I know that today was day 3 of the Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator program but if you asked me what day of the week it was I would have to think about it. This realization hit me like a school bus this evening when I was telling someone about the tour we took of the Sprint Campus “earlier this week.”
Technically, yes, that was earlier this week…..realistically, that was yesterday.
Eventually I plan to cover some lessons learned and do some in-depth profiles of the companies calling the Sprint Accelerator home. However, with all of the action of the first week I want to keep a log of the various activities going on in a brief format.
Our first 1×1′s
We started the day by sitting down for 45 minute 1×1′s with 1/2 of the companies. The room we affectionately refer to as the “Country Club” (after KC’s famous Plaza shopping center), has a fantastic ping-pong table that transforms into a conference table. One at a time, John Fein (Managing Director, Techstars), Alisha Templeton (Program Manager, Techstars), Kevin McGinnis (VP Pinsight Media) and I sat down with 5 of the 10 companies. We spent the time catching up with each business and talked specifically about current progress, identified gaps, synergies with Sprint experts and potential resources from the community.
After our 5 meetings I had a list 20-30 bullet points long full of introductions to make and questions to answer. We had a blast working together to think through next steps and needs for each individual company. We’ll sit with the other 5 tomorrow to do more of the same!
Following lunch, 4 Techstars Alumni stopped by to talk with the companies. I covered a similar panel during the recruiting tour but it’s always fun to hear from entrepreneurs who are a part of the Techstars family. Rich Schmelzer of GeoPalz, Erik Severinghaus of Simple Relevance, Sharon Fan of Gestsure and Taylor McLemore from the Techstars Patriot Boot Camp spoke with the teams from the comfort of the stage. Each of the panelists spoke about their experience with Techstars, notoriously intense but life changing beyond the startup they brought into the program.
Just before dinner I invited four experts from Sprint for a short panel on mobility. Russ McGuire (VP of Corporate Strategy), Jason Delker (Director of Product Dev), Harry Lai (Manager of UXD) and Evan Conway (VP of Monetization & Strategy) talked with the teams about their opinions on mobility. Like any great panel there were differences of opinion but everyone agreed that mobile tech has disrupted many industries and healthcare was now square in the sights. The companies surrounded the experts with personal questions following the stage time and each of the panelists left the building with gigantic smiles and promised to return soon.
The highlight of the day came after working hours. Roughly 50 of the official mentors for the program invaded the space and after some light networking, broke into 10 separate groups. Each of the companies took turns pitching to the small teams of mentors in 5 minute increments giving the CEO’s 20 seconds to pitch and 4 minutes, 40 seconds to collect feedback or answer questions.
The rapid fire sessions went by quickly but it was the mentors’ first opportunity to mingle with the teams in person. I spoke with a number of them and the decision was unanimous…all 10 of them are high flyers. Every mentor couldn’t wait to get back into the building for their scheduled deep dive over the next 3 weeks.
I finally forced myself out of the Sprint Accelerator around 10pm…it was time to go home. There’s a real danger in having an office that is constantly filled with energy like mine. Over the next three months, we’ll wrestle with a number of difficult issues but getting a proper amount of sleep and time away to reflect will be critical. On my way out of the door I could hear Alisha reminding all of the teams that we don’t have anything planned until 9:30am. I for one will take the opportunity to get just a little extra sleep tonight.