Think Big announces first accelerator class, attracts L.A. and N.Y. startups

Think Big Partners today announced the six startups accepted into the first class of its Think Big Accelerator, a 22-week program that starts Tuesday in the company’s coworking space, bizperc.

Each startup receives investment, mentorship and business services, an offering Think Big Partners managing partner Herb Sih said is done through a “joint venture” of three entities. Think Big Ventures, a fund recently launched by Sih and Think …

Think Big Partners Herb Sih announces the creation of the Think Big Accelerator in Janaury at the company’s Gigabit Challenge event.

Think Big Partners today announced the six startups accepted into the first class of its Think Big Accelerator, a 22-week program that starts Tuesday in the company’s coworking space, bizperc.

Each startup receives investment, mentorship and business services, an offering Think Big Partners managing partner Herb Sih said is done through a “joint venture” of three entities. Think Big Ventures, a fund recently launched by Sih and Think Big Partners senior partner Tyler Prochnow, provides each startup an $18,000-$24,000 investment in exchange for a 6-8 percent equity stake. Think Big Partners provides business services. Bizperc, a coworking space owned by Think Big Partners, provides office space.

Sih declined to share the number of applications received, but estimated 80 percent of them were from Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. Of the six startups accepted, four are from Kansas City, Mo., where the accelerator is based. One will commute regularly from New York, and another is relocating to Kansas City from Los Angeles.

“We didn’t ask them to do that,” Sih said, “but they chose to do that. They saw the opportunity and the value.”

Below are the six startups of Think Big Accelerator’s first class (descriptions courtesy of Think Big):

  • H2OCloud (New York) – H2OCloud is a cloud-based application that connects music fans to bands in a mobile-based platform. H2OCloud helps bands create more revenue through better marketing, smarter asset management and improve the overall fan experience and artist-fan interaction.
  • inCharge (Kansas City, Mo.) – inCharge is a kiosk-based mobile phone charging station that provides digital out-of-home targeted advertising to the consumer. inCharge’s initial focus is high teledensity overseas markets.
  • Kahootz (Kansas City, Mo.) – Kahootz is a consumer-focused online calendar platform that provides users with easier ways to combine, share and manage all obligations and profiles on one easy-to-maintain social-based platform. Kahootz also enables user-controlled, privacy-enabled, permission-based business-to-consumer markets through event promotion syndication.
  • Keyzio (Kansas City, Mo.) – Keyzio has been defined as the Match.com for real estate for two people who don’t know they are trying to find each other. The Keyzio platform connects people and helps them find, buy and sell real estate that may not normally be available through the Multiple Listing Service.
  • Phone2Action (Los Angeles) – Phone2Action uses location-based mobile technology to instantly connect constituents to their lawmakers making in-the-moment advocacy easier.
  • Weejay (Kansas City, Mo.) – Weejay is a virtual jukebox application that allows customers to control music in particular venues through mobile devices. Weejay’s venue management feature dashboard enables total control of music for a specific venue and creates better revenue opportunities for venue owners to enhance the overall patron experience.

One participant, inCharge, has also taken additional investment of $50,000 from Think Big Ventures. The investment is separate from the accelerator’s program, Sih said.

“Over time if (accelerator participants) need ongoing things after the program is over, we would want to develop a relationship with them,” he said. “But there’s no obligation to do so. In fact, many of them will not do so.”

The accelerator ends in January with a “Demo Week,” which Sih said is similar to the traditional accelerator demo day.

 

Credits: Photo of Herb Sih from the Kansas City Public Library via Flickr.

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