New Year, New Brand // Meet Your New Best Friend, Juno

New Year, New Brand // Meet Your New Best Friend, Juno

Juno (formerly Scribe) is currently in Level 10 // Inbound Marketing with The Startup Collaborative. Please read co-founders Ross and Jesse Harding of Juno’s most recent growth highlights, lessons learned and what early 2020 looks like.

 

1) What are your most recent wins to highlight?

 

Ross and Jesse Harding: We launched Scribe in October and immediately started working on bugs and usability issues that we uncovered with the help of our early customers. Our onboarding is getting a complete overhaul and improving the user experience has been our primary focus heading into the new year.

 

 

2) Over the last few months, what have you learned and what has growth looked like for Scribe?

 

Ross and Jesse Harding: Since we launched we’ve been adding new occasions—Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day—as they arise. We’ve also added some new artists to our roster including Rifle Paper Co. from Winter Park, FL.

 

The biggest lesson we’ve learned is the importance of staying close to our customers (specifically our target customers) and letting them help guide the direction of the company.

 

 

3) How do you foresee 2020’s runway?

 

Ross and Jesse Harding: In 2020 we’ll be announcing our brand and name change to Juno. We loved Scribe, but felt that a company all about relationships should have a more personal, friendlier name. Once the new brand is live we’ll be going all-in on our PR push and advertising efforts. 2020 is going to be all about growth!

 

 

HerHeadquarters // Where We Are, Where We’re Going

HerHeadquarters // Where We Are, Where We’re Going

As the new year begins, taking the opportunity to highlight spectacular growth from user traction, scaling in different markets and your team’s professional growth is ever so important. Time and being a founder doesn’t stop though, and neither does your desire to building great technology for users to come back for more! HerHeadquarters is currently in Level 10 // Inbound Marketing with The Startup Collaborative. Please read founder Carina Glover of HerHeadquarters’s most recent growth highlights, lessons learned and what early 2020 looks like. 

 

1) What are your most recent wins to highlight?

 

Carina Glover: HerHeadquarters recently launched in its 5th and 6th cities, Houston and San Francisco! We have users in all 6 cities we’ve launched in and across all 5 industries, we cater to. We’ve also had a major increase in the number of women from different countries requesting HerHeadquarters to expand. We’ve had requests from women in Sweden, Nigeria, Paris, and most frequently, Dubai. This is exciting as it supports our future plans of expanding into international markets and the demand is already there. 

 

We have a very collaborative team as well. In our earliest stages, our focus on team building through various activities and one-on-ones really strengthen our foundation and that’s something I’m very proud of. 

 

2) Over the last few months, what have you learned and what has growth looked like for HerHeadquarters?

 

Carina Glover: I’ve learned several things. A key lesson has been that with the role of being a CEO and a founder, I also need to be a leader and a coach. I’ve learned that relationship building within your team, is just as important as relationship building externally. I’ve always been a transparent person, which is generally a positive thing, but I’m learning that as a leader, I also have to know when someone doesn’t have the clearance to access certain company information. I’m learning the art of being transparent with supporters, team members, and media, while still protecting the company and not oversharing.

 

This year we’ve grown into a strong team of four. Each team member brings a different talent, perspective, and experience to the table, while our high levels of passion to grow HerHeadquarters is all in sync. Our user base has grown by 188% and 81% of brand partnerships secured on HerHeadquarters have been national (between users in two different cities). 

 

3) How do you foresee 2020’s runway?

 

Carina Glover: Early 2020 will really be about enhancing our current user’s experience and personalizing it for them. We also plan to strategically launch in additional major cities in the U.S. and expand our leadership team by adding on some new roles. 

 

In 2020, you’ll also see HerHeadquarters introducing experiences catered towards women entrepreneurs. While the app may be the center of our brand, we’re going to start to expand by not only impacting women entrepreneur’s collaboration experience but introducing them to the lifestyle of the empowered woman.

AuditMate // Where We Are, Where We’re Going

AuditMate // Where We Are, Where We’re Going

With the most exciting growth to come for AuditMare.ai, 2019 has been a year of tremendous advancement in the right direction. AuditMate.ai is currently in Level 9 // Outbound Sales with The Startup Collaborative. Please read co-founder’s Kelly Mann and Jason Bogner of AuditMate.ai’s most recent growth highlights, lessons learned and what early 2020 looks like. 

