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Lincoln startup accelerator NMotion opens applications for inaugural class

NMotion startup accelerator will provide up to 10 early stage startup $15,000 in seed funding.

A group led by Lincoln, Neb.-based NUtech Ventures today announced its next move to support the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem: an early stage startup accelerator it calls NMotion.

“We looked at where NUtech could play a role, and obviously not driving it as a university accelerator, but just as a catalyst to help,” said NMotion director Brian Ardinger. “And my role of actually just taking the reigns and push this through and marshal some muscle behind this whole thing.”

Since coming on board as NUtech’s entrepreneur-in-residence in August, Ardinger (right) has done just that.

Over the past six months, he’s been reaching out to individuals – in and outside of the community and university – to “pull together the right folks to launch something.”

The University Technology Development Corporation, the parent organization of NUtech Ventures, provided an undisclosed amount of funding to really get NMotion in motion. FUSE Coworking chipped in its space, and more than two-dozen entrepreneurs, investors and professionals in Lincoln and Omaha signed on as mentors. Other University of Nebraska programs, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic, have also pitched in to add value.

Starting today, the accelerator is accepting applications for its inaugural 12-week summer class that kicks off in June and ends in early September with a demo day.

NMotion is targeting high-growth software and technology-based businesses from six industries: financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation/logistics, communications and agriculture. It’ll accept a maximum of 10 startup for its first class.

In addition to office space, access to mentors, consultations with service provider, startup community activities and educational events, each startup will receive $15,000 in seed funding. In return, NMotion takes a 6 percent equity stake in each company.

For NUtech, whose usual business is to help bring university research to market, the accelerator increases its recent emphasis on startups, Ardinger said.

“We wanted to look at it from how can we create an entity that helps bridge what’s going on in the university along with, more importantly, what’s going on in the private sector,” he said. “We thought we were in an interesting position to help try to bridge that.”

And Ardinger aims to build more bridges, such as preparing a startup to be funded by software investment fund Nebraska Global or earn a prototype award from the State of Nebraska.

Ardinger, who described his background as mix of building startups, working in large corporations and doing economic development work, believes he’s ready for this next endeavour in his career. He left his latest post as chief marketing officer at Nanotion last year to “get back in the startup realm.”

Going forward, he’ll balance his role as NUtech’s entrepreneur-in-residence with director of NMotion, and look to his coworkers to fill other spots in the program. He also plans to hire interns, such as software developers and graphic designers, to do the same for companies.

Also on his plate is securing funding from the private sector, which will make up half of NMotion’s budget. If a startup has a successful liquidity event – Ardinger expects to see 18-30 startups go through the accelerator in the next three years – money will come back to the accelerator and NMotion’s seperate investment vehicle, which is funded by the private sector.

Applications, which are also open to student-led startups, closes April 15. To apply, visit nmotion.co.


Credits: Screenshot from nmotion.co. Brian Ardinger photo from linkedin.com.

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