Omaha startup accelerator Straight Shot has announced its seven-company class of startups, which includes teams from Chicago, Portland, Omaha and Lincoln.
Straight Shot Managing Director David Arnold said the accelerator reviewed hundreds of applications from across the country and “ultimately landed on the seven strongest companies that we knew we could meaningfully accelerate in 90 days.”
The 2014 class has a wide range of business experience and will launch June 9.
The class includes:
Borrow For Your Bump (Omaha) – a maternity fashion rental and retail e-commerce startup founded by Krystal Stubbendeck. Stubbendeck, formerly a ConAgra financial analyst, recently decided to strike out and put her full efforts toward Borrow For Your Bump. Since then, she’s grown her business by adding product extensions and is joining Straight Shot to accelerate that growth even more.
CallOnTheGo (Chicago) – a predictive call analysis and forecasting platform that helps determine the best time to make phone calls and what past communication has happened with each contact. Mark Michuda, a second-time founder and Stanford graduate, is solving a problem he has personally experienced: time wasted managing call-logs and lost time making sales.
Kitchin (Chicago) – the digital kitchen that helps consumers inventory their food from photos of grocery receipts and then creates recipes based on the food already in their homes. Founder Corey Anand got the idea for Kitchin working alongside a busy executive who struggled to know what meals to prepare for her family given her hectic schedule.
LocalLux (Chicago) – an ultralocal online marketplace for shoppers to discover close-to-home goods from artisans, boutiques and vendors. For business owners, LocalLux offers additional marketing consulting and on-demand deliveries. Co-founder/CEO Randy Ellis is a veteran technologist and co-founder/COO Karleton Thomas is a past owner of a retail company.
Quest (Omaha) – founded by sports conditioning and therapy notables David Potach and Roger Earle, Quest aims to connect people with personal training and coaching services. These services include improving strength, preparing for a road race and losing fat via online video conferencing. As Potach and Earle more aggressively enter the market, they want to put operational and organizational systems in place for fast growth.
SitStay (Lincoln) – established in 1996, SitStay is not the typical accelerator startup, but new CEO Jill Liliedahl was hired as the change agent tasked with reinventing SitStay’s e-commerce model. SitStay was made for dog parents who want a better life for their pets and want to share their experiences with others.
Viirt (Portland) – founded by Josh Davis, owner of a Kansas City-based roofing company, who recognized the inefficiencies between consumers, general contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers. He created Viirt to eliminate those inefficiencies and become a stronger partner to the consumer by offering competitive pricing coupled with the industry’s most dependable service.
Matching mentors meaningfully
This year’s grouping has a mix of early-stage startups and more established companies looking to reinvent their business model. Each of the seven companies is being strategically matched with Straight Shot mentors, who will provide ongoing advice and support during and after the program.
“Being in Omaha, we don’t have to try hard to find the highest-caliber mentors willing to help these companies scale,” said Arnold in a press release. “We are intentionally matching each mentor, supporter and investor with companies they can impact.”
The mentor-driven program includes weekly discussions and curriculum that help each company navigate fundraising, market analysis, customer acquisition, business management, product development and overall customer experience.
Straight Shot will will host a social on Wednesday, June 11 at 4 p.m. for the community to meet the new founders and learn about the 2014 class. The location has yet to be determined.
Straight Shot’s presenting sponsors, McCarthy Capital and the Greater Omaha Chamber, are both providing financial support and serving as mentors. Additional sponsors include Fraser Stryker, University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business, Aviture, First National Bank and several others.