Funding is just one piece of the startup puzzle. A lot has to happen before funding should really even be addressed, and, there’s much to consider after. Columbus-based crowdfunding platform Fundable found themselves to be in the middle of this startup chain of command.
Since its inception in May of 2012, “We’ve helped raise over $150 million in startup funding,” says Founder Wil Schroter. However in speaking with folks, “We found that most people just weren’t ready to raise money.” Whether they didn’t have a business plan, initial customers or the mentors to help them develop their idea, there was a large pocket of people who wanted to take advantage of the platform but couldn’t. And thus, Startups.Co was born.
“We said what if we could start something to help these folks with each of these processes,” Schroter, now Startup.Co founder & CEO, says of the new platform’s inspiration.
Startups.Co umbrellas six sites each serving a different purpose for startups that, together, can take a business from idea all the way to launch.
The first step was to create BizPlan.com, which, as is evident by the name, helps people build business plans.
“We then bought three companies last year,” Schroter says, each adding another element to assist startups.
The first, Launchrock, assists with acquiring customers.
“Launchrock has helped over 300,000 companies to build their first page and start reaching out to early customers,” Schroter says. Landing pages help a business capture their idea, present it to the public and gauge interest.
Next a business might interact with KillerStartups.
As the largest startup review website with 90,000 businesses evaluated to date, “We could help startups get their first bit of press,” Schroter says.
With interest garnered, a startup would finally be ready to seek funding with Fundable. The crowdsourcing platform will retain it’s model, as will the other platforms, but be working in tandem with the multiple branches of Startups.Co.
A recent acquisition of Clarity.fm brings mentors to the mix.
“Clarity is the largest network of startup mentors,” Schroter says. Connecting founders with founders, an entrepreneur picks any subject they want and the platform helps them coordinate with an expert that will get on the phone and walk them through whatever challenge they have. And for $167 a minute, that advice can even come from Mark Cuban.
Finally there’s the website that brings it all together – Starups.Co. In addition to its cohesive job, the site also offers content and advice for startups.
“All the different sites will be able to talk to each other and help each other,” Schroter says.
The venture is not exclusive with the types of startups it aims to help, either.
“We’re not simply focused on helping traditional technology startups, but our platform is heavily used by small business owners of all types,” Schroter adds.
Since its inception the site has been posting some impressive numbers. Across all platforms, 825,000 startups have signed up with an estimated 15,000 being added each month. It’s also garnered global attention with 40 percent of the individuals they help being located outside of the U.S.
Schroter says the sizzling reception is due to the rapid growth rate and expanding interest in entrepreneurship.
“Entrepreneurship has become an actual career path,” he says. More and more people are looking at self employment, whether it’s freelancing or owning their own business, as their preferred career path. As working for a big company is no longer the status symbol it once was, Schroter predicts entrepreneurship will only continue to grow.
For more information, visit startups.co.