Announcement: $50k available to TSC fellows!

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Last year, we boldly set out to radically improve the odds of startup success. Since our launch, more than 140 aspiring entrepreneurs have started up with The Startup Collaborative. A little more than 15 percent of whom are converting into capital-worthy prospects.

Thus, a new challenge for us to solve! Now, we have bought down the risk of failure due to poor product-market fit… and we have bought down the risk of not having the right team…. Then we need to buy down the risk of failure due to lack of capital. And we are!

We proudly announce that fellows within The Startup Collaborative that have met all due diligence and outcomes associated with LEVEL 9 // Outbound Sales will have the opportunity to take term sheets for $50,000 or $25,000 in growth capital. This capital provided by the Murphy Vision Funds in partnership with First Westroads and Invest Nebraska.

Any entrepreneur willing to roll up their sleeves, prove product-market fit, assemble their team and start to show some early customer traction is eligible.

Our methodology is intentionally designed to support any entrepreneur with high-growth, software-centric business models. Monthly, we work with 40-50 entrepreneurs at various growth phases of the methodology. Although we are industry agnostic, there are clusters of startups in Transportation/Logistics, Healthcare, Built Environment and Connected Brands.

While we set out to create a simple-to-understand means of quickly validating concepts, we didn’t expect that by publishing our outcomes we would also start to level the playing field for all entrepreneurs.

TSC term sheets don’t come with bias or strings attached. Rather, they are intentionally designed to support any entrepreneur that has proven outcomes and high growth propensity.

There has never been a better time to start up in the Midwest.

To earn your way to this growth capital, apply here.

P31 Workforce // Looking for a painkiller, not vitamin

The very first outcome of our program is a clearly defined problem worth solving. The second outcome is to identify customers that may have that problem. And, then, our fellows confirm with those customers that the problem is, in fact, a pain point. More importantly, they validate is that problem must be solved with a painkiller or could merely be fixed with some vitamins.

Rachel Tiller, an entrepreneur-for-life style founder, set out to help women who freelance find meaningful gigs. Meaningful vision, indeed. Unfortunately, the market wasn't clamoring for it just yet. More than half of her customer discovery did validate the problem, but not with the intensity that Rachel was seeking.

So, she pivoted! Now, she's going back to the initial problem statement and customer segments to test iterations of it all. A bold move. But a necessary move that only sophisticated founders are adept enough to make. We're eager and excited to see Rachel's next rounds of LEVEL 1, 2 and 3.

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Importer Network Tackles an MVP

We are constantly on the hunt for founders who have a deep, defensible understanding of their industry. Boy, did we find that in Hugh Finerty, founder of The Importer Network. Hugh is a known expert in the freight forwarding import business (making sure cargo gets from China to America via ocean liners). He has a lifetime of experience and a Rolodex of gold.

He recognized that companies who needed to get their freight overseas faced some unpredictable challenges, including wildly fluctuating rates and insecure timelines. Those problems are worsened if you are a smaller player with less freight to ship. The problem was an easy validation amongst industry players. And, so was Hugh's solution. His solution is so simple in vision: fix the rates that cause the issues.

The Importer Network's Fixed Import Rates and Management Platform is going from spreadsheet prototype to early front-end this month. He's moved quickly through the process of customer discovery and will be iterating on product-market fit while he completes LEVEL 4 // MVP. Congrats on this major milestone for Importer Network!

Importer Network