Six to 10 start-ups will be selected to participate in the first year of NMotion, a new start-up accelerator in Lincoln. NUtech Ventures, a non-profit affiliate of the University of Nebraska whose goal is to help form partnerships between industry and university research to advance technology, is just one of the many partners involved in this program. Others include the University of Nebraska and the University Technology Development Corp.
According to Brian Ardinger, managing director of NMotion, the program was created when “we just began thinking. How do we accelerate start-ups in Nebraska? Especially those in the early stages and not necessarily connected to the community yet.” He says start-up accelerator programs are already popular in other cities and many of them served as starting blocks for NMotion.
“The goal is to build six to 10 teams of graduates each year to be leaders in the community and create a jumping point for their start-up companies to be successful,” Ardinger said. NMotion is currently accepting applications for the first year of the program. Ardinger said “the requirements are very broad, but we prefer that it’s a start-up in the beginning stages.” The focus of the program is around technology, but teams can apply with ideas ranging from agriculture to finances to health care. Companies already generating revenue and hoping to grow are also encouraged to apply.
The intense 12-week program will include hands-on educational curriculum tailored to the needs of each start-up. Teams will receive feedback from successful entrepreneurs and have access to training videos, panel discussions and field trips. Companies will also have the opportunity to work with lead mentors, who will spend about an hour a week with the company during the program. Ardinger said lead mentors essentially “adopt” a team and help them throughout the program by sharing experiences, contacts and insights. Companies are also exposed to ad-hoc mentors, who share their specific expertise with the participating companies. All mentors tailor their support toward the need of each team, but they focus on creating a business model, market strategy, branding, pricing and an investor pitch. In addition, companies will receive free co-working space and legal, research and marketing assistance. There is no cost to be a part of NMotion and selected teams will receive $15,000 in seed funding and up to $100,000 in free or reduced cost services.
The first session will begin in June and end with a Tunnel Walk Demo Day on Sept. 5, when teams can showcase their company’s alumni and investors to the public. Teams interested in applying can do so on the NMotion website. Applications are due April 15 and up to 10 teams will be selected after an interview process.