Cohort Startup Stories | Evisort’s Experience So Far

The BridgeCommunity by Coca-Cola is unlike any program we have worked with before. It is tailored specifically to ensure startup success with its affiliated companies. This is achieved through startup friendly policies on financing, organization, and ongoing support.

Unlike conferences that charge steep prices for booths or accelerators which often require startup equity or fees, BridgeCommunity does not impose financial commitments. In fact, BridgeCommunity has been a financial boon for our startup. Their lodging and travel reimbursements have allowed us to come to Atlanta to work on deals.

Organizationally, the BridgeCommunity commercialization program is unique due to the clarity of its goal – to set up deals between startups and large Atlanta-based enterprises. BridgeCommunity has a laser focus on cultivating pilots and demos for the startups involved by introducing them to decision makers who are excited to adopt emerging technologies. Any programming that is not directly tied to putting startup founders in front of stakeholders at large companies is extremely limited. The 2-day onsite sales seminar is a great example. Instead of a typical week-long sales seminar, our class was focused on how each individual startup in the cohort could best leverage their opportunities with particular companies in the program. The condensed nature of the seminar showed us that the program was sensitive to the time-crunched nature of startups -providing a lot of value in a small period of time. The BridgeCommunity also works on training the large enterprises in the program, ensuring that their contracts are shortened and their engagement processes are simplified.

Lastly, when it comes to ongoing support, BridgeCommunity has found a perfect balance. Although there are pre-organized connect days with affiliated companies, the program is by no means restrictive. Startups have free reign to engage with partner companies in any way that we find productive. On several occasions we had already pitched a demo to a company by the time we met for their scheduled Connect Days. BridgeCommunity understands that what startups need is an opportunity to get in front of a receptive business leader, and after that they get out of the way. However, if there is any confusion after a meeting or if a lead goes silent inexplicably, the BridgeCommunity team is at the ready to step in and get things back on track. This saves us a lot of nervous hand wringing when a deal goes off course. The program’s approach also relieves many issues around timing and power imbalances that can arise from engagement between massive enterprises and small startups.

Author, Memme Onwudiwe, is a JD Candidate at Harvard Law School and Executive Vice President of Evisort Inc. – a 2018 cohort startup focused on Artificial intelligence for contracts

11 Startups Accepted into the BridgeCommunity’s 2018 Accelerator Cohort!

The BridgeCommunity founded by Coca-Cola is a unique nurturing and commercialization program that connects early-stage tech startups with global corporations. Today the program is announcing the 11 startups joining their third North American cohort.

The program is designed to engineer and accelerate startup and corporate relationships. Startups receive world-class enterprise sales, marketing, and negotiations training to understand corporate innovation needs. Corporations are coached on minimizing roadblocks to streamline pilots and simplify contracts, and then the BridgeCommunity team makes targeted introductions and mediates relationships.

As a part of their commitment to developing the Atlanta startup ecosystem, the commercialization program cultivates local startups, draws national startups, provides actionable education to both partners, and supports local community initiatives to help raise the technical skill level in Atlanta from high-school onwards.

This year’s corporate roster adds MailChimp to the lineup from 2017, including Capgemini, Coca-Cola, COX Enterprises, Porsche Cars North America and SunTrust Bank.

Starting this month, 11 startups will gain access to this heavy-hitting list of corporations motivated to build relationships, run pilots, and enter licensing agreements during the six-month program based in Atlanta. Get to know the incoming startups!

