15 Takeaways from the 2015 Accelerator Cohort

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Goquets working hard to make it possible to get flowers delivered anywhere in the US, quick and easy.

[/text_output][blockquote cite=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]”I underestimated how much I could get done in a day, much less 90 days of being focused on one goal. You really find out how many hours you have in a day and how to use them all.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” fullwidth=”false”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][text_output]

Mentor-In-Residence Cammie Grief, co-founder of TaxACT, works with GolfRz. MIRs worked closely with the teams, providing candid and critical feedback.

[/text_output][blockquote cite=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]”Listen to what you don’t want to hear. This is essential for any startup. Mentor time and business coaching is not intended to be a pat on the back, especially if it has the possibility to improve your business going forward.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][gap size=”2.5em” id=”” class=”” style=””][image type=”none” src=”14810″ alt=”” href=”” title=”” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” fullwidth=”false”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][gap size=”2.5em” id=”” class=”” style=””][image src=”14811″ alt=”” href=”” title=”” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/vc_column][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][text_output]

Patrick Gavin, CEO of HigherEducation.com, presents advanced content marketing strategies during Marketing Hell Week, an intensive series of topics diving deep into marketing strategy and tactics.

[/text_output][blockquote cite=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]”Specialized workshops are one of the best values of the accelerator. In a super short time, you can get a good overview and even a decent understanding on topics such as digital marketing, growth hacking, branding, and fundraising.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” fullwidth=”false”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][text_output]

EarMashin talking with founders of local startup GentlemenCare during our Community Connections Welcome Party.

[/text_output][blockquote cite=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]”What I like best about Iowa Startup Accelerator is the networking that takes place not only between the staff, mentors, and cohort, but also Geonetric employees or coworkers from Vault and other startups and innovators in the community.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][gap size=”2.5em” id=”” class=”” style=””][image src=”14812″ alt=”” href=”” title=”” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” fullwidth=”false”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][gap size=”3.0em” id=”” class=”” style=””][image src=”14813″ alt=”” href=”” title=”” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/vc_column][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][text_output]

Teams used scrum to prioritize and organize work and make progress visible to everyone on the team, including mentors and staff.

[/text_output][blockquote cite=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]”The Agile methodology is very useful for teams. Scrum boards are necessary to make people accountable and prioritize across the team, and weekly hypothesis testing also helps narrow focus.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” fullwidth=”false”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][text_output]

Teams bond best over food and beer. Luckily we have a huge kitchen and cafe, stocked with both.

[/text_output][blockquote cite=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]”The cohort turned into close friends because I spent so much time with them. I felt that our cohort was cohesive and learned from each other very quickly. For me, this made the accelerator a more enjoyable experience.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][gap size=”3.0em” id=”” class=”” style=””][image src=”14814″ alt=”” href=”” title=”” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” fullwidth=”false”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][gap size=”2.5em” id=”” class=”” style=””][image src=”14815″ alt=”” href=”” title=”” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/vc_column][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][text_output]

A candid Fireside chat with mentor Adam Keune, Co-founder of Higher Learning Technologies.

[/text_output][blockquote cite=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]”ISA arranged “fireside chats”, in which entrepreneurs shared their experiences and insights with the teams. One of the insights that most resonated with me was the importance of loving your customers. If you build your business around customers you appreciate and respect, then they will inspire you, and everything else becomes infinitely easier.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” fullwidth=”false”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][text_output]

Helen Adeosun, the founder of CareAcademy, nails it on Launch Day in front of 900 people.

[/text_output][blockquote cite=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]”Always be pitching. It’s on us to make sure people know what we do and why we do it. Pitching in front of different audiences allowed our team to constantly evolve our messaging to fit our market.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][gap size=”2.5em” id=”” class=”” style=””][image src=”14816″ alt=”” href=”” title=”” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” fullwidth=”false”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][gap size=”3.0em” id=”” class=”” style=””][image src=”14817″ alt=”” href=”” title=”” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/vc_column][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][text_output]

Our intern George Elossais helps Matt Rooda, founder of SwineTech, automate marketing and sales systems.

[/text_output][blockquote cite=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]”It never hurts to ask. You can’t really comprehend the myriad of resources at ISA until you ask: headshots, proofreading emails, editing blog posts, introductions, financial modeling panels, family dinners, pitch feedback, and more were all available; all we had to do was ask.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” fullwidth=”false”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][text_output]

Mentor Peter Awad, the founder of the Slow Hustle podcast, talks with team EarMashin. Peter’s podcast talks extensively about finding a meaningful and balanced life as an entrepreneur.

[/text_output][blockquote cite=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]”Find a good work/life balance while not wasting the opportunity you have in front of you. I averaged 18 hours per day here and was excited to do so; however, I needed to make sure I took care of my health when it came to what I ate, how much sleep I was getting, and shutting down my mind for a few hours every day.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][gap size=”2.5em” id=”” class=”” style=””][image src=”14818″ alt=”” href=”” title=”” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” fullwidth=”false”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][gap size=”2.5em” id=”” class=”” style=””][image src=”14819″ alt=”” href=”” title=”” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/vc_column][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][text_output]

ISA works with founders on more than just building their business: we help develop leadership skills, train on effective communication and building strong team dynamics and performance.

[/text_output][blockquote cite=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]”We were continuously reminded to be the boss. You’re the only person who can make the tough decisions for your business to succeed.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” fullwidth=”false”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][text_output]

Mentor-In-Residence Adam Koppes talks with Trevor Carlson of CareDrop about the business’ financial model.

[/text_output][blockquote cite=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]”Always be testing. Critical feedback and accepting some failure along the way allowed us to find the parts of our business that we needed to focus on. This also showed us which of our business model’s strengths we needed to be emphasizing.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][gap size=”2.5em” id=”” class=”” style=””][image src=”14820″ alt=”” href=”” title=”” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” fullwidth=”false”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][gap size=”3.0em” id=”” class=”” style=””][image src=”14821″ alt=”” href=”” title=”” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/vc_column][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][text_output]

Our friends from Theatre Cedar Rapids come over, with beer, to train on improvisational speaking skills, which are critical for founders. Beer is also critical for founders.

[/text_output][blockquote cite=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]”I really enjoyed the improv and beer session. It was fun to creatively work with the other teams in the cohort, and it really helped everyone get to know one another better.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” fullwidth=”false”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][text_output]

The 2015 cohort ping pong master, David Lomiashvili of TaxiTapp, beats out his challenger, the 2014 champion, Jerod Mollenhauer of VenueFox.

[/text_output][blockquote cite=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]”Every accelerator should have a ping pong table.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][gap size=”2.5em” id=”” class=”” style=””][image src=”14822″ alt=”” href=”” title=”” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” fullwidth=”false”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][gap size=”3.0em” id=”” class=”” style=””][image src=”14823″ alt=”” href=”” title=”” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/vc_column][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/2″][text_output]

The teams’ hard work is on full display at Launch Day in November in front of a huge crowd of investors, community members and more.

[/text_output][blockquote cite=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]”Remember what makes you awesome. After all the ego bruising and hard work, a startup team needs to remember what brought them here while letting market validation speak for itself. For us, we know that our efforts led to people getting surprised with amazing flowers every day. How cool is that?”[/blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/1″][line id=”” class=”” style=””][text_output]

 “I underestimated how much I could get done in a day, much less 90 days of being focused on one goal. You really find out how many hours you have in a day and how to use them all.”

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