Fluent offers new approach to how startup ecosystems help support founders
Two thought-leaders and former NMotion teammates have reunited and are making waves with a new approach to how startup ecosystems help support founders. Last year Beth McKeon, former Managing Director of NMotion, launched Fluent, a nationwide entrepreneurial training firm. Now, Fluent is expanding to new markets, running data-driven and dynamically evolving partnerships tailored to each…
Two thought-leaders and former NMotion teammates have reunited and are making waves with a new approach to how startup ecosystems help support founders.
Last year Beth McKeon, former Managing Director of NMotion, launched Fluent, a nationwide entrepreneurial training firm. Now, Fluent is expanding to new markets, running data-driven and dynamically evolving partnerships tailored to each community. McKeon recently brought on Keevin O’Rourke, former NMotion program manager and also formerly of the Global Accelerator Network, as Head of Product.
“After working with over 100 founders and startup ecosystem builders in five states last year, I fundamentally believe the traditional venture accelerator model is the wrong fit for communities that wish to support local entrepreneurs,” McKeon said. “When that model for supporting startups accepts a failure rate of 90% – that’s the opposite of economic development. We have to solve this problem, not just shrug our shoulders like it’s ‘just the way things are.’”
Fluent is tackling this problem just like a startup. Operating as an entrepreneurial training R&D lab, Fluent is developing disruptive new products to help communities deliver more effective, targeted, state-of-the-art services to their founders.
They will soon bring this philosophy and approach to the University of Northern Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center Early Founder Program. McKeon and O’Rourke’s upcoming partnership will be something of a homecoming for the pair who have strong ties to the Midwest.
“We’re thrilled to be working with the program at the University of Northern Iowa this summer. The Midwest is where both Keevin and I got our start, where we developed our skills as both founders and accelerator directors,” McKeon said. “We’ve since learned that the challenges of starting a world-changing company are felt by founders just about everywhere, but our work ethic, sense of urgency, and passion for this work all started right here. It’s great to come back.”
Fluent’s first product is the Fluent Operating System, a hybrid in-person and remote service that organizations can utilize to provide on-demand, personalized founder training, coaching, and support.
“Founders don’t need help for just three months of the year. They need the right help at the right time, with different needs at each stage of their venture’s development,” McKeon said. “It’s just that this kind of hyper-targeted support is really hard to deliver at the local level. We’ve developed a way to help communities solve this problem.”
Fluent is currently partnering with four organizations in three states to offer this service: Velocity Accelerator in Birmingham, AL; ICELAB Accelerator and Catapult Outdoor Recreation Accelerator – both in Gunnison, CO; and UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center Early Founder Program in Cedar Falls, IA.
To scale the service, McKeon brought on O’Rourke to the Denver-based Fluent team. O’Rourke brings a wide set of skills as a founder, an experienced accelerator manager, and leader in the world of accelerators. Most recently, O’Rourke managed corporate partner relations at the Global Accelerator Network where he gained a holistic perspective on the trends and changes in the global accelerator industry.
“Having worked with accelerators across the globe, I had the unique opportunity to see some of the challenges they faced. By giving founders the right support at the right time, Fluent is changing the way communities develop their founders,” O’Rourke said.
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