Today began with the public announcement of 10 awesome companies who make up our inaugural class. While yesterday was technically day 1, everyone in the building was under a PR/Social Media embargo until it was official today at 9am.
At the onset, one of the big goals of the Sprint Accelerator was to draw talent to the KC region…something we didn’t count on was just how far they would travel:
- Akibah San Jose
- Fitbark New York
- Lifeline Response Chicago
- Medicast Palo Alto, Calif.
- Ollo Mobile Brisbane, Australia
- Prime San Francisco
- Sickweather Baltimore
- Symptom.ly Salt Lake City
- Tenacity Health Boston
- Yosko Cambridge, Mass.
While the cities they’ve moved from may be impressive, the diversity of their backgrounds is mind-blowing. We have a physician who has put her career on hold (who’s also the CEO), former investment bankers, team members from Italy, Bulgaria and Spain. Hardware hackers, industrial designers, data scientists, business dev experts, software developers and marketing experts. The only thing they all have in common is their desire to grow their businesses and their ability to run through brick walls to get there.
We’ve been waiting for a long time to brag about how awesome these entrepreneurs are and we’re already seeing their businesses develop as day two comes to a close.
4 Million Square Feet of Expertise
This morning, 50 of us were loaded on a school bus headed toward the Sprint Campus in Overland Park, KS. The 25 minute ride was full of energy and turned into an awesome networking/team building event….up until 9am when the public announcement hit the wire and I captured the following picture. Sometimes tweeting to the world something you’ve had to keep secret for a month takes precedence:
With 4 million square feet of office space across 17 buildings, we had a lot of ground to cover at the sprawling Sprint Campus. We didn’t have time to see it all but we took in-depth tours through Sprint’s Executive Briefing Center, Innovation Zone, Usability Lab and Product/Network testing facility. While there, we met with experts in each space covering everything from Sprint’s Emmy Award, hundreds of connected devices we power through our network, user experience design, scrum/agile development, eye trackers, user testing, research, network infrastructure, RF chambers, Chase the Sprint Labrador and much more.
The overwhelming show of Sprint domain expertise turned into an outpouring of requests from our entrepreneurs. These startups who have an average of 3-4 employees had just added 7,500 Sprint employees with deep domain expertise to their network. My list of action items grew as we returned to the Sprint Accelerator. Over the next 3 months, my job it to ensure 1 degree of separation between these 10 startups and anything they could possibly need back at the Sprint HQ. Unfair advantage? Indeed.
Day 2 wrapped after the companies had a chance to spend the afternoon getting back to business (save for a couple minor interruptions from the media). With plenty of work to be done, teams spread out to every corner of the building. The buzz of conversation between teams and the tapping of keys filled the room…I can’t say there’s anything ‘normal’ about what we’re experiencing together, but this seemed pretty comforting.