  • MoQuality (Atlanta) is a self-learning artificial intelligence that tests mobile apps better than humans
  • BigTeam (Atlanta) brings seamless feedback to companies and networks
  • Evisort (Boston) is artificial intelligence for contracts
  • Inspector 6 (Atlanta) is an AI-powered brand analytics tool
  • Graph Story (Memphis) offers graph databases as a service
  • Fyiio (Omaha) is a tutorial management platform for creating guides that work
  • Filtered.Ai (Boston) is a platform to hire technical talent on ability not on resumes
  • Pass It Down (Chattanooga) is a digital storytelling platform innovating how cities tell their story
  • NeuroLex (Atlanta) empowers patients with tools to measure their overall health through collecting and analyzing speech samples
  • Sidewalk (Chicago) helps tech companies and lifestyle brands close more sales to SMBs
  • Aquagenuity (Atlanta) provides easy access to real-time water quality data

If you’re interested in meeting these innovators, keep an eye out for the Atlanta Corporate Innovation Summit in mid-October, where our 2018 cohort startups will be highlighted. Also, stay abreast of cohort growth, news, and piloting victories in the program by reading our monthly newsletter. Want a direct intro to one of them? Email trish@bridgecommunity.com

Looking for Startups to Work with Motivated Corporations in 2018

The BridgeCommunity, founded by Coca-Cola, has opened the startup application for our 3rd North American cohort. Applications are due March 21st – https://www.f6s.com/atlantabridgecommunity2018/apply

From May-Oct, chosen cohort startups will receive enterprise sales, marketing and sales training to understand corporate innovation needs and hone offerings to create pilots and POCs with Capgemini, Coca-Cola, Cox Enterprises, MailChimp, Porsche North America and SunTrust Bank.

This year the corporations are specifically looking for startups (B2B or B2B2C with a product ready to sell to an enterprise) in these areas:

  • Supply Chain
  • Fleet Management
  • Logistic Services Automation
  • Precision Marketing and Mix Modeling
  • AdTech and Media (specifically video, digital-enabled physical, AR/VR consumer experiences)
  • E-commerce (specifically technologies that anticipate the merging of B2B and B2C)
  • Back Office Automation
  • Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
  • Sustainability
  • Photo Recognition
  • Blockchain (specifically financial services contracts or any solution that helps a corporate unlock a new revenue stream)
  • Cybersecurity (specifically endpoint protection, awareness and preparedness)
  • FinTech (specifically Cryptocurrency)

APPLYhttps://www.f6s.com/atlantabridgecommunity2018/apply

Expect targeted introductions into major enterprises and relationship mediation. The program only requires a commitment, on average, of 2 hours per week from one person on the startup team and there is no equity or IP taken (or cash given) to startups.

This is an Atlanta based program and we cover the cost of travel for non-local startups (budget permitting). Of the 22 startups in the program last year, 10 were from outside of Atlanta.

Check out a 2017 pilot success story to get a taste of what we do. If you are not sure if you’re a fit or want to find out more, email our Program Director Carie@bridgecommunity.com

Program Outreach in the Atlanta Community

The BridgeCommunity Outreach Program is seeding the next set of future technology startups. By supplying technical, business, entrepreneurship and financial literacy training, the program is encouraging the creation of startup companies and promoting intrapreneurship in Atlanta communities that have traditionally been overlooked when growing and searching for skilled technical talent.

The Bridge by Coca-Cola began in 2014 as a collaboration between The Coca-Cola Company and the entrepreneurial tech community in Tel Aviv, Israel. In 2016 the program expanded to Atlanta, Georgia with a specific focus to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem through startup engagement, partnerships, a powerful corporate member-to-member network and a local community initiative to help raise the technical skill level from high school onwards. Since inception, 74 startups and 9 corporations – Capgemini, Coca-Cola, COX Enterprises, InterContinental Hotels Group, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche North America, SunTrust Bank, Turner, The Weather Company – have participated in the program.

