When Mike Krupit left Real Food Works last spring, his seventh startup, he told himself he was done with startups.*
“I was feeling old,” he said, adding that “startups in Philly are hard.”
Instead of diving into another, Krupit, 51, of Bucks County, decided to start a business-coaching business. The company, called Trajectify, was inspired by a gap he saw in the Philly tech scene: everyone’s looking for a mentor, he said.
It feels like a natural progression for Krupit, who worked at 90s-era Philly tech scene companies like Infonautics and CDNOW, started an incubator in Langhorne, Pa., and runs a number of meetups like Bootstrappers Breakfast and the young Philly New Tech Meetup.
Trajectify targets companies, tech or non-tech, that have already earned revenue and are working on gaining traction — not early-stage startups that would say, apply for an accelerator (“I just don’t love that stage,” Krupit said). The company offers two kinds of coaching: one-on-one sessions and peer groups, where seven companies meet for three hours, once a month for six months, and discuss issues, with Krupit acting as facilitator.
Members of the first peer group include LED module manufacturer LUXTECH, online ordering platform Zuppler, web dev firm P’unk Ave, health club software provider Club OS and gym company Unite Fitness. KMeL Robotics, a robotics company out of Penn, is one of Krupit’s one-on-one coaching clients.
Diversity in the peer groups is key, Krupit said, and that’s why there’s a services firm, a gym company and both hardware and software firms. It’s also a mix of bootstrapped and venture-backed companies.
“I need ten different opinions in the room” to have real conversation and discussion, Krupit said.
Each company in the group pays a flat fee. The price for forthcoming clients will be $2,100 ($350/month). It’s important for entrepreneurs to have to pay that fee, “to have skin in the game,” he said, adding that that’s one problem with casual mentorship relationships.
The format for each group session includes:
- One hour learning something new
- One hour for one company to be in the “hot seat” and discuss an issue they’re dealing with
- One hour for discussing milestones and goals, as a way to hold each company accountable
Krupit plans to launch a new peer group in the fall.
*Krupit soon thereafter cofounded IntroNet, a startup aiming to make email introductions better. He works there part-time.
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