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Straight Shot’s 2015 class brings together regional startup veterans


Omaha’s Straight Shot accelerator has accepted 7 new teams into its third class, one of which is a corporate innovation team.

The seven teams are:

  • BCD – Omaha – Developing software for more secure mobile payments; founders have worked for First National and ACI Worldwide
  • Delta Insights Omaha – Increasing conversions, ROI for online retailers; Hayneedle expats Marcus Goedeker, Jacob Messerly and Jeremy Vlcan, who have collectively founded 7 companies
  • Noivox – Chicago – Helping businesses connect with customers via text messages; Abraham Chavez, Lincoln-native, former Hudl employee
  • Workhound Des Moines – Improving driver retention in the trucking industry; former Dwolla employee Max Farrell
  • Yield – Omaha – Helping professional services firms project their team’s capacity for a given scope of work; led by Grant Stanley, founder of CAN, and Josh Hoberman formerly at Proxibid 
  • Zinnia Omaha – Enabling florists to connect with millennial buyers through a mobile-first platform; founded by Andy Holz, Nathan Bliss and Ben Lueders
  • ES&S Omaha – Innovation team out of Election Systems & Software, an industry leader that operates in 60% of US elections

Straight Shot’s play as a corporate innovation accelerator

In the last 3 years Straight Shot has grown 14 companies and has helped raise almost $4.4 million in venture funding for early stage, high growth startups.

Straight Shot has helped bring four companies to Omaha from as far as Chicago, Portland, San Francisco and Kentucky. It has also been the launch pad for companies to San Francisco and New York City.

Straight Shot has been actively pursuing partnerships with area corporations as well.

This year the class includes an innovation team from ES&S, a global leader in election machines and software.

Due to the necessarily conservative nature of the election industry, ES&S is looking to Straight Shot to help them stay innovative and creative. At the end of the program, the innovation team will pitch to C-level executives within ES&S.

A “founders class”

This year David Arnold, Straight Shot’s managing director, has focused on mature veteran founders with deep domain experience.

Several of the founders have already started other companies, and some are former employees of successful startups like ACI Worldwide, Proxibid, Hudl, Dwolla and Hayneedle.

“Working at those places says you’re qualified to work for really impressive teams,” said Arnold. “You’ve experienced really great startup growth.”

Some of the founders already bring a sophisticated network of connections, but they believe that they can find quicker success by merging their network with Straight Shot’s.

“If we have more sophisticated founders who can do a lot on their own, we really have to step up our game and improve,” said Arnold. “That’s a great challenge to have.”

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