March 2017 Newsletter

As we complete the first quarter of 2017, Traxion has a number of initiatives underway to support the startup community in Golden and greater Jefferson County. 

Supporting Product Development and Go-to-Market Strategies

We are now working closely with two companies from our Fall 2016 cohort, Phoncert and Cobio, to prepare them to complete product development.

Phoncert has developed the technology platform for independent musicians to record and archive live performances, and provide subscription access for the artists’ fans. 

Unlike most streaming services, the business model is heavily focused on providing musicians with an additional source of earnings. 

Once the technology platform development is completed, the company will sign up a limited number of bands and subscribers to demonstrate proof-of-concept before seeking first round financing.

Cobio has licensed the patented technology from the School of Mines to rapidly detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  The company’s first product will be the detection of MRSA in domesticated animals. 

The initial work will be laboratory R&D and will then move on to pre-production.  We believe the time frame to market is 15-18 months.


Partnering with Colorado School of Mines

We are also continuing to build our strategic partnership with the Colorado School of Mines, which is working to strengthen entrepreneurship in their curriculum and through additional programs.  Three of the companies in the 2016 program have direct ties to Mines.
 
As part of this effort, Traxion is teaching a six-week course for the winning teams in the Newmont Challenge, a program funded by Newmont Mining Corporation that engages student teams to develop solutions to real industry problems in mineral mining and oil and gas. 

We are using a condensed version of our accelerator curriculum to help the student teams refine their initial proposals and present in mid-April with the chance to win $25,000 that can be used to start a company.
 
In addition, Traxion is providing mentorship to a Senior Design Project team and other entrepreneurial efforts initiatives at Mines. We are highly energized by our ongoing collaboration with one of the world’s leading research institutions!


Save the Date
April 13th - Newmont Mining Innovation Challenge Awards

5:30pm - 7:30pm at the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum


Calling All Startups!

We are now soliciting applications for the Fall 2017 program.  If you know of any startup companies that might benefit by being part of an accelerator, please refer their founder to our website at traxion.co

Apply

If you or someone you know is interested in supporting our growing startup community, or if you have any other questions, comments or suggestions, please email us at info@traxion.co or call 888-520-7776.
 

February 2017 Newsletter

 

Traxion is excited to be entering its second year of operation.  We have a number of initiatives underway to support the startup community in Golden and greater Jefferson County. 
 

Traxion views itself as a “venture catalyst”, with programs designed to enlist the full strength of community resources in support of newly established companies. 


Our program is anchored by a 10-week accelerator curriculum that combines participative classroom work with high levels of personal interaction in a highly collaborative environment.  

First Accelerator Program Completed!

We completed our first 10-week accelerator program with five startup companies, and were able to help all of the companies refine their business plans, obtain critical feedback from potential customers and build their financial models. 

Calling All Startups!

We are now soliciting applications for the Fall 2017 program.  If you know of any startup companies that might benefit by being part of an accelerator, please refer their founder to our website at traxion.co

Apply

In completing our first year, we were fortunate to have such high levels of support from so many people in the local community who strengthened the quality of the accelerator program and directly helped the companies.  We are continuing to look for local entrepreneurs and executives willing to serve as faculty, advisors, mentors or speakers.
 
If you or someone you know is interested in supporting our growing startup community, or if you have any other questions, comments or suggestions, please email us at info@traxion.co or call 888-520-7776.
 
Thank you to everyone who made our first year a success – and will continue to support the creation of a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Golden and Jefferson County.  

Getting Your Startup to the Starting Line

For many DU graduates, starting a new business is the preferred path for combining classroom learning with specific industry expertise to create a new product or service that fills a customer need with a better solution.  The rewards of entrepreneurship are well-publicized and frequently glamorized – but the reality of transforming an idea into a company can be more challenging and time-consuming than originally envisioned.

Based on lessons from successful startups, steps that can help aspiring DU entrepreneurs include:

  1. Make your idea specific – clearly define the product or service so that a potential customer or investor understands exactly what you’re proposing, (A “new app that will revolutionize retail” isn’t specific).
  2. Define the market – who’s the most likely buyer? (It can’t be everyone).
  3. What specific need are you filling or what problem are you solving? (Make sure you’re looking through the eyes of a customer rather than your own).
  4. What competition exists? (Even if you think your idea is completely new, there’s probably a company already offering a product to your target market, even if it’s not exactly like yours).
  5. What price do you expect a customer to pay – and based on what research? Can you define the value to the customer that supports your proposed price?
  6. What percentage of the market or how many customers are needed to succeed? (If you need 50% of the market, it’s not likely)
  7. What resources, team, technology and marketing will be needed to turn your idea into a company?

