Saturday was the first opportunity for Seed Sumo to get as many of the brilliant minds that make up our mentor network in the same room. Seed Sumo for a Day was a great excuse to show off the brand new facilities we have been working tirelessly for quite some time to create a new home for innovation, but also for everyone to unify their perspective and expectations for the Seed Sumo startup acceleration program and the Seed Sumo campus. We are convinced that hard work paired with our mentor talent will produce remarkable results.
The day featured a panel of the Seed Sumo brain trust (Co-Founder Manish Patel, Managing Director Bryan Bulte, and Program Manager DJ Montielh) giving everyone a detailed outline of the vision held by Seed Sumo. In year one, the focus is really about creating quality partnerships to build a lasting foundation. In regards to startup prospects, year one will have a pretty broad focus across industries and niches, with biotech and local businesses identified as not on the list of potential startups. The focus of Seed Sumo is to identify the most scalable businesses, deep understanding of the target market, create a minimum viable product, and helping the startups make their first dollar before they exit the program. Co-Founder Manish Patel said it best, “if we don’t exceed the expectations of the startups, then we have wasted their time and wasted our time.”
The long-term vision of Seed Sumo is to make the Bryan/College Station community the “Silicon Valley of the South.” This location was carefully selected for the valuable partnership built with Texas A&M University, and a comfortable environment that has access to multiple major markets while at the same time giving the startups a chance to remove themselves from the noise of everyday life and focus on building a successful business. The great folks at Startup Aggieland, BCS Startup, and the Texas A&M Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship are also great pillars of innovation to collaborate with and create a dream destination for entrepreneurs and startups.
A feature group of mentors provided insight to their personal backgrounds and business ventures, as well as their intentions and expectations in relation to contributing to Seed Sumo. The panel featured Steve Tinkle, Dave Mueller, Corey Cormier, Bryan Bulte, Christine Hollinden, David Heath, and Uri Geva (see their bios here). This group understands better than most that mistakes make for the best opportunity to learn invaluable lessons that provide springboards for future success. Their primary caution was to focus on the product that the market needs and is willing to pay for, and not falling in love with your idea that you perceive as being the answer.
We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended Seed Sumo for a Day. It was a privilege to be able to share our vision and our facility with our biggest supporters, our mentors and friends. The program will be getting under way very soon, so if you are a startup doing your homework and reading this summary, the only detail you need to be aware of is the application deadline, April 4th. Apply today!