i2E’s e3 program for startups provides effective methods to help Oklahoma founders conduct structured market validation of their concepts before they start selling products that the market may not want. This program is the most robust in the region and boasts 170 participating companies over the past five years, comprised of both seasoned founders and first-time entrepreneurs, all of whom have gained valuable insights from e3.
This past month, i2E concluded the latest virtual e3 cohort featuring new startups from across the state. Below are the profiles of some of the ventures that participated in the e3 program:
Apply U brings the offline experience of working with a college application counselor online as a course, making this career planning process simple, self-paced, and economical. CEO and founder, Terrie Shipley, Ed.D., said that going through the e3 process was well worth the time spent. “It was validating at times, challenging at times, and always enjoyable,” she said. “I relished the chance to talk about my passion project with experts and peers.” Something she found particularly helpful was i2E’s take on assessing the market in a realistic way. “In previous research, I had found competing opinions on how to come up with the right figures. Yet i2E’s approach equipped me with a better understanding of the kind of numbers investors would be most interested in.”
ForeSource is developing a software application to forecast project schedule timing and resources. Complex projects in fields such as oil and gas development require several project phases to be completed to support a larger scale project. Most organizations handle their project scheduling using a resource-based approach which provides no visibility within an organization, but ForeSource is a collaborative, phase-based planning tool that provides an organization visibility of the entire life cycle of a project.
Ron Goff, CEO and co-founder, shared with us that participating in the e3 program was a fantastic experience for his company. “As an early stage start-up, access to the knowledge and experience of the e3 team proved extremely valuable. The rigorous process allowed us to quickly evaluate our company’s potential in a new market, while avoiding common pitfalls that can cause new companies to struggle.” Goff, along with Nick Hughes, CFO, attended the 6-week series and, with the guidance from the e3 advisors, they have been able to align their product to solve specific customer problems and identify risks to their business model. Goff added, “This information will position our company for success.”
HyQ Technologies is a wastewater recycling equipment manufacturer and service provider focused on reclaiming wastewater streams, such as oilfield produced water, into distilled water and a concentrated waste stream. “The e3 program is an on point, top notch program for startups,” said Jared Boehs, CEO and co-founder. “The intentional instruction, coursework and professional advice will keep startups focused and on track to achieve their goals. e3 is the first tool for any startup in moving their business forward.”
Rabble is an online marketplace consolidating independent service providers. The initial rollout was to target the events industry, but the ongoing COVID pandemic caused a pivot in the business model, and Rabble is currently moving into the real estate services space. In that space, real estate agents and home buyers deal with a fragmented market of home inspectors, appraisers, electricians, roofers, pool providers and movers. Rabble’s marketplace allows agents to see fixed pricing and availability online and allows consumers to process transactions without providing cash or checks to each of the vendors associated with the home purchase.
”The e3 program forced us to define, evaluate and receive feedback from our target customers, eliminating some of the pitfalls of the traditional build-measure-learn feedback loop,” said Brendon Quick, COO of Rabble.
Genevieve Quick, Director of Marketing, and Brandon Waghorne, CEO, joined Brendon during the program where they learned through the e3 process valuable insights into the needs of their target demographic. They were able to determine that their initial target market was not willing to pay for the technology, saving the founders time and resources. Brandon added that through e3 they were able to identify the true economic buyer in the model and it changed their mentality on how to approach product development and to share those insights with their channel partner.
We look forward to seeing these startups grow into successful Oklahoma businesses and by being a part of our 32nd e3 cohort, they are ahead of the game.
If you are thinking of starting a scalable company, we hope you consider our e3 program. Visit www.i2e.org/e3 to see how we can help.