The StartFast Venture Accelerator was featured in an in the Wall Street Journal May 23rd. While the article points out many benefits for angel investors and venture capital firms it also seeds doubts on start-up ‘accelerators’ in general. StartFast’s founders invite investors to see for themselves.
On August 16, 2012, over a hundred investors will attend StartFast’s Demo Day in Syracuse, New York. Many will be there to insure that they don’t miss “the next big thing”. “Demo Day is the culmination of a 100-day boot-camp, pushing startups to become investment-grade opportunities,” says Chuck Stormon, who manages StartFast with Nasir Ali. “Mentorship is key, and we’re fortunate to have 85 world-class mentors to work with our companies,” adds Ali. With roughly 500,000 college and university students, Upstate New York has been exporting talent to great companies around the world. As StartFast mentors, some of the brightest lights can share knowledge and experience with younger entrepreneurs.
During week two alone, StartFast teams met face to face with mentors James Turino, investment banker at Redwood Capital Group, John Max Miller, serial entrepreneur, angel investor and CEO of Grand Slam Alley, Gus Weber, Entrepreneur in Residence at Polaris Ventures and DogPatch Labs, Sean Branagan, Director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Newhouse School, Syracuse University, Tom Schryver, CEO of PIXL, Brian Model, Managing Director at Stonehenge Growth Capital, David Montanaro, serial entrepreneur and investor in the Seed Capital Fund of Central New York, Grant Kirkwood, CEO of Unitas Global and serial entrepreneur, Ilissa Miller, CEO of iMiller Public Relations and by Skype with Brian Cohen, founder and CEO of Launch.it and Chairman of the New York Angels, the largest and most active angel investor group in the world.
In spite of the tendency for StartFast’s eight teams to experience ‘mentor whiplash’ receiving so many diverse opinions on their businesses, mentors provide much-needed perspective. “Entrepreneurs can tend to get stuck if their ideas are not challenged.” states Ali. At the end of week two, several StartFast companies (including Mozzo Analytics and Canvita) have launched new versions of their products, while PadProof, Cayo-Tech, RevoPT, and BitePal test breakthroughs in their business models. All eight are racing toward Demo Day and planning to be ready to attract major investment.