KC tech company launches accelerator program for entrepreneurs
Kansas City-based illumisoft started noticing a common pain point with prospective clients who wanted custom software development.
Some of them were ill-prepared. They didn’t know whether their idea was marketable or whether someone would pay for it. They hadn’t done their research.
“(It) left us wanting to help all these people out. … I’m not of the mind to build software for people just because we can or because they can pay for it. If they’re not going to be successful, I don’t want them spending the money to build the software because then I feel that I failed,” illumisoft CEO and founder Dan Prince told the Kansas City Business Journal.
Ultimately, the desire to solve that pain point spurred the company to launch an accelerator program for entrepreneurs called Launch It Successfully. Two companies are in the program, and illumisoft hopes to continue adding more.
Wesley Harrison, director of marketing and a partner in Launch It Successfully, is the brainchild behind the accelerator.
“I said (to Dan): ‘How can we fix this pain point? … What’s the golden nugget we need to know?'” Harrison said. “He summarized it perfectly one day when he said, ‘Wes, they just don’t know what they don’t know.'”
And the accelerator concept was born.
“What we found is that a lot of these people don’t need software at all,” Prince said. “What they need is for somebody to help them market their idea. What they need is a pitch deck to go and get financing or any variety of other things before building software.”
Not only does launching the accelerator save illumisoft time on the front end, it can create a pipeline of clients. But even if those in the accelerator don’t need software development or choose another company, that’s OK. The ultimate goal is to help those entrepreneurs be successful and get to the point where they can tell a software developer exactly what they need.
The accelerator doesn’t take equity, but there is a cost to be in the program. The length of the program depends on each company’s needs because it provides a personalized experience, Prince said.
What also sets the program apart is the fact that it’s run by entrepreneurs. They’ve been there before and know the struggles and how to overcome them, he added.
Launch It Successfully will help entrepreneurs with market validation and executing their idea. And if the idea doesn’t seem viable or the market is too saturated, the team isn’t afraid of a little tough love, said Matt Dantzler, illumisoft’s vice president of sales.
“We’ll be honest – really, this isn’t the best idea,” Dantzler said.
illumisoft also doesn’t want to design software that nobody needs or wants, Harrison said.
One of the first steps in the program is helping entrepreneurs shift their perspective and figure out their why. Not only does the why resonate with consumers, it also can help entrepreneurs identify other avenues for achieving their objective if the first one doesn’t work, said Dustin Ewan, illumisoft’s vice president of software development and a partner in Launch It Successfully.
The program also will help entrepreneurs create a road map, avoid time-consuming mistakes and fill in the missing pieces, whether it’s registering their website with the search engines or implementing a customer follow-up system. In addition to mentors, entrepreneurs will have access to illumisoft’s network of lawyers, marketers, accountants and other key professionals.
“It’s about giving them a clear path to success,” Prince said.
“Not just a clear path,” Harrison said, “but a quick path.”
Original Article: By Leslie Collins Reporter, Kansas City Business Journal https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2018/02/14/kc-tech-illumisoft-launches-accelerator-program.html