Anthony Newstead, Co-Founder of The BridgeCommunity by Coca-Cola, and Valarie W. Mackey, Founder of WrightNow Solutions, coalesced the local nonprofit sector and BridgeCommunity member companies to create three Future Entrepreneurship Programs in 2017:

“I am so proud of what all the students have achieved during these courses. It has been incredibly rewarding to see them all grow and develop through our time together and I hope and believe we are seeing the next set of future Atlanta entrepreneurs in the making. I also want to thank our corporate members, our startups, CapTech, TAG-ED, Year Up, PowerMylearning, all our volunteers and of course our Outreach Lead, Valarie Mackey, all who collectively breathed life into this initiative, provided the resources and the passion to make this happen. This was truly a community effort that I am honored to be a part of.  I look forward to continuing the journey together.” – Anthony Newstead Global Group Director, Emerging Technology & Strategic Innovation, Co-Founder Atlanta BridgeCommunity

 

The High School Future Entrepreneurship Program is a four-week summer coding camp focused on front and backend web design and development, app design, 3D printing and graphical interface design, open to any 10th– 12th grade student attending a Title 1 Atlanta Public School.

Non-profit organizations, Technology Association of Georgia – Education Collaborative (TAG-Ed) and SteamSport, facilitated the summer camp. Kristina Smith, Exploring STEM Careers Pipeline Program Manager of TAG-Ed, created the application process and worked with schools to recruit the students. Kristina teamed up with William Oliver, Executive Director of SteamSport, to create the curriculum and run the camp. Instructor, Tony Tatum and Teaching Assistants – Sydney Hubbert, recent Spelman graduate; and Ashley McCray, recent Clayton State University graduate, taught the technical curriculum and shared life experiences with the students to support their personal growth.

Twenty students from nine different high schools completed the High School Future Entrepreneurship Program. Participants crafted a pitch for products or services each week – collectively coming up with more than thirty ideas over the course of the program. From solar panel blinds to a sneaker exchange app, the students presented the best of their ideas to an audience of city officials, venture capitalists, corporate partners and parents in a showcase event.

The camp was held at John Hopkins Community Center in Atlanta and featured Friday field trips to BridgeCommunity member corporations and startups to connect the camp curriculum to the real world.

Students visited BridgeCommunity startup, GridQuire Labs, where they learned from CEO, Andy Katz, new marketing tips and how to present an idea, both verbally and visually, to an audience of potential investors. “I have been an entrepreneur for over five years. Today was one of the top 10 days. Thank you for letting us host these wonderful, smart kids.” – Andy Katz, CEO GridQuire Labs

 

 

At The Weather Company, students were welcomed by Chris Huff, Executive/Head of Engineering – Waston Marketing, and team for a tour of their digital space followed by a Q&A panel focused on how The Weather Channel’s data supports commonly used apps, websites and products.

 

 

SunTrust hosted the final field trip, giving students an overview of the role that technology plays in the finance industry. After presentations from the Marketing, User Experience, and Design Accelerator groups; the students used their newfound user experience knowledge in a user experience design thinking exercise that tasked them with ideating and mocking up a personalized web experience.

 

 

Outside of field trips, the program enlisted the expertise of amazing professionals to visit the camp classroom and speak on various topics.

Michael Connor, Group Director of Commercial Software of Coca-Cola Freestyle, kicked things off with an engaging presentation and conversation about Artificial Intelligence.

 

 

 

 

Irvin Bishop, Global Digital Leader of Brands, Global Campaigns & Partnerships at Coca-Cola, taught the students about digital marketing and the importance of building your career from things that you are passionate and excited about.

 

 

 

 

Tonia Osby, Chief Operating Officer of BridgeCommunity cohort startup, PayLow Rate, conducted a fun and interactive exercise on User Interface Prototyping – introducing the students to a new UX Design app that they later utilized in prototyping their final products.

 

 

Andrew Gowasack, CEO of BridgeCommunity cohort startup, TrustStamp, spoke on the ever-important topic of social and professional networking while Heather Turney, Culture and Innovation Manager of ‎Porsche Cars North America, wowed the students with a presentation on public speaking. Both Andrew and Heather gave the students practical tips for establishing a professional presence.

 

Following the camp, students attended a business basics and life skills course held at The Coca-Cola Company’s Technology Offices.   

 

The Young Adult Future Entrepreneurship Program hand selected student alumni from Year Up workforce development training to learn Amazon Alexa voice programming on the Echo Dot, cloud skills and business basics. Over two and half months, student teams were charged with creating a new Alexa functionality.

