The 2011 N2TEC Technology Accelerator Program just completed its third year in Sioux Falls, South Dakota under an SBA grant and in collaboration with the South Dakota Technology Business Center. Six companies were chosen from a field of 21 applicants who went through an interview process and had to submit evidence that they had viable businesses near ready to launch. The Accelerator program focuses on technology businesses and is designed to help the entrepreneurs get traction and actually launch their businesses.
This year’s businesses were some of the most diverse to participate in the program, and their readiness for the accelerator is a testament to the rapidly expanding innovation eco-system available in South Dakota. The six entrepreneurs and their businesses are:
Lauren Anema. On Site - Mobile Medical Services provides x-ray and other medical services to individuals with limited mobility due to health or situational constraints.
Steven Keough. PharmaCline (see photo left) has developed a patent-pending drug delivery technology and line of topical antimicrobial drugs that effectively treat the most resistant strains of bacterial infection, such as MRSA and Staph. The company already has over-the-counter (OTC) approval from the FDA.
Michael Korstjens. Cortext
provides rapid, effective, targeted market research for small businesses via
text messaging to focus groups. (see photo, L to R, Royce McDaniel and Michael Korstjens)
Royce McDaniel. Nism produces and sells a patent-pending bike conversion kit that enables avid mountain bikers and freestyle BMX riders to quickly convert their mountain bikes to ski bikes so that they can do all the tricks they typically do on bike trails and off road in the spring and summer on the snow all winter. This product will be the only bike conversion kit endorsed by professional mountain bikers.
John Meyer. Sandbox, through guides, personalized support, case studies, and weekly seminars, helps small and medium sized business owners understand and use social media and digital tools in as little as 30 minutes a week.
Adam Vandemore. GalDom manufactures and sells a network attached storage device that brings enterprise level storage technologies to the small to medium-sized business with needs to securely and quickly deploy a High Availability advanced file server and storage services with remote backup and streaming replication capabilities.
The week was intense with the teams being required to challenge all the assumptions they had about their businesses when they applied for the Accelerator. Over the course of the
week, business models changed or were refined as were the timelines, product development, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing strategies. The chance to meet with four alumni from previous Accelerators as well as with entrepreneurs from the region were the highlights of the week. These entrepreneurs shared the good, bad, and ugly of starting a business and the lessons they had learned along the way. By Friday, each company had a compelling story to tell about their business and had made important connections with strategic partners and investors. (See investor photo - L to R, Steve Sershen, Craig Anderson, Craig Rickert),
N2TEC Accelerator co-founders Kathy Allen and Tim Stearns will continue to guide the teams as they complete product development and move to launch. As each company launches, it will add yet another business to the growing portfolio of technology companies in Sioux Falls and the surrounding region including Yankton, Vermillion, and Brookings, to name a few cities. Sioux Falls has been touted by Forbes
magazine as the best small city for business
in the U.S. and N2TEC Institute has found that to be very true.