Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Think Big Partners Launches First Accelerator Class

Think Big Radio 019: Think Big Accelerator
Listen to Think Big Radio as Herb Sih dives into what Think Big Accelerator is all about.

Think Big Partners has made quite a few announcements in 2012.  From The Gigabit Challenge to the launch of Think Big Ventures, TBP seems to be moving at the speed of light (and as one of the members of the team, I can confirm this!).  

But one of our most exciting announcements was just leaked this morning--the launch of our first accelerator class.  Now introducing the Think Big Accelerator.  

The Think Big Accelerator is a 14-week program that will aid tech-focused, early-stage startups and entrepreneurs in launching a business faster, stronger and smarter this September. 

With a team made up of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and founders of startup companies, Think Big Partners’ accelerator program combines lessons and observations from other successful programs across the nation to create a model that allows experienced and budding entrepreneurs to build new startups.  Think Big Accelerator sets itself apart, however, by allowing these entrepreneurs to maintain life outside of their businesses while participating in the program. 

“We have studied, observed and finally created our own accelerator model that we think will work better for entrepreneurs who want to remain dedicated to their families and other obligations while still participating in the program,” says Herb Sih, co-founder and managing partner of TBP.  

In order to facilitate this idea, the first class of Think Big Accelerator allows entrepreneurs to arrive ready to work on Monday and leave on Thursday night during the 14-week program.  This model will let traveling entrepreneurs return home on the weekends to spend time with family and manage other responsibilities. 
“We have studied what can be done in a short period of time in the startup world,” says Tyler Prochnow, co-founder and senior partner at Think Big Partners.  “After studying the success that startups have in sprint programs like Startup Weekend, Startup Bus and hackathons, we created Think Big Accelerator’s model for the fast-paced, highly-focused entrepreneur.”

“We are amazed at what can be done in a short amount of time,” says Herb.  “With important milestones and deadlines in place, we believe that the entrepreneur participating in Think Big Accelerator will be able to maintain a work-life balance and recognize the opportunity to reenergize, refresh, refocus and reflect at the end of each week by connecting with family when returning home.  It’s a contrary belief, but we think that stepping away from a business actually allows entrepreneurs to work smarter, faster.” 

Entrepreneurs accepted into the program will receive what Herb refers to as “rockstar treatment” while building their businesses in Kansas City.  Think Big Accelerator has assembled the ingredients for participating entrepreneurs to come to Kansas City and work on their businesses comfortably.  The accelerator will provide custom-tailored key elements for the entrepreneur such as real estate, essential service providers, dry-cleaning, restaurant specials, living arrangements, technology, office space and more.  Kansas City businesses interested in providing discounted services for Think Big Accelerator entrepreneurs are encouraged to contact Think Big Partners at (816) 842-5244. 

In addition, those accepted into the accelerator program will partake in field trips to many Kansas City locations for inspiration, education, collaboration and ideation. 

Think Big Accelerator is looking for five to ten technology-based startups (especially businesses with a focus in consumer-facing services, software, web services, apps, etc.) to participate in the program.  Entrepreneurs will participate in the 14-week program Monday-Thursday with the goal of building a successful startup and finally pitching to investors at the end of the program on two separate demo days—one traditional, and one utilizing a state-of-the-art technology.      

The application window for Think Big Accelerator will be open June 15, 2012 until August 10, 2012.  Think Big Partners’ first class will start on September 10, 2012 and finish up with graduation and demo days during the week of December 10, 2012. 

Think Big Accelerator will take 6-8% equity in participating companies with an $18,000-$24,000 investment.  Additionally, there will be an alternative track for those who are not interested in funding but would like to participate in the program. 

To learn more about Think Big Accelerator, please visit www.thinkbigpartners.com/accelerator

Follow Think Big! @thinkbigKC

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