CapTech Consulting, Inc. built the technical curriculum and generously taught the students pro-bono. The business basics classes for both the high school and young adult programs were taught by volunteers from area companies and our BridgeCommunity cohort member corporations and startups:

  • Dane Bamburry, Sr. Manager, Business Platform Services, Solutions Architecture & Systems Administration at Cox Enterprises, taught a class on negotiation techniques.  

“The Atlanta BridgeCommunity program is a positive disruptive force in the on-going challenge to develop the next STEM generation. I was honored to have the opportunity to engage with these intelligent young minds in a session focused on negotiations from a corporate and entrepreneur perspective. What impressed me the most was their level of engagement, innovative thought process, and drive which compelled me to attend their showcase presentation. The showcase far exceeded my expectations and I can say with a high-level of confidence that these students are well on their way to becoming major contributors in STEM field.” – Dane Bamburry, Sr. Manager, Business Platform Services, Solutions Architecture & Systems Administration at Cox Enterprises

  • In addition to hosting a field trip for the high school program, Andy Katz, Founder of GridQuire Labs – a member of the BridgeCommunity startup cohort, came back to teach the young adults about startup funding and sales.
  • DeWayne Griffin and Jeff Scott from State Farm spoke to the students about innovation trends and topped off their involvement by giving a book to each student as a gift for their completion of the program.  
  • Mark Labs CEO and Founder, Kevin Barrow, helped the group understand how to set up their business.  

The Future Entrepreneurship Program Showcase highlighted the young adult’s Alexa-centric business ideas. The winning team, myPulse, is a fitness app that gives a Fitbit user an activities overview with goal comparison and a detailed description of their heart rate with facts on how to improve heart health.

mypulse group members- Akilah Toomer, Laikram Beniprasa, Damian Deavila & Danny Kalika

 

 

 

 

“Thank you so very much for including Year Up students in the Young Adult Entrepreneurship Showcase at the Coca-Cola Company Headquarters. The event was absolutely amazing and our young adults learned many valuable lessons through their participation in the program. They are now thinking bigger about their future— not just a career, but possibly launching their own technology business one day in the future! What a great partnership… Year Up gets them started with a career and your program gets them started in business! This is truly a life-changing experience for our young adults and I do hope that the Atlanta BridgeCommunity will continue offering this opportunity for more of our students and young adults.” – Kim Williams, Executive Director, Year Up – Atlanta

 

The App Development Elective Class is a partnership between PowerMyLearning and Arthur M. Blank’s Family Foundation to run an app development elective class in Washington High School during the school day. There are approximately 20 students taking the class currently with capacity to teach 50 more students next semester.  

“It has been a privilege to come together with the Atlanta BridgeCommunity to create the overall Future Entrepreneurship Program. Being able to see the students on day one of the program with limited to no knowledge in the topic areas to being able to confidently pitch a viable product/solution is inspiring.  These are our next entrepreneurs and our next innovators taking companies to the next level.”  – Valarie W. Mackey, WrightNow Solutions

The BridgeCommunity Halo Effect

The BridgeCommunity is laser-focused on building relationships between corporations and startups. We measure our immediate success by the number of pilots, proofs of concept and licensing deals that close during the 6 months of our program.

But our program creates momentum beyond pilots.

Since April 2017 the BridgeCommunity’s 2017 startup cohort collectively:

  • Hired 54 new employees
  • Raised over $5M in venture capital funding
  • Increased month over month revenue by 57%*

*Four pre-revenue startups that reached revenue during the program are not included due to their infinite growth rate

Here are some other accomplishments and recognition our  2017 startup cohort received during their time in this year’s program:

Coca-Cola Pilots with Reply.ai to Drive Consumer Engagement in sub-Saharan Africa

Reply.ai, the AI-powered customer experience platform, has landed a pilot with Coca-Cola during their participation in The BridgeCommunity by Coca-Cola.

