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NMotion Labs launches 2017 fall cohort

NMotion Labs, a new 7-week mini accelerator from NMotion, kicked off its inaugural cohort at the beginning of October.

The program was previously known as “Prelaunch” and was designed as a way to help potential founders explore their business ideas and establish whether or not those ideas were something that could lead to the launch of an actual business.

“What I really want to do this fall that’s different than what we’ve done in the past, is see if we can take some of the programs that we did during the [full NMotion] accelerator and continue to support startups that [could almost be] ready to go through an accelerator,” said Beth McKeon, NMotion Managing Director.

NMotion Labs is working with a group of 7 founders that are at various stages in the creation of their startup, from the idea stage to the customer stage. The program is helping the founders learn how to structure experiments in order to gain information and learn from their customers as quickly as possible.

“We have weekly meetings together as a group and individual office hours so they can be working through those challenges together, and also getting mentorship from the NMotion staff,” said McKeon. “It’s kind of an experiment to see if we can continue to work with more startups in the off-season using the same programs that were really effective for our accelerator companies.”

McKeon said the selection process for choosing candidates was organic and came about from people reaching out to her to connect with NMotion and its programs.

“I was really looking for founders that were ready to dive into this program and make progress. We’re beyond the ‘Do I want to be a founder [stage]?’,” said McKeon. “They had to have decided they’re really committed to building something.”

McKeon said her ideal candidates were out of the pre-revenue stage where they’re still validating and have moved onto discovering the problem their startup could solve and whether or not there are customers willing to pay to solve that problem.

“Success for me would be seeing 7 companies move out of the validate stage and either be in the testing stage or the accelerate stage in 7 weeks. We saw that with our accelerator companies,” said McKeon. “All 5 made that progress in really about the same amount of time.”

Meet the NMotion Labs founders

Marco Bravo, Founder of My Talented Teacher
We believe the talents of teacher reach way beyond the classroom! My Talented Teacher is a platform where teachers can promote their side-hustle and make it easy for the public in general to find these teachers and hire them.

My Talented Teacher has a website up and running with teacher listings from 6 states who can be reached for freelance services.

I am looking for ways to fully monetize the website and focus on marketing strategies,” says Bravo. “I hope I can narrow my marketing targets and come up with creatives ways to reach these targets as well as getting closer to monetizing the website.”

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Kim Perkins, Cofounder & CEO, memosnag, Inc.
memosnag offers the best way to capture, organize and share everything online. The application enables users to create and share collections of media content from a variety of online and offline sources  with citation of the original source.

memosnag exists as a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox as well as apps in the iTunes and Android store.

“We are currently looking to grow our user base and implement our pricing strategy to begin generating revenue,” said Perkins.

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Jodi Ryter, founder of Prairie Prep
The Prairie Prep experience would connect high school students to information, dialogue, and support from higher education, providing mentoring, discussion, and skill-building in a shared space that would elevate their level of college-readiness.

Prairie Prep is in the early validation phase.

“I hope in seven weeks I will understand the problem and customers well enough I can begin to design a unique and robust solution I can test,” said Ryter.

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Nate Kumwenda, founder of Smooth Elephant
Smooth Elephant is about contextualizing working western community models in Malawian culture to fuel social innovation. Right now the focus is on food and food culture, specifically the western food truck model and how to take that experience and bring it into the Malawian cultural context.

Kumwenda is currently working on identifying and understanding the people who have a passion for food, food culture, and community.

“I hope to take what I’ve have learned here to help better validate opportunities in Malawi,” says Kumwenda.

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Cameron J. Popp, founder of Coach Cam
Coach Cam helps purpose-driven entrepreneurs kick more ass (or get out of their own way and hit peak performance).

Popp is looking to explore new possibilities and potentially innovate Coach Cam.

“[I’d like to] get really clear on a specific problem within my target market that people are itching to buy,” says Popp.

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Brenna Backemeyer, CEO and Founder of StudentStarter
StudentStarter connects businesses to self-starter student talent on a project basis. We utilizing project-based learning in the entrepreneurship world to help equip students with the mindset of independent learning.

StudentStarter is currently in the validation and customer discovery phase.

“With the help of NMotion Labs I hope to have a clear understanding of the problem businesses are facing working with student talent and begin testing solutions,” says Backemeyer.

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Christine McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.

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