Program Reinvents Company-Creation Process; Offers Innovators Business Training and Technical Resources, Supports Promising Entrepreneurs
By Drew Cohen, CEO & President, MasterPeace Solutions Ltd.
Many startup companies begin life as an innovative idea with the potential to change the world. And just as many never get very far beyond that point. When it comes down to it the success of a technology startup relies approximately 10 percent on having a good idea, and 90 percent on building up a reliable business to support it. In fact, the cold reality is that moving a startup through the numerous steps and phases required to eventually launch a successful company is demanding, difficult work.
It’s even more challenging if the potential founders are trying to push through those barriers to a successful startup without support. Even if an entrepreneur could somehow earn a living and survive after completely quitting their day job to work fulltime on their startup, there are still countless legal, financial and technical hurdles which hinder or sink most of those efforts.
Today, the owners of many potential new startups find the support they need using technology accelerators. When designed correctly, a technology accelerator can offer a distributed, collaborative environment for entrepreneurs to design the tools that turn their ideas into reality. For example, an accelerator can provide expertise and infrastructure in a supportive environment that is conducive to the development of innovative technologies with access to early customers to allow rapid pivots and alignment of a solution to a validated market need.
An ideal accelerator program should provide financial support and business expertise to help entrepreneurs through all stages of a startup’s development. One where goals are aligned, and both the entrepreneur and the accelerator have a vested interest in the success of the new startup. When one succeeds, so does the other.
That was the idea behind the creation of the MasterPeace LaunchPad technology accelerator from MasterPeace Solutions. A contractor working on some of the government’s most challenging problems, with an existing cadre of world-class engineers. The ability to unlock that talent on the broader commercial market was the genesis of LaunchPad and is a major factor that sets Launchpad apart from other accelerators.
Engineers working in good jobs fulfilling government contracts likely feel extremely comfortable in those positions may have families to support and other responsibilities that make the idea of quitting their job, couch-surfing and eating ramen noodles for every meal while their business grows a non-starter. No matter how great their idea, putting everything on the line for it is never going to happen – not without an accelerator configured like LaunchPad acting as a safety and support network.
LaunchPad hires those innovative engineers, allowing them to work on government contracts for the company while building up their business. While other accelerators start with investment dollars and look for entrepreneurs to advance a concept, Launchpad takes on the role of a pre-startup accelerator. With a profitable company behind it, the accelerator is fully powered and supported, eliminating the need for initial funding and allowing the engineers and entrepreneurs in the program to build up their businesses without the additional strains of unemployment.
The other major hurdle for many engineers is their lack of managerial and business experience. In many cases, work on the startup is the first time many would-be innovators have ever experienced the many financial, legal, technical and resource challenges associated with growing a new business. MasterPeace, having taken on the responsibility for the engineers they hire as part of LaunchPad, also becomes accountable to help those businesses grow. This is done by building business plans, sales forecasts and conducting market research – while simultaneously training the engineers on how to run a successful company. Integrating these traditional accelerator services with MasterPeaces government contracting business, in support of new company generation, sets MasterPeace apart from other technology accelerators.
In addition to financial help and business training, LaunchPad also provides a collaborative working environment filled with the latest in advanced technology. All of this is installed in a purposely designed space within the burgeoning technology corridor outside of Baltimore in Columbia, Maryland.
LaunchPad has already fostered two rising startups within their accelerator program. Zuul IoT Inc. began life at LaunchPad and supported its founder in the creation of an Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) device management platform that bridges the gap between Operations concerns and IT security. Zuul IoT Founder and CTO, Edward Stanford, saw the need to protect IoT devices found in smart transportation, building automation, and industrial control systems with the same type of robust defenses found in the more mainstream IT market. Working with LaunchPad gave him the freedom to engineer the Zuul software suite to simplify the installation, configuration, and integration of large-scale connected device deployments for industrial settings. This saves time, reduces costs and assures complete, consistent, auditable and maintainable IoT configurations for the industrial technology market.
SrcLight, Inc. also successfully sprung out of the LaunchPad Accelerator. SrcLight is quickly becoming a widespread community-centric marketplace for open-source software support. Designed at LaunchPad, SrcLight brings enterprises that use open-source software together with open source developer communities. It has become a one-stop-shop for enterprises that support and use open source applications.
Neither SrcLight nor Zuul IoT might have been successfully launched, and certainly not as quickly, without the support of the LaunchPad Accelerator program. MasterPeace LaunchPad is looking for more innovative engineers to join their cohort and has the goal of bringing on two to four new startup companies each year as the program continues to grow.
About The Author
Drew Cohen is CEO and President of Masterpeace Solutions, Ltd. He is a leader, entrepreneur, engineer, and innovator whose career spans areas directly relevant to the multiple facets of MasterPeace’s business model. He has experience in Silicon Valley as a CEO and CTO building venture-backed technology companies and has deep experience leading technology efforts in support of the Intelligence Community. Drew is an engineer, by both training and desire, with a deep passion for technology and innovation. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated the ability to develop teams of ‘SmartCreative’ engineers and align them with a vision for creating new leading-edge technology Services, Solutions, and Product businesses. Drew is also actively engaged in the community and philanthropic activities. He founded the ‘Party for a Purpose’ events for the National Cancer Society, has held a board position at Bethesda’s Imagination Stage, and currently serves as a Leadership Council Member for the Washington Redskin’s Charitable Foundation. Drew can be reached through the company website at www.masterpeaceltd.com.