 

1) What are your most recent wins to highlight?

 

Kelly Mann:  We received a $35,000 grant from the state of Nebraska’s Department of Economic Development to be used for the development of our software product.  We’re currently building the program (coding) and working on the website, hopefully, to have our 1st version of the software ready in early 2020. We’ve also connected with quite a few CPA firms (potential customers) from around the country who are helping in the development of the software by way of feedback and trial runs.

 

 

2) Over the last few months, what have you learned and what has growth looked like for AuditMate.ai?

 

Kelly Mann: I’ve learned so much over the last few months, mainly around technology, program development, and sales.  I’ve started taking Computer Science 101 online so I can be better versed in the technology aspect of my company.  I’ve also learned how much thought and time goes into a sales strategy for a company, no small feat! Growth for us has been connecting with or strengthening our connection with our potential customers.  I’ve been doing very basic demonstrations on how the product will work and listening to the feedback from our customers. It’s so fulfilling to hear such positive responses and excitement around our software.

 

3) How do you foresee 2020’s runway?

 

Kelly Mann: We’ll launch our beta product in the early spring of 2020 along with our inbound sales campaign.  I’ll be very busy doing demonstrations, listening to our customers’ feedback, and learning how to navigate a B2B SaaS company.  I’m also eager to start mapping out what our version 2 will look like and how it will provide more value to our customers.

Vesta // Where We Are, Where We’re Going

Vesta // Where We Are, Where We’re Going

The best is yet to come, but 2019 has been eventful (no pun intended) for Vesta’s sales traction for the event creators and also the event seeker-customer acquisition. Vesta is currently in Level 10 // Inbound Marketing with The Startup Collaborative. Please read co-founders Andrew Prystai and Billy Martin of Vesta’s most recent growth highlights, lessons learned and what early 2020 looks like. 

 

1) What are your most recent wins to highlight?

 

Andrew Prystai & Billy Martin: We’re on track to end the year on a high note, continuing to add multiple new organizations weekly on free accounts (able to create and organize events like Eventbrite), or paid accounts (able to access our automated local promotion network). Most recently, that includes DJ’s Dugout’s 5 locations, Ronald McDonaldHouse, Burke’s Pub, Omaha Lancers, PRSA Omaha, and dozens more across all types of industries! 

 

We’re going to be close to surpassing 100 total organizations that have signed up and posted events to Vesta by year-end, and we’ve had a number of meetings with some well-known event organizers here in town and are optimistic we’ll have a lot of exciting news in early 2020.

 

2) Over the last few months, what have you learned and what has growth looked like for Vesta?

 

Andrew Prystai & Billy Martin: Our growth has continued steadily to end 2019 with continued growth in free user accounts, free organization accounts, and paying organization accounts, with week-over-week growth between 5-10%. We’ve learned over this time that no one questions the problem we’ve found, with countless businesses expressing that we’ve uniquely solved the exact issue they have and are incredibly excited that many of these businesses have now bought into that solution. We’ve done this by making it easy for people to find out what’s happening in Omaha, while thoroughly automating local event promotion for event organizers.

 

3) How do you foresee 2020’s runway?

 

Andrew Prystai & Billy Martin:  In 2020 we have two big goals:

  1. Start bringing on more users to find events on Vesta before any other platform. A key piece of this is promoting our Group Recommendations feature (automatically finding the top 5 events your group will want to do together) and powering it up with a mobile app and new features to remove any excuse to not go to events with others.  

  2. Expansion. We plan to start rolling out in other cities around the midwest throughout next year and aim to be moving into the Southwest and Rocky Mountain region by year-end.

adio // Where We Are, Where We’re Going

adio // Where We Are, Where We’re Going

No one nor no company is great without hard work. Hard work is a good baseline for our TSC fellows to achieve their goals. As far as the last year, Adio has been building great technology that is closest to its future customers. Time can be the enemy but not for Adio. They continuously sought out what the market and their customer persona were needing. Adio is currently in Level 8 // Product Management with The Startup Collaborative. Please read co-founder of Adio, Blaine Kasten’s, most recent growth highlights, lessons learned and what early 2020 looks like. 