The startup enables businesses to scale personalized, 1:1 communication with their customers across messaging and voice channels, in any market or language, all while maintaining the highest security standards. Reply.ai works with Samsung, Kia, and Ryanair to facilitate their B2C communication via chatbots and is the only startup to make Forrester Research’s ranking of “Top 10 Chatbots for Enterprise Customer Support.”

Reply.ai became aware of the BridgeCommunity through an accelerator in the commercialization program’s referral network. Co-founder, Clara de Soto, joined the BridgeCommunity to expand her startup’s corporate network and put a framework around the corporate sales cycle Reply.ai was navigating on their own.

 

The workshops and toolkit the BridgeCommunity provided gave us a concrete look into the best way to get into enterprises, build a pilot, work through KPI’s and move into an agreement. We finally saw the process in black and white. – Clara de Soto, Co-founder, Reply.ai

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the BridgeCommunity’s Connect Days, each startup meets with interested corporate participants on their home turf to discuss piloting opportunities. For Coca-Cola the organization of the Sponsor Connect Days and the follow-up of connections made were organized by BridgeCommunity corporate member and Coca-Cola Consulting and Services Partner Capgemini, as part of a detailed startup engagement process they established this year, led by Todd Redmon (Principal & Client Partner, North America) and Adam Agnew (EVP & Global Client Partner for Coca-Cola), that was integral in helping to socialize and integrate BridgeCommunity startups into the organization.

Reply.ai’s meetings with Coca-Cola sparked immediate internal interest. Word spread that a bot startup had been hand selected to work with the company. When Coca-Cola’s West Africa Business Unit circulated they were looking to start a consumer engagement bot initiative, Reply.ai surfaced as an obvious option given their participation in the BridgeCommunity.

Our Corporate Connect Days were some of the best corporate meetings that we’ve ever had. It was clear all of the right people were in the room and we left with a stamp of approval internally. – Clara de Soto, Co-founder, Reply.ai

Waithera Kabiru, Digital Marketing Manager for Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa, is working with Repy.ai for Coca-Cola’s under the crown promotion in Mauritius, Africa. When a consumer buys a Coca-Cola product, they receive a unique code under the cap to redeem digital prizes from Coke’s flagship TV and Online show on the continent, Coke Studio Africa. This code unlocks access to exclusive music content that is teen-centric and uniquely African, packaged as playlists and ringback tones suitable for mobile consumption. In most sub-Saharan markets, code redemption relies on traditional mobile platforms such as SMS, which are expensive for consumers due to the long consumer journey. Through Reply.ai’s chatbot, Coca-Cola in Mauritius is able to create one-on-one meaningful engagements with consumers who participate in the promotion.

The chatbot experience is mostly guided, with the ability for users to ask open-ended questions about the redemption process and select from a menu of items, giving consumers more control over what they redeem than ever before. Reply.ai’s bot is being rolled out over Facebook Messenger, a fertile frontier in the sub-Saharan African market.

One of the most exciting things about this project is that though Mauritius is a small island, the impact of a Facebook Messenger chatbot can be enormous in terms of one-on-one engagement. For the 2017 Coke Studio Under the Crown Promotion, we took a mobile-first approach to provide a seamless experience for the consumers, on a platform (Facebook) that they spend a lot of time on.

 

Mauritius is home to 1.28 million people with a striking internet penetration rate of 63%. When Mauritians go online, 720K of them are monthly active users of Facebook, which is about 60% of the population of the island.* The chatbot from Reply.ai is the first step in providing a consumer driven experience. – Waithera Kabiru, Coca-Cola, Central, East and West Africa

Coca-Cola chose Reply.ai not only because of the seamless user experience, but also for their platform’s easy integration into all of the necessary internal systems and security requirements. Since inception, Reply.ai has been working to ensure their platform is as globally capable as possible – building in features so companies can scale bots across messaging channels and markets. A prudent decision, as Mauritius is just a part of Reply.ai’s redemption rollout.

