I frequently complain about the lack of idea or seed stage funding available for Utah entrepreneurs. Sometimes, especially in the open source software era, and in era of internet marketing, a venture can be started with just a few thousand dollars. (FundingUtah.com cost only $2,000 to launch phase I. We’re now finishing phase II and working on a couple possible revenue streams. We also own 70 more domains, so that if this site works in Utah, we may roll it out elsewhere. We already have more than 100 entrepreneurs and 49 angels signed up, representing almost $30 million in available funds.) There has never been a better time in history to start a company.
Phil Windley blogged this week about a program back east called Summer Founders. He said he wished we had something like that in Utah. I checked it out and it looks way cool. Back in Cambridge, MA there are 4 guys who have started a seed stage fund called Y Combinator. Their summer program is designed to provide seed capital to entrepreneurs (hackers mainly) who might be able to make a go of a company if they had a little financial support.
But Phil, we have Junto here in Utah, thanks to Greg Warnock.
I think Junto is structurally superior to the very laid back Summer Founders program. You end up with a team of five who are committed and incentivized to help each other succeed, each with their startup company. I attended a Firepoll advisory board meeting today with Greg and the five Junto entrepreneurs (and Craig Bott from Grow Utah Ventures, a $5 million private VC fund). There is a lot of energy there and I think we’ll see some great entrepreneurial developments coming from these groups. I applaud Greg for his vision and his willingness to teach young college grads to take the entrepreneurial path.