There are few entrepreneurship programs at North Carolina A&T University, so when Keenan Smith (top left) and Everette Slocum (right) of Brown Box Works learned about The Startup Factory boot camp in Winston-Salem, the students were quick to apply.
October 7, 2015
Inside The Startup Factory Bootcamp, Coming Next to Greensboro
The Durham accelerator builds its pipeline around the state by training new entrepreneurs on lean canvas, customer validation and the pitch.
They’d already built a campus information app called AggiesLand as well as Today Was A Good Day, an app for users to share positive thoughts about their days. They also had an early angel investor in Piedmont Angel Network’s Troy Knauss.
But they had a new idea called Espi—a sort of scavenger hunt app for college students to discover content around campus—and they desperately needed help with their pitch.
Meanwhile, George Dimopoulos had just graduated from Greensboro College and was getting ready to launch The Train App, a fitness app that lets coaches, personal trainers or fitness enthusiasts share 10-second or shorter instructional videos of simple exercises that people can do during a workout. It works like Twitter’s Vine app, letting users scroll through the videos to find the best.
But Dimopoulous needed help narrowing in on a target customer, and figuring out how to market to that audience.
The Startup Factory has mentioned Wilmington, Asheville and Charlotte as potential host cities for future boot camps. The team expects to hit each city at least once a year.
So far, the feedback seems positive.
For Dimopoulos, a week of advice and assistance from The Startup Factory gave him the confidence to go forward full-time with The Train App. It will soon leave private beta, and he’s been successful in lining up high-profile brand ambassadors to be early adopters when the app goes live.
The Brown Box Works team put marketing plans on hold while they spent time validating their idea with college students. They began working with an experienced developer in September to put that feedback into action in the app.
The key to success at TSF Bootcamp, Hazeltine says, is the ability to “take in more information than they can possibly handle, synthesize it and make the decision themselves. They know their companies best.”