Coca-Cola’s West Africa Business Unit is looking to expand it fairly swiftly across other markets as piloting benchmarks are hit, starting with Nigeria. Reply.ai has a code-free bot building interface so expansion is as easy as spinning up another account for the next market and customizing it.

 


*Source: Digital in 2017: Hootsuite We are Social

 

Verady Pivots to Launch Cryptocurrency Accounting and Audit Platform

Kell Canty and co-founder, Nathan Eppinger, have been in the blockchain space for a little over four years. In that time they built 2017 BridgeCommunity cohort startup, Verady, a platform that utilizes critical business information to power smart contracts in a private enterprise blockchain. While working through the program and customer interviews the team found their product’s complexity was making it difficult to describe, piloting was proving tough because of so many implementation points, and the year-and-a-half-long sales cycle was not sustainable.

Based on the BridgeCommunity education and exposure, the Verady team realized they had built the product offering of a big company with only the resources of a small company to make it a success. So the Verady team is pivoting back to a product they previously created, but did not find enough market appetite for at the time.

“Verady was super innovative, but it was a lot of innovation all at once and required a huge amount of buy-in. We’re sitting on a gem and need to focus on VeraNet.” – Kell Canty

In 2013, Kell and Nathan were approached by the largest independent Georgia-based accounting and auditing firm to assist with validating transactions and other key data on the blockchain. This came as part of completing certain required auditing procedures necessary to finalize an independent financial audit of a client whose business operated in cryptocurrency. The accounting firm did not have the tools to audit these bitcoin assets and the underlying transactions. Typically, auditors check with the financial institutions that enabled catalogued transactions to cross-reference records. In contrast, cryptocurrency transaction information is stored on the blockchain. It is accessible, but not easily available to anyone without a deep knowledge of how blockchain works, the technical infrastructure to run blockchain nodes, and the ability to program and produce reports.

While responding to a suite of specific procedures requests, Kell and Nathan developed and built-out a cryptocurrency auditing solution, that has been utilized by the accounting firm in subsequent audits.

After not discovering enough market appetite for the product in 2013, when the bitcoin market cap was around a billion dollars, Verady didn’t pursue scaling the solution. Today, there are dozens of cryptocurrencies and other types of block-chain assets and the market cap is close to $175 billion. Kell cites the incredible growth of the cryptocurrency market as a driving force for revisiting the auditing offering.

“We were dismissing a viable, money-making product in favor of something really cool technically, but without a single focus. We have a product with a track record as old as the market itself. When we ran the offering through our recent storytelling, sales and piloting education from the BridgeCommunity we realized we have an incredibly simple value proposition and no longer needed to wait for the general acceptance of bitcoin and blockchain in the general marketplace. It’s here.” –  Kell Canty.

The Verady team is solely focused on scaling the auditing service, which they have branded as VeraNet. Kell and Nathan are being approached by auditing/accounting firms and cryptocurrency hedge funds to partner and developing a general offering of the product in an easy to use and accessible network form.

Within the program, Verady has talked to SunTrust about offering consolidated reporting to the bank’s clients that hold cryptocurrency in their portfolios, and are circling back to the other corporations to discuss how Veranet can service their reporting needs as well.

Pivot Story: How One BridgeCommunity Startup Found a Bigger Problem to Solve

A startup in our current cohort is pivoting after a big opportunity revealed itself during a discussion with The Weather Company, a BridgeCommunity corporate member.

Convergent’s initial focus on rapid application prototyping in the cloud created a lot of initial interest from business leadership and first meetings, but tended to stall when IT people were brought in. But Tyler Johnson, Convergent’s CEO, realized there was a disconnect. Convergent’s main offering was essentially improving overall business agility. This sparked interest in business leadership, but not IT – the ones with budgets for technology, looking to solve narrow technical problems and more urgent issues.

Influencing organizational and budgetary issues within large enterprises as part of the sales process is simply too challenging for a startup. Tyler realized Convergent needed to pivot to a narrower, more clearly defined solution. Convergent’s conversation with The Weather Company, brokered through the BridgeCommunity, shed light on what that clearly defined solution could be.

