There’s a new kind of accelerator now, 10X Cyber Accelerator, that accepts only Arkansas companies with annual revenue of between $100,000 and $10 million.
Accelerators are programs that help startup companies get closer to launching a product of service or to grow their revenue faster by offering intense mentorship and education for a fixed term.
Accepting only in-state companies stands in marked contrast to 10X Cyber’s peers, the VC Fintech Accelerator and Health InnovatAR, which are open to out-of-state and out-of-country startups.
Another difference is that the 13 10X Cyber companies will not receive a seed investment upfront. Fintech participants are receiving $75,000 each; Health InnovatAR participants get $50,000 each.
The Conductor in Conway, a partnership of the University of Central Arkansas and Startup Junkie Consulting in Fayetteville, will run the 20-week 10X Cyber program. It is sponsored by Metova — a technology company with offices in Fayetteville, Conway and Franklin, Tennessee — and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, which awarded a $250,000 grant to Metova for the program, according to Jeff Standridge.
Standridge, who is on The Conductor’s executive leadership team, said the accelerator is, “first and foremost, focused on rapid growth, on how do they go from [revenue of] $100,000 to $1 million or from $1 million to $10 million because, if they do that, they’re already Arkansas companies. They were started here. They’re established here. … They’re going to grow here. We’re not rolling the dice and hoping that they’ll stay.”
Kim Lane, The Conductor CEO, added: “This is a completely free program and, really, it applies to every single company. Any small company in the state of Arkansas will benefit from mentorship … We talk about leadership and scaling your company, and the CEO roundtables are hugely beneficial.”
The first group of companies — called a “cohort” — to participate are:
► RazorCity IT of Little Rock, which manages information technology systems for businesses.
► Healthcare Transformed of Conway, a company providing online customer service training to employees of health care clinics and hospitals.
► 3E Software of Springdale, a software-as-a-service firm that aims to help financial institutions manage lending and deposits. Standridge is on its board.
► Housecall Telemedicine of Little Rock, a web-based and mobile HIPAA-secure telemedicine platform.
► Practice Improvements of Fort Smith, a technology and professional services provider that serves medical clinics.
► Quadrivium of Springdale, an IT services and private cloud services provider that also manages clients’ IT systems.
► Listing Village of Little Rock, which customizes websites of real estate agents.
► BBInfinite of North Little Rock, which makes brackets, bearings and other items for competitive cyclists.
► American Safeguard Group of Conway, an insurer with two locations in Arkansas serving clients in 18 states. Standridge is chairman of its board.
► Moving U of Conway, a moving and storage company.
► Tightrope Ventures of Bentonville, which provides business development services to suppliers looking to expand via national educational summits, online classes, coaching and consulting.
► R3FIT Nutrition of Conway, a sports performance supplement company.
► Blue Sail Coffee, a coffee roastery with shops in Little Rock and Conway, as well as an ecommerce presence.
Matthew Young of Listing Village said the program has been worth the once-a-week trip to Conway that it requires. He said cross-industry ideas introduced and the speakers have been valuable, noting that the speakers were willing to follow up with him after their presentations to offer advice specific to his business.
Joe Ehrhardt, chairman and CEO of 3E Software, agreed. “One of the key things they’ve done is just had a great speaker series of people that have been there, done that,” he said. “A lot of the time, [accelerators] have a lot of education stuff that’s in a book but hasn’t been practiced in the real world. They brought in people who really have 10Xed, had multiple years of amazing growth.”
Several other participants offered similar feedback, and RazorCity IT founder Keith Jetton said he has already recommended the accelerator to friends who own businesses. Applications for the next iteration, which will be called 10X Growth, are being accepted now through June 30.
The inaugural 10X Cyber ends July 24 with a graduation ceremony during which the participants will give presentations about their companies. The ceremony is open to the public.