John Richards, Founder of BoomStartup
It was recently announced that Utah is getting its own technology startup incubator called BoomStartup. The program, founded by Utah angel investor John Richards, is a seed capital and mentor-focused investment program for web and software start-ups based in Utah. We caught up with John to discuss his vision for starting the program and how it all works.
What is BoomStartup?
Boomstartup (www.boomstartup.com) is a mentorship-driven investment program modeled after the highly success programs around the country such as TechStars (www.techstars.org). The program provides exciting tech entrepreneurial teams and ideas with capital, deep mentoring, and free office space and amenities that allow them to bring new companies to market.
Why did you found BoomStartup?
It was high time for Utah to get its own program like this. Programs similar to this have proven successful (see http://www.readwriteweb.com/start/2010/03/techstars-historical-results-data.php). All of us involved want to give back to the community, help great entrepreneurs, and participate in the ecosystem in an effective manner.
What’s happening in Utah’s technology scene that made you feeling like it was ready for a program like this?
Utah has a fertile tech entrepreneurship status, and it is rich in legacy and even richer in potential, growth, and the future. Witnessing the incredible story of Omniture, for instance, inspired many of us at BoomStartup, in this economy, to help a new set of motivated entrepreneurs build the next great Omniture, but to do it even bigger and better.
You are focusing on Web and software companies, what is it that you are seeing in this sector that makes them easy to scale?
The market rewards enterprise, B2C, Web/SaaS, and mobile software companies with extraordinary multiples. These businesses scale because they need a relatively low amount of capital to produce a high margin, significant revenue base. That translates to excellent exits (harvest) for investors. The kinds of jobs these companies create tend to be jobs where people earn a living wage.
What can selected companies expect to be gain be joining the program?
Participant companies will receive up to $15,000 in cash in exchange for a small percentage of the company (6-10%), world-class mentoring, fantastic office space, expanded networking, access to the financial world, and a host of side benefits.
What are the requirements for each applying company?
The companies should have a great idea and great team, balanced with both adept business folks and technically-skilled software coders. The top coder should be a founder, with at least 20% ownership. Each team needs to be able to do this full-time during the three-month program (May-August). The deadline to apply is April 16, 2010.
In addition to your investor-mentors, will you have another group of mentors to support the companies?
Yes, we will have dozens of other mentors who will graciously give their time to mentor the participant companies. This will be in almost every imaginable field of expertise relevant to such companies. This is going to be unprecedented for Utah.