East Lansing-based accelerator provides capital, mentorship and influential network to emerging companies
EAST LANSING, MI — The Conquer Accelerator announces the launch of its summer 2019 cohort. Five promising startup teams join the ten-week-long program in its fourth year.
“Startup accelerators are marathons for entrepreneurs,” says Tom Stewart, Conquer Accelerator’s program manager. “Teams devote ten solid weeks to their companies, often working until three in the morning to think through challenges.” Stewart has been with the program since its 2016 inception and designs the accelerator’s tailored curriculum. “Our team is here to provide guidance, encouragement, and insights.”
Designed to help both newer and established companies overcome business hurdles, the Conquer Accelerator emphasizes smart planning and growth, extensive mentorship from an experienced bench of professionals, and structured educational components tailored to each startup team. The accelerator program is hosted and managed by Spartan Innovations, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Michigan State University Foundation.
“Nearly ninety-percent of startups fail,” says Paul Jaques, Conquer Accelerator’s program director. “Our program strives to limit the pitfalls associated with startup failure. We provide a launching ground for emerging companies, both from within Michigan State University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and across the state. We want to prepare these teams to hit the ground running.”
Jaques, who serves Spartan Innovations as the director of student and community engagement, has been working with Michigan State student entrepreneurs for nearly a decade. “When we launched Conquer Accelerator in 2016, we envisioned a program that empowers young entrepreneurs and puts the finishing touches on startup teams. Our team is preparing these companies to provide real value to customers while helping them scale-up and sustain growth.”
In addition to receiving up to $20,000 in seed funding, each startup can expect tailored mentorship from leaders within their respective industries, a creative co-working space at the MSU Hatch, as well as access to a network of angel and venture investors. Once companies graduate from the accelerator they become seamlessly part of Red Cedar Ventures’s investment portfolio.
“Conquer Accelerator is an integral part of our startup ecosystem,” said Jeff Wesley, Red Cedar Ventures’s executive director. Red Cedar Ventures is the venture investment arm of the Michigan State University Foundation. “The accelerator is already seeing its companies succeed.”
Conquer alumni, like Avidhrt (Cohort 2), Golfler (Cohort 1—acquired by Supreme Golf), Uru Sports (Cohort 2), and York Project (Cohort 1), have all leveraged their Conquer experiences and connections. “Ultimately,” says Wesley, “when Conquer teams graduate, they’re part of the Spartan community. We’re committed to their ongoing success.”
2019’s Conquer Accelerator Teams
- Ayuda’s cost-effective software powers personal robots, helping museums develop more immersive, inclusive experiences. With Ayuda, museums can now give multi-lingual tours for a fraction of the cost.
- GridPane is the world's first hosting control panel built exclusively for serious WordPress professionals. With a fully automated dashboard and server stack, GridPane delivers all the bells and whistles of managed WordPress hosting at a fraction of the cost. Build servers in minutes and sites in seconds, all of them fast, secure and ruthlessly efficient.
- HealthOpX is the kayak of international medical travel. The company provides access to a variety of medical treatment options around the world at low cost and great quality.
- Pairaphrase is a centralized, all-access web-based language translation management system simplifying how organizations produce translated documents. The platform also provides an interactive translation editing interface for team members and translation professionals to produce and complete translations.
- SKOOP specializes in mobility advertising. SKOOP’s electric bike taxi fleets move passengers from point A to B. Each vehicle has digital advertising displays attached to the exterior and interior. SKOOP’s screens are always on the move, displaying advertising content around town and subsidizing the cost of the ride for the passenger.
Conquer Accelerator’s fourth season runs through August 9. For more information about the teams, visit www.conqueraccelerator.com. Conquer Accelerator can be found on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
ABOUT CONQUER ACCELERATOR
Launched in 2016, Conquer Accelerator has invested over $500K into its portfolio companies. From streetwear to AI-assisted language learning, Conquer Accelerator is industry agnostic, accepting passionately committed entrepreneurs who are ready to take their startups to the next level. Bringing together business and industry leaders, seasoned entrepreneurs and university experts—not to mention angel and venture investors—Conquer alums have access to a powerful network. Learn more at conqueraccelerator.com.