 

1) What are your most recent wins to highlight?

 

Blaine Kasten:  We are finally launching a private beta to musical groups of various makeups. We are truly now at the data collection phase, moving past building off our assumptions and now onto building features that our customers tell us they need both via discussions and studying analytics data! We had phenomenal feedback on our roadmap and product idea earlier this year. It’s been a long road to building this complex product, but we’re confident it will be a game-changer for musicians.

 

 

2) Over the last few months, what have you learned and what has growth looked like for Adio?

 

Blaine Kasten: We had a backlog of interest in our app so we’ve been slowly adding groups to the product when we are ready for more information. It is a hard balance to maintain interest in people waiting, but also keeping the beta pool small so we can work very closely with everyone to gather the best feedback. As of now, we have about 50 bands we’ll be adding to our beta over the next 3 months.

 

3) How do you foresee 2020’s runway?

 

Blaine Kasten: I believe 2020 will be our most exciting year. If everything goes well, we’ll move to an official public launch sometime in the spring and then start working on marketing efforts to figure out how to scale the Adio platform!

My Gameday Collections // Where We Are, Where We’re Going

My Gameday Collections // Where We Are, Where We’re Going

Co-Founders Jean Douchey and Carl Frazee of My Game Day Collections highlight their most recent growth, lessons learned and what early 2020 looks like. 

 

1) What are your most recent wins to highlight?

 

Jean Douchey and Carly Frazee:  We launched with 5 styles in November and have started fulfilling orders. Of those who have ordered, they have been pleased with their purchase and enjoy having the option to choose their favorite teams logo.

 

2) Over the last few months, what have you learned and what has growth looked like for My Game Day Collections?

 

Jean Douchey and Carly Frazee: We have learned as a small company, it is too expensive to design and manufacture apparel in the U.S. in small quantities. Our growth in product sales has come mostly from word of mouth. From a personal perspective, we have grown the most in our marketing knowledge/experience. Within the past month, we have learned about facebook ads, person-to-person marketing, and other marketing opportunities

 

3) How do you foresee 2020’s runway?

 

Jean Douchey and Carly Frazee: We are very excited to showcase our new apparel styles for 2020 (which will be able to be seen online in 2020), and we will be more aggressive with our search engine marketing and optimization.

Job Share Connect // Where We Are, Where We’re Going

Job Share Connect // Where We Are, Where We’re Going

As far as years go, 2019 has been a memorable and humbling year for Job Share Connect. The amount of hard work, insight, and achievement is worth sharing and celebrating. Being a co-founder is hard work and introducing a job-sharing solution that expands talent pools and creates a paradigm shift in the way companies recruit and retain talent in the U.S is even more difficult. Please read Jessica Charlsen and Jina Picarella’s most recent growth highlights, lessons learned, and what early 2020 looks like. 

 

1) What are your most recent wins to highlight?

 

Jessica and Jina: We’ve hit a point where the momentum that we have worked hard to build is propelling us forward. We recently had outreach from multiple people we’ve met over the past several months, booking speaking engagements into October 2020, and pursuing executive matches for managers and executives that want to scale back. It’s reaffirming for us when the outreach is coming from meetings and speaking engagements we had 4-6 months ago. 

 

2) Over the last few months, what have you learned and what has growth looked like for JSC?

 

Jessica and Jina: Over the last year, we’ve met with over 100 companies in Omaha/Lincoln area. These meetings have provided us with more clarity around the four types of companies that find the most immediate benefit of a job share solution as well as the talent most interested in job sharing. The companies that find job sharing most appealing largely fall into the following categories:

  1. Legacy companies for succession planning – with a large Boomer population looking to retire legacy companies run the risk of losing critical amounts of institutional knowledge
  2. Growing companies for recruitment & retention – finding the expertise that has both skill and team fit is extremely difficult at the same time existing talent is constantly being courted
  3. High growth/Scale-up companies for flexibility management – To remain competitive and recruit top talent high levels of flexibility are required: full paternity leave, maternity leave, sabbaticals, unlimited time off, reduced schedules, etc. There is a tension between the amount of flexibility being provided and the amount of work that needs to be done to meet the high-growth demands
  4. Evolving companies for diversity & inclusion – Where D&I efforts are being implemented across our market, there is not enough talent that meets the current pre-requisites to be immediately considered as a full-time hire.

