Nine companies graduated this week in the first cohort of Greenville’s Founder Institute program*. The inaugural class of 12 entrepreneurs spent three and a half months developing, refining and building on their ideas, which spanned the manufacturing, healthcare, technology, sports and education industries.
Out of the 150 applicants, around 34 were accepted and a mere 12 officially graduated, said Founder Institute Greenville co-director Jason Premo. The selective and intense nature of the program – which required an average of 25 hours per week in addition to participants’ day jobs – is designed to maximize the entrepreneur’s chance of success upon graduation, he said.
“By the time you’ve come out of it, you’ve avoided 80 percent of the reason many startups fail,” said Premo, who said half of the inaugural class had already received some sort of funding for their firms.
Premo has plans to run the program again next year, with marketing and applications ramping up in January and February for a projected program launch in early March.
Founders: Harold Hughes, Susan Donkers
Big idea: Online marketplace gives fans more control and fewer fees
Founders: Kristian Pflieger
Big idea: Rent tools, equipment and more from your neighbors conveniently and securely
Founders: Shante Nixon
Big idea: Connecting parents to providers about neonatal intensive care
Startup: Time Is Everything (TIE)
Founders: Adam Powell
Big idea: Outsource chores, laundry, dry cleaning, groceries and more
Founders: Ben Moore, Chris Rogers
Big idea: Fastest providers of custom thermoformed packaging
Founders: Elizabeth Barr
Big idea: Online recruitment process to vet employees for restaurants
Founders: Hao Wu, Michele Wang
Big idea: Healthcare tourism service for infertile women in China
Startup: Tall Gamez Inc.
Founders: Julian Nixon
Big idea: Engaging math and science videogames that you aren’t embarrassed to play
Startup: Vocati Inc.
Founders: Jon DeMersseman
Big idea: Keyword focused resume service that boost chances of getting an interview
*Upstate Business Journal Publisher Ryan Johnston was a co-director of Greenville’s Founder Institute Program.