10X Tuesday: Startup Accelerator Mentors New Class of Entrepreneurs

The 10X Startup Accelerator is developing its fourth group of entrepreneurs. Since 2011, the accelerator is bringing together various community groups to create an unparalleled mentorship network for startups. During the 10-week program, entrepreneurs learn the ins and outs of what it takes to create a successful company, while receiving early-stage funding and access to mentors knowledgeable in all different areas of business.

“The community has a vibrant ecosystem for tech startups,” says Brooke Paul, Founders Factory Partner. The Founders Factory is just one of the many community groups that come together to support the 10X. TechColumbus, Columbus 2020 and The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business also sponsor the program.

Startups in the 10X classes have evolved over time.  The first class was composed of a variety of companies, while the second and third focused on IT startups. With the fourth, the accelerator is testing different kinds of companies, looking for those that can make the biggest impact in Columbus.

“What can we do in Columbus? Why do people want to start a business in Columbus?” Paul asks.

Organizers defined four business areas that they used to select the current class – big data & analytics, educational technology, retail & logistics and cyber security.

“We’re not afraid to invest in people with just ideas,” says 10X Program Manager, Michael Schott. However, the program looks for business that are scaleable, meaning they have good potential for economic growth.

The accelerator accepts businesses from outside of Central Ohio, but entrepreneurs must be located in the area for the duration of the program. All of the teams work together in an office space at TechColumbus.

During the 10-week program, teams can expect abundant networking opportunities. 10X offers access to over 100 mentors and advisers through a variety of events and workshops. Each week teams attend two to four workshops either individually or grouped with other startups. Mentors will offer their expertise in everything from sales to PR to technology and legal advice. The accelerator is designed to cover all aspects an entrepreneur should be versed in to start and run a company.

The teams are tight-knit, sometimes coaching each other through the process. The program includes built-in time where teams can talk about what they learned each week, where they are headed and seek the advice of other groups.

After speaking with the current class of entrepreneurs, one thing is clear. The networking and mentorship opportunities have proven invaluable to every team.

This year’s class is looking to add to the 27 teams that have received $750,000 in investments, with $11 million in follow-up investments.

For the next three weeks we’ll highlight the startups growing through the help of the 10X program.

10x-DigitalKeysLEAPIN Digital Keys

This Australian-based company was created when Founder Steve Dunn turned the problem into the solution. While living in a permanent rental in a hotel, Dunn continued to be locked out of his room when his cellphone demagnetized his key-card.

LEAPIN digital key technology provides users with a time-sensitive code delivered via mobile app to be entered on a keypad, instead of using a lock and key or key-card. Dunn has found hotels to be a viable market, testing the technology at different locations in Australia. The technology is more convenient, secure – codes only work for a guest’s scheduled stay – and about the tenth of a price of traditional hospitality key-card systems.

From the other side of the world, Dunn learned about 10X through an international accelerator website, fs6.com. Since starting the program, Dunn says, “The connections here are incredible.”

To learn more, visit digitalkeys.org.


Another international team is participating in 10X after also finding information on fs6.com. Adham  Ghazali and the Imagry team came from Israel to develop an image-based shopping platform.

Imagry uses image recognition to visually search online indexed images for similar items. Consumers take a picture of an item they want to buy, use that image to run a search, and receive results indicating where they can purchase it.

“It’s the invisible link between offline products and online retailers,” Ghazali says. He sees it as a way consumers can find products on the go.

After five weeks of the accelerator, Gahazali echoed other’s sentiments, “The most valuable asset is mentors.”

Imagry will soon deploy their mobile application for customer use. For more information, visit facebook.com/imagry.

10x-MoveEZMove Easy

Venkatesh Ganapathy’s own adventures in moving inspired him to stat Move Easy. Comparing quotes and constant calls from movers made the process less than enjoyable, so Ganapathy found a way to streamline the process for both sides.

Move Easy allows consumers to compare quotes from different moving companies. Consumers only have to provide their information once, instead of filling out information request forms on several different sites. Once their information is entered, users compare quotes and set up appointments with trusted moving companies. Ganapathy says all companies must meet certain criteria, including being licensed and insured. The process also validates information for the moving company providing them with legitimate leads.

Through the program, Ganaptahy says he has received helpful feedback about his site. Also, “I’ve made some amazing connections,” he says, mentioning the sheer number of people he has met in a short amount of time.

To learn more, visit moveez.com.

Stay tuned for profiles of the seven additional teams in the accelerator!

For more information on 10X, visit 10xelerator.com.