by Mark Carter
Posted 7/7/2014 12:00 am
Updated 3 months ago
The third installment of the ARK Challenge startup accelerator in
While no one expects genteel program director Jeannette Balleza Collins to crack a mean whip, or any symbolic whip for that matter, "ARK 3" will run with a tighter focus than its predecessors. The first two installments of this tech-based startup boot camp were federally funded, part of the $37 million Jobs & Innovation Accelerator Challenge. The inaugural run in 2012 included 15 teams from across the state, nation and globe, and the second featured 10. Each startup team accepted into the
This time, the
The federal run is over, but the
This summer, 70 startups representing 12 countries and 16 states applied for the
"The winnowing process was very difficult this year," she said. "The program staff intentionally recruited for more mature startups this year with teams who have had an established history with working with one another, have exhibited traction in their existing business and/or for a new product, as well as who are coachable."
That's a bit different from previous
"We always want to provide more value than we capture for our founders, our investors, our mentors, our industry clusters and our ecosystem," she said. "We want to incorporate our learnings from past experiences, consider our resources and do our best to select the right mix of founders to whom we can deliver the greatest value."
This year's ARK is taking on a more big-picture perspective, keying in on solving problems in the region's key cluster industries and helping raise the state's competitiveness on a global scale, Collins stressed.
"From an ecosystem perspective, we always are looking to attract, retain and develop talent, as well as facilitate capital formation for companies at every stage of the funding continuum," Collins said. "The startups we select this year, we hope, will create future jobs over time, inspire future entrepreneurs with their incremental successes and yield future exits, as well as future mentors and future investors."
Collins noted several new organizations and programs that have sprung up and complemented the
"We have had an explosion of interest in giving back to the ecosystem via our state's growing mentor base, and it has been heartening to see the momentum growing across
Organizers would like to see the
"With every new installment of the