The inaugural cohort in Dreamit’s SecureTech accelerator program, launched last summer in a bid to spot early companies in the budding cybersecurity market, spent 14 weeks getting coaching, entrepreneur-focused programming and intros to investors.
The net was positive for the seven companies involved — all of which hail from outside of Philly — according to Managing Director Bob Stasio, the former Army vet and IBM exec in charge of the accelerator.
“Around 80 percent of the SecureTech startups gained customers or points of contact,” Stasio said. “One startup gained two paid trials within a week of meeting a large bank and a government org during a Dreamit Customer Sprint.”
Attention Security Startups! Dreamit Ventures Applications are still open for #Securetech…Join our program of intense coaching from industry experts, our network of 50+ customer partners, and thousands of investors! #cybersecurit…https://t.co/GqD8aQrvrd https://t.co/gDnk5YGO9L
— Bobby Digital (@BobStasio) January 4, 2019
During the second portion of the accelerator, dubbed the Investor Sprint, each company met with 15 investors across Silicon Valley, New York and Washington D.C. Most, Stasio said, are in follow-up discussions about potential investment.
For Manoj K. Srivastava, cofounder of Reston, Va.-based startup Graphus, getting intros to chief information security officers and other execs at Fortune 1000 companies was a highlight of participating in the inaugural cohort.
“It’s a fantastic program to boost your customer development mindset and process,” Srivastava said.
Why should companies apply for the upcoming cohort? Stasio said the three-month sprint lets founders learn strategies for selling to large, enterprise-level companies, luring key customers or raising venture capital.
The program does not directly invest in startups in exchange for equity, a habitual playbook for accelerators. Rather, Dreamit Ventures locks down the right to invest in companies’ upcoming funding round. Companies can participate remotely, in keeping with the company’s 2015 model shift.
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