(Historic downtown Annapolis by Steven Frame via Shutterstock)
Among the winners receiving grants from TEDCO last week to expand incubator programs in the state was FounderTrac. The three-month accelerator has one year in the books, and is poised to help another group of startups in 2018.
The program launched with a pilot in Annapolis this year, with a goal of taking startups “from early-stage to venture-ready,” program founder Ryan Sears told us after the initial program was completed in April. Arising after Sears’ efforts in co-organizing pitch nights and other events to gather entrepreneurs with Launch Annapolis, it points to a groundswell for more formal programming for entrepreneurs around the Maryland capital.
Now, applications are open for entrepreneurs who want to participate in the 2018 edition of the program. With the win last week, the organizers with Launch Annapolis and the Maryland Tech Council now have $125,000 in grant funding to help.
In the initial year, many of the startups had products that were in the marketplace, and Sears said about half had paying customers. The program is designed to help startups get ready to go out and seek more funding to take products to the next level. It offers a 12-week curriculum for entrepreneurs that works through funding a startup and positioning a product, as well as the process of building a pitch deck and practicing a pitch. Additionally, it includes six work sessions with experienced business leaders and are matched with an “executive sherpa” to serve as a guide. The Maryland Tech Council and MCVC Partners help connect.
It concludes with a demo day in April, and continues with access to a virtual platform once the program is completed.
There’s also a funding element within the program itself. MCVC Partners is providing a venture fund of at least $2.5 million to help support graduates and attract other companies, according to the FounderTrac website. Annapolis Ventures is also a partner, and will be involved in providing coworking space, according to a press release.-30-
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