The European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is giving Convergent a “hair-on-fire” corporate problem to tackle. With just 10 months before the enforcement date, this new European Union data privacy law is critical for every company with EU customers, as they will be liable for stiff new penalties of up to 4% of their global revenue.

By attaching policies and metadata to customer data, Convergent’s technology will now enable automation of data governance with policies driven by permissible use, consent, and other compliance data. This makes it possible to quickly, safely and cost effectively use personal data to create better, more personalized customer experiences. The best part was that there was minimal rework for Convergent. The pivot towards helping corporations comply with GDPR only required modest enhancements to Convergent’s existing technology stack.  

“With the pivot, we will be able to focus on a specific hair-on-fire problem where there is money already budgeted,” explains Johnson.

To uncover what subset of compliance problems to focus on, Convergent is currently conducting customer discovery interviews with teams in charge of ensuring GDPR compliance at BridgeCommunity member corporations.

 

3 Benefits of the BridgeCommunity Enterprise Network

Selling into a Fortune 500 is a ton of work. If you don’t have sales experience or a warm intro, it’s going to be like digging for gold. You have to search the web, flex your network, and look under hundreds of rocks before you meet the right person that can champion you into the company – especially as an early-stage startup.  Even after all that work, your contact can change roles or leave the company and then you have start all over!

Worse than rubbing elbows… corporations can be slow moving when it comes to cutting deals. As a startup, waiting for months or even years for the gig to land is a huge potential problem. We don’t have that kind of runway!

Since joining the BridgeCommunity we have been able to cut out both the introduction merry-go-round, and the drag-your-feet nature of corporate negotiations.

 

Here’s three of the biggest benefits we’ve garnered from the program:

 

Contacts are Hand Picked for You

This part is amazing. Literally, whatever problem your product solves, you will be connected to an executive with a budget line to review your product. The best part? You don’t have to search linkedin, referrals, or even cold lists. The BridgeCommunity selects corporate strategy partners from participating enterprises to talk with you and set up one-on-one meetings at the corporate HQ with the right decision maker. I guess you can consider it as an arranged blind date – you can guarantee that you’ll meet a decision maker, but it’s up to you to take it to the next steps.

You are coached

How often does an enterprise coach you to sell to them? Never. Unless, you’re in the BridgeCommunity where each participating corporation supplies a program liaison, or startup champion. Here’s how one of our intros went:

“This team is TopPick, they’ve built a platform to engage, screen and hire better quality talent. We chose TopPick as one of the startup companies we want to work with. When you meet with them, keep it informal and help TopPick understand our business and how they might best add value to us. This should be a two way dialogue with questions from both sides, not a pitch. If an opportunity surfaces, we’ll dive in later. TopPick has a lot of potential – they could use your guidance on how to work with us.”

Wow. Talk about setting the meeting up to build rapport and lower the barriers to entry.  Here’s where you have your chance to shine and take it to the next steps.

You land gigs

Lastly, of course. This is what everyone wants… your startup lands gigs. Most teams that go through BridgeCommunity land pilots with at least one of the Fortune 500 teams. In 2016, nine pilots and proof-of-concepts were created.

For some, landing a pilot is even better than receiving funding for equity. 3 months in, we’ve received a verbal confirmation from one of the companies and within the next few weeks, we’ll update you all on how things ended.

 

Today’s Results

After three months in the BridgeCommunity, we’ve been able to get in front of 10+ executives from 5 of the world’s largest enterprises. We have received a verbal agreement from one and two more enterprises are moving us to the next stages of the process to become partners.

We have already received such clear, positive results in our short time in the program. With no equity taken for enterprise sales training, help landing huge enterprise clients, and only a nominal time commitment, our involvement has been a win-win-win.

 

Author, Justin Ham, is the CEO of TopPick – the candidate engagement platform that engages your candidates faster than ever before with their bolt on application for your ATS – helping you reach candidates through text, calls and video.