As for our talent pool, it also reflects four main groups:

  1. Pre-retirees – Nearing retirement, but not ready to opt-out. These people have defined themselves by their careers and have a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge to transfer. 
  2. Care-takers – This customer wants to maintain the career they’ve worked tirelessly to achieve but isn’t willing to sacrifice the time needed for their loved ones. 
  3. Re-enterers – Prior to opting out, this group had experienced career success. They are ready to contribute their skills and knowledge but are at a loss for how to get their foot in the door, where they fit in and how they can prove their worth. 
  4. Transitioners – This group is experienced and has transferable skills, but are struggling to find an appropriate entry point down a new career path. 

It’s important to also know a bit about the demographics of our talent pool, which currently: 

  1. Represents over 25 industries 
  2. 90% have a Bachelors or higher 
  3. 50% have 10+ years of experience 
  4. 70% would leave their full-time position for a job share 
  5. 20% would re-enter the workforce for a job share

 

3) How do you foresee 2020’s runway?

 

Jessica and Jina: As we continue to gather data from both our talent pool and the companies we’re working for, we look forward to going from no-code to getting the MVP in the market. Scaling is constantly on our brains, so we’re exercising EXTREME patience as we continue to gather data to ensure we’re building a product that meets the needs of both the talent and companies.

Myelin // From Beta to Product Validation

Myelin // From Beta to Product Validation

Every good idea has a starting point. Every technology has a beta stage within its development cycle. A beta stage allows companies to introduce a product or service into the wild. With today’s increasingly fast network and competitive landscape, it has become even more difficult to create differentiated products that deliver the best user experience designed to strengthen its market position. To be unaware means giving competitors time to snatch the opportunities in hand. 

 

Myelin has been testing its competitive advantage with a local health system for the last six months and has received strong feedback from end-users, allowing them to prioritize results to improve their product outcome and customer validation. Myelin knew in order to ensure a successful product launch, it was vital to engage with real customers continuously from integration to full implementation with their customer’s operations. Myelin has shown patience in evaluating the stability, satisfaction, and adoption of its product.

 

What does Myelin do? 

Myelin is a care collaboration platform that allows health care teams to turn population health data into action. They are proving that their platform can help patient care teams reach their full potential with a focus on key revenue drivers necessary to thrive in value-based reimbursement models. Myelin’s technology help clinics thrive as they transition from fee-for-service to alternative payment methods. Myelin’s customers are small and medium-sized healthcare clinics in need of a solution that is focused and easy to implement without the expense of an enterprise product. 

 

Through proactive problem spotting, validation and active execution on feedback from their beta users, Myelin has increased its focus on their go-to-market customer. They are delivering a solution with the entire clinical team in mind, to support the way medical providers need to collaborate and manage their patient’s care. Please take the time to learn more about Myelin.

Behind the Founder: John Stuifbergen // iHeartYourHouse

Behind the Founder: John Stuifbergen // iHeartYourHouse

Often, startup stories focus more on the product and company than they do the people that made them possible. We at The Startup Collaborative have found that our mission statement to allow everyone an unbiased investment thesis to building their own tech-centric company allows us to step aside and let the entrepreneurs be center stage. The Behind the Founder campaign is meant to do just that —  let the stories of those who call themselves TSC Fellows be told from their own perspective.

What’s your name?

John Stuifbergen

Where are you from?

Raised in Norfolk, NE. I’ve moved to Omaha for college and never left.

How did your upbringing influence you today?

Growing up, my parents fostered a creative atmosphere. They encouraged me out of my comfort zone to try & experience different things. 

Whether you’ve met them or not, who is one REAL person that has influenced you?

My mom is a lover & collector of antiques. As a young kid, we’d travel from Norfolk to Valentine a few times a year to stay with our grandma – my mom would pop into every antique store in every town along the way – going there and coming home. The items she’d bring back to the car usually fit into 1 or 2 categories: “Check out what I bought for $2 – it’s worth $50”, or it was something dingy beyond recognition – then she’d bring it into our garage and apply a thick dollop of elbow grease and lovin’ bring out its original beauty. Know your market and find an opportunity where others don’t, and most of all – work hard. Thanks, Mom! My dad was also a huge influence in my life as well, but that’s a story for another day 🙂

Who is one FICTIONAL character that has inspired your life/career and why?

