This may mean nothing to you, unless you happen to know who these companies are. To be honest, I'm only familiar with three of them. You can find out more in the links in "Companies We Mentioned..." below.
But I want to tell you about Elliott, because you're going to want to know.
Elliott Hauser is the founder and CEO of Coursefork, an open-source-style platform for course creators to collaborate and get feedback. I first became aware of Elliott for leaving well-thought out feedback on ExitEvent articles, probably starting about a year ago, then I got a chance to meet him when I was a judge for UNC's Carolina Challenge back in November.
Elliott is one of those entrepreneurs who you know right away is going to be successful as soon as he finds the right idea. In this, he reminds me of Archive Social's Anil Chawla, who I met while he was still at IBM and churning through ideas until he found the one that would let him leave the corporate world for the startup world.
When Elliott first started talking about Coursefork, I had no idea whether or not it was the right idea. It was still vague, and more open than source, and he still hadn't gotten it out of his head and into reality.
That all changed dramatically at Triangle Startup Weekend Education in March. Elliott brought his idea there, recruited technologist Eric Martindale (now CTO) and over the weekend evolved his idea into a full-fledged business model and prototype.
It went so well that about a month later, TSW judge Brian Marks came aboard as COO, and they were off.
"Brian keeps us running in every sense of the word," Elliott says. "Eric architects the product and hacks. We all talk to customers, we all commit code."
Not long after that, Elliott started documenting his early journey here in the digital pages of ExitEvent, with articles on fundraising and time management, giving readers an open window into his founder's journey down the runway out of TSW-EDU. This journey included, among a bunch of other endeavors, applying to The Startup Factory.
Then a funny thing happened during Coursefork's fundraise.
"I got a call from Chris at the beginning of the month saying they wanted to invest and was super excited," Elliott says. "Surprised, really. TSF Demo Day was one of the first startup events I went to, like two years ago, and it's very special to be a part of this now."
Coursefork is perfectly positioned for TSF. A company that's young but with a solid team and plenty of momentum going in. Furthermore, they already know what they want to do next, and how their time at TSF will align with that mission.
"We want to figure out the unit economics of viral teaching," he says. "What social and technical pieces do we need to make this a reality? After TSF, we'll be preparing for a raise to scale those unit economics we discover."
I'm thrilled for Elliott, Brian, and Eric, and I not only wish them success, I've got a pretty good feeling that they're going to make it.