A new accelerator program produced by key leaders of software development firm Illumisoft is helping innovators start their businesses by “cutting through the nonsense,” said Tyler Prince.
“We want to help entrepreneurs succeed,” he said. “I think we live in an age when change happens so rapidly.”
Launch It Successfully’s goal is to assist early stage startups in navigating through outdated information and reach the “low-hanging fruits that are going to allow them to grow their business and actually validate their idea, put a solid business around it and then market it successfully,” said Prince, vice president of business development for both Illumisoft and Launch It Successfully.
Launch It Successfully doesn’t take equity from clients, unlike accelerator programs such as Techstars KC; instead, the curriculum requires fees, with the first of four phases costing $2,500, he said. The subsequent phases vary in price based on the needs of the client, with the fourth phase costing up to $10,000. Clients who complete Launch It Successfully and decide to work with Illumisoft can apply some of the curriculum fees back as a credit toward its services, Prince said.
While the program is technically under the umbrella of Illumisoft, it is a separate entity designed to be a funnel for businesses to advance their concepts into business reality, he said.
The entrepreneur-taught program was developed after various startup leaders approached Illumisoft seeking software development services, but Illumisoft recognized the fledgling businesses weren’t yet prepared for that step, Prince said. Instead, entrepreneurs first needed to develop a business plan — an opportunity for Launch It Successfully to help.
“We’re not trying to get you prepared to do work with us,” Prince said. “We’re trying to get you prepared to go out and make educated decisions for your business, regardless of who you decide to hire.”
So far, two clients have completed Launch It Successfully, which started in mid-2017 as a “spin off” from Illumisoft, Prince said.
“It’s not like we’ve worked in corporate and took some business knowledge that we got from our degree and are now applying it; we are in the trenches,” he said. “This is stuff that we have mastered and gone through on our own. It’s not just theory; we are actually walking through how to do it.”
Prince helped design the curriculum and teaches some of the sessions, but Launch It Successfully is actually the brainchild of Illumisoft’s chief executive officer, Dan Prince — Tyler Prince’s father — and Wes Harrison, Illumisoft marketing director, who also helped develop the curriculum, he added.
As an entrepreneur himself, Prince wishes he had access to curriculum like this six years ago, when he started his window cleaning business, Prince Professional Window Cleaning, he said.
“I have struggled and struggled and struggled my way through everything, and if I just had somebody out there that could tell me that one thing or the two things that were going to either save me the most amount of time and frustration or take me to the next level in half the time, then that would’ve been a life saver for me,” Prince said.
The structured curriculum of Launch It Successfully is designed to fit clients’ needs “like a glove” as much as possible, he added.
“Not every idea is the same; not every business is the same,” he said. “So we go through and do a custom procedure where we figure out, ‘OK, what are the exact things for you that you need to do in order to get to the next level?’”
When clients complete Launch It Successfully, they are expected to have a fully validated idea, as well as a business model and plan in place with which they can start seeing tangible results, Prince said. Clients also have access to Illumisoft’s network of legal services, human resource and software development, among others, he added.
“We get you through the first mile of your business, so that way you are ready to go out and build your MVP (minimum viable product) or get software development or start advertising, whatever it is that you need to do with your business,” Prince said. “Ultimately, we just prepare you to enter the market, or to go to that next level of whatever you’re trying to accomplish.”