Bloomington, IN (October 18, 2017) – B-Start, a pre-accelerator program for early-stage startups in Bloomington, announced its 2017 cohort today. Eleven startups were selected to participate in the 22-week program during which they will attend workshops in lean business concepts, customer acquisition, fundraising, marketing and more.

The program was opened to all Bloomington residents this year, including students from Indiana University and Ivy Tech Community College as in past years. B-Start has ushered 18 startups through the program since it was launched in 2015, with 7 still actively working on their businesses. In total, B-Starters have hired 5 new employees, and 3 have gone on to successfully participate in local business pitch competitions.

The newest group of B-Start participants focuses on a wide variety of industries. The eleven participants include:

  • Adventure Field Guides: Marketplace of trip guides made by a community of outdoor influencers
  • Be-u-tiful: Online marketplace that helps review and sell hair care products
  • Bot Maven: Software that creates bots for event promotions
  • Codemoji: Coding platform for kids using emojis
  • Community Carbon Exchange: Platform that facilities the financial exchange of personal carbon offsets between producers and consumers
  • Elephants on Mars: Virtual reality arcade to explore immersive VR and develop new technology
  • Eqlsr: Blockchain platform to share, curate, collaborate and listen to music
  • Nomad Chest: Platform for renting clothing to travelers
  • Rent My Window: Auction platform for brick-and-mortar businesses and advertisers
  • Sharon: Debt-monitoring platform
  • Thumb: Long-distance ridesharing platform for college students

 

“We are now in the third year of our B-start program, and are really excited to have non-students participating this year alongside students” said Anne McCombe, Project Manager of the BEDC. “Creating new businesses and plugging them in to the startup ecosystem in Bloomington is the goal of the B-Start program and this new cohort looks like one of our strongest yet.”

B-Start hosted a kickoff reception with the startups and business community on Wednesday, October 18th. Each of the B-Start participants will be paired with a local Bloomington entrepreneur who will serve as a mentor. The program culminates in a final Demo Day in March 2018 where the startups will deliver a 5-minute pitch with the chance to win cash prizes based on a panel of judges.

Founding sponsors for B-Start are Cook Group, Inc., Indiana University Office of the Vice President for Engagement, and The Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington. For a full list of mentors, startups, and sponsors visit www.b-start.org.

About B-Start

B-Start is a pre-accelerator program of the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) to help launch for-profit innovation-driven businesses in Bloomington, Indiana. B-Start participants are at the earliest stage of their business development and are coached through a comprehensive process of cohort activities and individualized mentorship over the course of the program to build a foundation for acceleration. For more information, visit www.b-start.org.

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