While the founders of Facebook and Apple arguably created demand for something that didn’t exist, most startups succeed by identifying a specific market need that isn’t being met, or being able to service an existing need at a lower price.

The building blocks of the DU curriculum prepare graduates for success in a number of fields, but putting all the ingredients together in a recipe that bakes a successful startup can require additional expertise – or access to people who have already been down the same road.

For some entrepreneurs, an “accelerator” provides the dynamic environment that lets them put the pieces together in an intensive short-term program that offers high levels of mentor support, a curriculum specifically tailored to the needs of a startup and access to industry experts who can validate a market need or suggest an effective pivot.   Typically, the accelerator’s goal is to help the startup team develop a complete business plan for presentation to potential investors – and hopefully secure funding that will let them bring their product to market.

Traxion, a new business accelerator in Golden, is now soliciting applications from all types of non-manufacturing startups, with a preferred focus on Technology, Environment and Energy.

Participation will require 12 weeks of dedicated immersion in the program starting in late August.  A funding stipend to cover short-term development expenses will be provided.

Entrepreneurs with a business idea, team and preliminary market analysis interested in working with Traxion, can learn more now.

 

About the Author: Bud Rockhill provides hands-on support to mid market companies as an advisor or Board member to improve sustainable profitability and scale through management processes, organizational design or infrastructure. He has been the CEO, President or owner of four companies in three industries over the last 25 years, and three of the companies he has led have been sold to outside investors.

News Letter 4/22

“Harnessing the power of community”

is Traxion’s tag line and it certainly is a great description of our first four months.  We set out to create Traxion because we believe in entrepreneurship and in Golden.  In addition to the considerable work put into forming and launching the accelerator, we have spent a good deal of time talking to successful entrepreneurs, educators and business leaders in the local community.  One of the most energizing aspects of this venture is being a catalyst for the startup community. Golden has a vast amount of talented resources throughout the community and we are doing as much as we can to connect those resources.

"Golden has a vast amount of talented resources"

Chris Cone and Jen Thoemke founded Traxion LLC January 2016 with a desire to bring a business accelerator to Golden and greater Jefferson County. Chris and Jen met through the City of Golden’s Economic Development Commission (EDComm) and share a passion for establishing a business accelerator in their hometown. 

Traxion’s philosophy is that great companies are built by great people and that great people are developed by a community providing the critical support needed for an individual to realize more of their true human potential. 

Business accelerators and incubators are taking root in many communities across the world, including several in the state of Colorado. However, there was an obvious lack of accelerator programs in Golden and the surrounding areas.  We are structured around a traditional accelerator business model. The basic function of an accelerator is to provide early-stage companies with the infrastructure required to efficiently start-up and to create value in a condensed period of time. An accelerator typically runs over several months and includes a highly targeted startup business educational program and connections to experienced mentors. In addition to infrastructure and mentorship, accelerator funds typically invest a seed amount of capital (under $50,000) for a non-controlling interest in the company. Accelerator returns are generated by driving value in the portfolio companies with the goal of securing follow-on investment at the end of the program. Accelerator investments are typically long-term.

Traxion’s first accelerator program begins on August 29, 2016 and will run for 12-weeks. The program begins with a 1-week intensive "Startup Boot Camp" and ends with follow-on investor meetings in November. The accelerator companies will operate out of a beautiful new 3rd floor location in the Armory building in downtown Golden. We plan to have between 4 and 8 companies in this first cohort. We are currently working with several entrepreneurs to participate in this initial class and we are actively seeking other companies to apply to our fall program.

We are in a rapidly changing world. Our entire industry model is changing. The dream of starting a business is more tangible now than ever.  That does not make it any easier.

There is a cost to stepping out on your own.

It is risky, costly and lonely at times. 

Traxion exists to help mitigate these costs.

Business Den Article

http://www.businessden.com/2016/03/06/golder-co-working-owner-seeks-to-add-accelerator/

"A Golden entrepreneur doesn’t think Boulder should have the lock on small business incubators.

Connects Workspace founder Jen Thoemke left a career in the mortgage industry to open her first co-working location last June and since has added two more locations within walking distance.

Now she wants to launch an accelerator program this summer, complete with mentoring from fellow entrepreneurs, angel funding and shared offices a la Techstars in Boulder.

Like the co-working space, she said the accelerator – called Traxion – would aim to connect local companies to nearby resources."