Local startup BYBE is spending the summer in Minneapolis as a part of the Target + Techstars Retail Accelerator. It’s the second accelerator for the technology platform that’s focused on the underserved market of alcohol rebates.
Founders Drew Knight and Ryan Moore initially took the startup through the first run of Columbus’ own Lumos Accelerator.
“Lumos did a really good job of refining our business, setting up our strategy,” Moore says.
The retail focus of the Techstars accelerator brought the founders back for another period of rapid business building.
It’s the second year for the Target-Techstars partnership. BYBE is one of 10 startups included in the class which sourced businesses from around the globe, from India to New York City. Techstars runs a number of programs that support startups including Startup Week and Startup Weekend, as well as a number of other accelerators.
Moore is excited about what the niche-focus will mean for BYBE’s business.
“Everybody that’s here is all focused on changing retail,” he says.
CEO-level executives at Target, to entrepreneurs and investors serve as mentors during the three-month program. During the first month, BYBE will spend time meeting with 150 plus possible mentors to narrow the field down to five or six before month two – the weeks dedicated to refining the product and business. Month three is dedicated to learning how to deliver the BYBE message before a Demo Day on October 11 to wrap up the accelerator.
What BYBE asks for during that Demo Day will depend on how the rest of their time at the Techstars accelerator goes.
The platform has already seen a slight pivot in-between accelerators. At the end of Lumos, BYBE was zeroed in on its app and the trend of digital rebates. Now the business is going after retailers.
“We enable retailers to actually include beer, wine and spirit digital rebates inside their mobile apps and websites,” Moore says.
BYBE is already developing partnerships with retailers, and how far they get with their current retail partners will determine if they fundraise on Demo Day, or steer the startup towards another ask.
Going into the accelerator, BYBE has also rounded out its team with two developers. Moore brings a background in retail, and Knight, in alcohol distribution, but developers Kevin Mack and Kevin McCartney bring technical expertise to the team.
Moore says only a few weeks in, they’ve seen excitement around BYBE’s technology. It often comes with a learning curve about the regulations surrounding alcohol sales, the problem, and how BYBE is the solution.