New series is helping concept stage companies get started

Programs like Startup Weekend Eugene, which took place in early November, often generate new startup ideas. But where do teams go to continue working on them?

A new program offered by Fertilab Thinkubator launched this fall to try and fill the gap. Called ID8, it has been helping founders working on concept stage companies—startups not far beyond an idea—connect with mentors and get oriented to the resources in the Eugene-Springfield area.

ID8 launched following Startup Weekend Eugene and was quickly filled to capacity with eight startups in the program and several more on the waiting list. Two companies in the program formed at Startup Weekend Eugene—Flash PV and Sit with Me. Their teams wanted to continue working on the startups after the end of the competition.

The companies in the first class of the ID8 incubator program include:

  • Flash PV (Andrew Ritenour and Matthew Robertson)
  • Cognitopia (Tom Keating)
  • com (Tony Marostica)
  • Restatement of Style (Danny Kim)
  • Third Ocean (Kevin Bull, Esteban Vollenweider, Garrett Dunlavey, and Richard Harris)
  • ValleyChem (Danielle Murphy)
  • Sit with Me (Nathan Gustafson, Galen Mitterman, Krell TheHuman, Mateus Carvalho, and Dena Zaldua)
  • LightDance (Paul Garrett and Dylan Garett)

As a “pre-accelerator” incubation program, ID8 provides a series of public expert seminars and special workshops and mentoring sessions for the participating startups. Topics during the public seminars have covered business plan development, working with customers, creating a value proposition, and more.

After the public expert seminars, the startups in the program stay after for the workshops where they work in small teams with the guidance of a mentor. Later in the week, the participants have an opportunity to receive one-on-one mentoring with their mentor as they work on their value proposition and business plan.

“The support from the community to mentor young startups has been nothing short of overwhelming,” says Youngentob. “Our mentors provide challenging feedback that can lead to crucial pivots that help startups move away from high risk ideas towards successful business models.”

According to David Youngentob, the ID8 program director, many companies are already preparing for their next step: applying to the RAIN Eugene Accelerator or continuing the incubation process at one of the area’s co-working spaces. ID8 helps lay the foundation for these companies to move on and get the most value out of other resources available for entrepreneurs.

ID8 is offered by Fertilab Thinkubator with sponsorship from OTRADI and the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce.

The series will conclude with a public pitch event at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 18 at Fertilab Thinkubator. For some founders, this will be their first opportunity to practice sharing their story with the community. Following the end of the pitch event, members of the Eugene startup community are invited to attend the Fertilab holiday party for a celebration.