No single character comes immediately to mind. I’m a big fan of Jaws, so I’ll go with Chief Martin Brody, played by Roy Scheider. Having to deal with the man-eating shark, he didn’t always have all the answers. On top of that, he had to deal with a mayor without a backbone and obstinate business owners unwilling to acknowledge the problem. He eventually surrounded himself with people who complimented his skills and [spoiler!] ended up saving the island.

From a sketch on a napkin to officially starting up, what triggered the inception of your company?

It all started while my wife and I were walking our dogs and came across a great house. It had pretty landscaping, a cute exterior, a separate 3rd car garage, and a pool. We said to ourselves, “if that house ever goes up for sale, we should try to buy it.” We thought about what that process would be: We could leave a note. We could stop and introduce ourselves while they’re watering their lawn. That problem we saw was if they’re not ready to see right now, they’ll forget our name or eventually assume we’ve lost interest… That was the spark.

Within The Startup Collaborative, what level was the most challenging for you, your company and why?

Level 2 – All those damn surveys. It was tough finding both 100 potential home buyers and 20+ real estate professionals willing to answer my questions. It took some work! 

Within The Startup Collaborative, what level has been the most rewarding for you, your company and why?

Level 4 – MVP. It allowed me to ideate and refine the features in the application users would want and appreciate.

Presently, what does a typical day look like for you and your company?

This continues to be a side-gig for me, alongside my day job as a manager for a few development teams at Buildertrend. My time spent working on iHeartYourHouse is done a few hours each morning before the family wakes up, over lunch, and sometimes late in the evenings.

What’s next for you and your company?

The next foreseeable things to focus on are growing the home buying and loving users and I’m exploring partnerships with real estate brokerages.

Behind the Founder: Blaine Kasten // adio

Behind the Founder: Blaine Kasten // adio

Often, startup stories focus more on the product and company than they do the people that made them possible. We at The Startup Collaborative have found that our mission statement to allow everyone an unbiased investment thesis to building their own tech-centric company allows us to step aside and let the entrepreneurs be center stage. The Behind the Founder campaign is meant to do just that —  let the stories of those who call themselves TSC Fellows be told from their perspective.

What’s your name?

Blaine Kasten

Where are you from?

Minneapolis, MN

How did your upbringing influence you today?

Playing in bands in high school gave me the desire to go to school for Audio Engineering so I could record our albums. Doing this gave me a big insight into the music industry as a whole, but also gave me a lot of debt. I taught myself to code to pay off that debt.

Whether you’ve met them or not, who is one REAL person that has influenced you?

My wife. She’s encouraged me every step and helped me never settle for anything less than what I want to achieve.

From a sketch on a napkin to officially starting up, what triggered the inception of your company?

It’s honestly been a long time coming. It’s a problem that we’ve faced at various parts of our life, from being in high school trying to pursue music, to being an adult with more responsibilities struggling to find time to get together and write music. It’s an idea I’ve been circling in my head until one day I finally asked my now-cofounders to grab a drink and hear out my idea. They were immediately excited by the idea and related to the struggle to write good music with a band. That night over a few beers we decided to give it our best shot.

How did the founding team meet?

We met at a music festival in Illinois where we camped together for a week, watched many concerts, and just got to know each other.  I was on tour with a band who was invited to play this music festival, and just by happenstance, we know the same people to all camp together. A year later, I moved to Lincoln NE and we all became best friends.

Within The Startup Collaborative, what level was the most challenging for you, your company and why?

The early levels were the most challenging. We are engineers professionally and at heart. Our desire is to build, but taking a step back from building and just asking questions was both very difficult for us, and very rewarding. I think without this process we would have spun our wheels until we burnt out. Now we know what our target market needs, and we’re working hard to deliver it.

Within The Startup Collaborative, what level has been the most rewarding for you, your company and why?

Same answer as above.

Presently, what does a typical day look like for you and your company?

Right now we’re just grinding out the development.

What’s next for you and your company?

Finish the development, start a slow organic growth campaign to give us a chance to stay close to customers and validate our product.