its pieces in place.”
With a $1 million grant from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation in early 2013, the program has been able to recruit talented mentors and entrepreneurs; expand its offerings of specialized, startup-focused guidance and assistance; and help more young, growing Northeast Ohio companies reach milestones — and have compelling stories to tell.
Overwhelming thumbs up
Daily’s not the only one happy with the process and the results. Nearly 97 percent of clients surveyed would recommend JumpStart’s mentoring program to their peers.
“It’s enabled us to have some of the smartest folks in the country supporting our business,” says Ryan O’Donnell, CEO of Sociagram, a company offering a cloud-based social video platform.
The program’s 43 mentors have collectively donated 3,000 hours to guide the growth of 43 startups.
“Our mentors are heavy hitters, from serially successful entrepreneurs to leaders in Fortune 500 companies,” says Anthony Hughes, the program’s founding director. “They’re sharing their experience, expertise and networks to impact business outcomes for companies with game-changing technologies and high growth potential. It’s their way of giving back.”
Sharing expertise is rewarding
Jon Cocco, vice president and general manager of Veyance Technologies Inc., delights in his role.
“I really enjoy being part of this. I only dedicate myself to one key volunteer group outside of work, and this one has been very rewarding,” he says.
Likewise, Dave Heidenreich, chairman and CTO, EBO Group, concurs:
“I find that watching the companies benefit from our experience — saving them time, resources and capital — is very rewarding.”
“I wish I could have had access to a network like this when I started my first company!” says Jennie Zamberlan, president and CEO, Avantia Inc.
According to the Startup Genome Project, nascent companies that have helpful mentors, effectively track performance metrics and learn from startup thought leaders “raise seven times more money and have 3 ½ times better user growth.”
With support from carefully constructed teams of program mentors, clients have successfully piloted products, obtained first customers and raised capital — $6.3 million — while participating in the program.
Lindsay Sims, founder and CEO of LifeMedix, sums up the value she sees in her mentorship. “My mentors have helped me see things I couldn’t see, and they’re helping me move my business in a more sustainable direction.”
Daily agrees with Sims on the benefits received from a mentor.
“The value of their counsel has been priceless,” he says.
How to reach: JumpStart Inc., (216) 363-3400 or www.jumpstartinc.org