HTR starts accelerator program for software developers

December 7, 2012

High Tech Rochester starts new accelerator program for software developers looking to commercialize their concepts

Modeled after the highly successful Lean LaunchPad program developed at Stanford University and funded locally by a grant from the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, the HTR LaunchPad is unique to upstate New York and is accepting applications

A “new media” application*:  every software developer has one in the works, so the question is, how to make it commercially successful?

This is one of the questions the new HTR LaunchPad will address in its first program, beginning in February of 2013.  The program is for software and web-based teams and entrepreneurs developing new software applications for new media:  internet-based systems, mobile apps, and enterprise software products including those for smart phones, portable web-based devices, more traditional markets and technologies, larger scale enterprise IT, and “cloud” computing.  

Program participants might be teams or individuals firmly established in the software business and have new software they want to commercialize. Or, teams might comprise recent graduates just starting out. Or anyone in-between, “yet all could likely benefit from experienced advisors and additional resources for bringing their concepts to the marketplace,” says program director Mike Riedlinger, HTR’s Program Manager of Technology Commercialization.  “By using the HTR LaunchPad approach, a start-up team learns what needs to be done to address specific customer needs, rapidly adapt to market requirements and build viable business models to make money from their venture. “

“Having seen the success of the Lean LaunchPad program in Silicon Valley, I’m delighted to bring these lessons learned to our greater Rochester community,” he adds.  “This is not a traditional classroom program—it is an intensive, action-oriented workshop requiring development of working prototypes and first-hand customer interviews to refine and validate ideas for new products and services. “

The HTR LaunchPad provides support for up to ten start-up companies with one year of advisory services and access to HTR’s incubation facilities, including an initial 12-week program.   HTR will also connect the selected teams with regional business vendors, professional advisors, and engineering resources for rapid development and market testing.   

Working closely with the participating teams will be “successful serial entrepreneurs, seed-stage venture capitalists, software engineering and business experts who’ll provide one-on-one mentorship and support,” says Mikael Totterman, an HTR LaunchPad advisory board member.  Totterman is a co-founder of VirtualScopics, iCardiac, and Innovocracy.org  

“There has been a fundamental re-thinking in recent years about how startup creations can be accelerated and entrepreneurial eco-systems strengthened,” said Alex Zapesochny, a serial entrepreneur and member of the HTR LaunchPad advisory board.  “This program will provide the tools and support necessary for our area to keep developing as a national center of innovation and entrepreneurship.” 

In addition, teams will have access to technical resources and potential partners in the New Media industry. 

“Thanks to a grant from the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, HTR has developed this new program which we believe will benefit the Rochester community in the way of new and successful businesses and the economic benefits that come with them,” says HTR President James Senall. “The mission of the HTR LaunchPad is consistent with HTR’s larger mission of commercializing innovative technology developed in the Rochester area and helping entrepreneurs create successful and profitable ventures.”

Program Schedule

Participating teams will meet one afternoon a week during the 12-week program, beginning on Friday, February 22, 2013. Investor presentations and demo days will be held in Rochester and New York City in June.

In addition to the 12-week program, entrepreneurs and teams will benefit from nine additional months of support through HTR’s Entrepreneur Affiliate program, which provides each software participant with access to HTR’s mentors, business advisors, and business support services at the Lennox Technology Enterprise Center in Henrietta.

How to Apply

There is no fee for participation, but only those entrepreneurial teams that are passionate, motivated, and open to the possibilities of adapting their business concepts as they progress will be selected. Up to 10 teams will be selected. Teams should have their software ideas at or near the prototype stage by the time the program begins.

Applications are available at  http://htr.org/htr-launchpad The deadline for submitting an application is January 25, 2013.  Entrepreneurs and teams selected for the program will be notified in early February, 2013. 

*New Media - on-demand access to content anytime, anywhere, on any digital device, as well as interactive user feedback, creative participation and community formation around the content.  Most technologies described as "new media" are digital, often having characteristics of being manipulated, networkable, dense, compressible, and interactive. In the Greater Rochester area, if a developer is serious about commercializing his “new media app” – or any other kind of app – HTR LaunchPad is the place to start.

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High Tech Rochester (www.htr.org) is a non-profit catalyst for entrepreneurship and innovation-based growth, helping high-tech start-ups successfully launch their companies and existing manufacturing companies increase their revenues and profits.

Media Contact:  Bob Loeb, 214-2424 bob.loeb@htr.org