The recently formed Lumos Accelerator wrapped up its inaugural 10-week class in November, and as its first round of companies gain traction, the program is gearing up to accelerate up to 25 companies in the year ahead.
The accelerator has secured $500,000 in funding from a private investor who deals throughout the country to offer up to $20,000 each to up to 25 startups accelerated through two cohorts. As for why invest in Columbus?
“Money is cheaper here,” says Accelerator Director Alex Purtell.
Factors like an emerging startup scene as well as cost of living allow money to stretch further than on the coasts.
Applications for the second class are open through April 3. Purtell says they are recruiting companies with two or more team members that are anywhere from the idea stage to working with their first few customers. The focus will be on companies in industries that have a strong presence in Columbus – retail technology, financial technology and transportation companies emerging around the Smart Cities grant.
Purtell stresses the importance of understanding what the purpose of an accelerator is.
“An accelerator is designed to set growth within a certain time period,” he says.
Lumos does just that by taking a metric-heavy approach. Companies are held to five metrics specific to their industry that have been vetted by venture capitalists, and progress is expected week over week.
As a startup themselves, Lumos is evaluating its own progress after the first class.
“The best thing we did was the one-on-one attention,” Purtell says. “We spend as much time as we can with all of the companies.”
On the flip side, there are other areas where the accelerator plans to get more hands on, specifically taking a deeper dive when it comes to looking at data. Design partners will also be introduced earlier, as requested by the cohort. Lumos partners with local companies including Fort, Zoco Design, MindsOn, WonderJam, Martini Media Group, Rave, Brave Little Beast and Dynamit on design work for its startups.
When it comes to Central Ohio’s startups, Purtell says a lot of companies think they are worth more than they are.
However, “People realize really quickly that they are not ready to raise money,” he says.
Investors look at numbers and traction.
“We give them the tools to show traction,” Purtell says. “The program is set up to showcase traction in a short period of time.”
The number of startups in the first cohort will depend on what applications roll in. Programming is scheduled to begin in mid-May. The second cohort is expected to begin sometime in September.
For more information or to apply for the accelerator, visit lumosinnovation.com.
All photos and graphics provided by Lumos.