As part of the Stronger Together series, we are taking a closer look at the impact of the interwoven startup ecosystem that UP Global and Techstars work within. Together, our now united organizations work to accelerate the pace of innovation and empower entrepreneurs to build companies that change the world.
In this series we’ll spotlight teams who have been a part of both UP Global programs and Techstars to explore the impact the integration of both programs has had or is having on their entrepreneurial journey.
Entrepreneurial journeys are not linear. When the organizer of Startup Weekend Salt Lake City asked local entrepreneur Bubba Page to participate as a mentor, Bubba accepted.
He would gladly offer his experience from several startups back to the community. The furthest thing in Bubba’s mind that night was pitching a new idea. He pitched on a whim — and won. He also wasn’t thinking he’d ever be in a pre-accelerator program like Startup Next, but he applied and was accepted.
There are a lot of unexpected — seemingly random things that can happen along an entrepreneur’s journey — if you are open to them.
Bubba Page recently took some time to discuss his Startup Next and Techstars experience and the impact both had on his company QuotaDeck.
Did you find any Startup Next sessions more valuable than any others?
For me, the whole Next program was eye-opening. I mean to do the market research, and to talk about the business model, the customer use case, every single thing was valuable to me and I loved it. I seriously loved it because those are things that you as a startup founder typically don’t take the time to do, and it was so much better to have a program guide me through.
Did you get anything from Startup Next that you didn’t expect?
Sometimes when things are hard, and you’re the founder with a million things to do — the hardest thing ends up being the last one you do. And so I feel like the Next program gave me the accountability that I needed to say “Hey, they’re going to check in with you at the end of this week, so you better have something figured out.”
What would you say to someone with a business idea and a team, who is considering either an accelerator or a program like Startup Next?
I would say do both, I don’t think it’s about one or the other. I think of Startup Next like it positions itself, as a pre-acceleration program. I received the time, instruction, mentorship, advising, and ability to practice — which are what you need as a startup in the early days. I think all the feedback in a program like Next definitely had something to do with me getting into Techstars.
Did Startup Next help QuotaDeck find funding?
We got started fundraising just right out of Techstars, and the Next program team did a phenomenal job of making introductions for us to key players. Especially when I was out in New York City, Startup Next was able to make some fantastic intros to key venture firms that we might be potentially doing business with in this current round we’re raising. The lessons learned, the connections that were made, the practice that I got as I went and talked to all these different firms because of the Next program are invaluable. I think people underestimate the power of your network, and having a network like Next behind you and your company can add extreme value that you cannot foresee, so you just don’t know what kind of value it can bring until you’re in it and you have it.
Next provided me with the opportunities after their program to build relationships with not only seed investors, but with later stage investors too. I mean, in a year, QuotaDeck raised our seed round that very well could have taken two or three years.
Any advice you would have for aspiring founders?
If you want something like this to come to fruition, you’ve got to work your butt off for it. I would also say you miss 100-percent of the shots you don’t take. A lot of people just don’t take the chance, they just tell themselves “No I’m not going to make it in, I can’t do that, or I can’t do this,” and then they never try. What I’ve found is that I just put myself out there — and I’m okay if I fail.
Because of that we learn all kinds of stuff like, “Who knows what we’ll win next?” and “Who knows what investor we’ll meet next? Who knows what company we’ll land as a customer?” All that just because we were willing to take the shots, and we are okay if we fail. Failure to me is good, it helps you to learn and grow.
Learn more about QuotaDeck.