One of the most impactful ways Startup Virginia (SVA) advances the growth of its member startups is by connecting them with corporate partners, local businesses that believe in SVA’s mission and are willing to invest time and expertise to support innovation. SVA’s corporate partners have demonstrated – more than ever – their commitment to SVA’s mission, offering key resources to SVA members during these unprecedented and often challenging times. The examples below highlight just a few of the great stories inspired by this support.
Capital One + Trilogy Mentors: Client onboarding automation strategy
Trilogy Mentors is an online tutoring and mentoring platform that connects students to one-on-one academic support. Over the last year, the company expanded its business model to allow other organizations to license and use its technology. As a result of the pandemic, schools were forced to quickly implement online learning, and Trilogy Mentors was called upon to help many schools and organizations with this challenge through use of its platform. According to founder and CEO John Failla, Capital One was instrumental in helping Trilogy Mentors successfully manage this growth and crucial educational need.
“During a time of crisis, SVA and Capital One’s partnership not only allowed us to leverage critical resources, but also helped us solve and address the largest barrier to scale we had as a company,” said Failla. “Capital One was able to assemble a world-class, tiger-team of product managers to help us automate our client onboarding. This project would have normally consumed thousands of dollars, and more importantly, weeks or months of time. We can now empower more educators and business owners than ever during their greatest time of need.”
CapTech + Roundtrip: Agile training for enhanced operational efficiency
Roundtrip, a SaaS platform that provides on-demand patient transportation for hospitals and healthcare organizations, is one of SVA’s fastest-growing member companies. In the wake COVID-19, Roundtrip wanted to ensure they were operationally as strong as possible to effectively respond to the rapidly changing world. To support this effort, SVA connected the startup with CapTech to provide agile training sessions for Roundtrip employees. The agile process allows software developers to be more organized and efficient, while allowing for evolutionary development and flexible responses for change. Ankit Mathur, founder and Chief Technology Officer of Roundtrip, is grateful for the consulting firm’s expertise.
“During times of uncertainty, many companies look internally to ensure stability. CapTech has gone above and beyond in also looking externally and assisting Roundtrip with strengthening members of our own team,” said Mathur. “It means the world to us that organizations such as CapTech put their words into actions and dedicate members of their own team to the success of startups like ours.”
Singlestone + Brandefy: Design guidance to improve user experience and drive engagement
Brandefy, an app that helps consumers easily compare affordable makeup and skincare products to favorite prestige brand makeup and skincare buys, regularly consults with a designer and software solution expert at SingleStone to help them increase customer engagement and enhance the app's overall user experience. With the pandemic driving increased online skin and beauty purchasing, Brandefy’s ability to engage stuck-at-home beauty enthusiasts became as important as ever. Brandefy now has about 27,000 monthly active users looking at thousands of product comparisons a day and 1,300+ reviews on the app store with 4.8 out of 5 stars. Founder Meg Pryde says that the company wouldn't be there without improvements they made with Singlestone.
“As a startup, we don't have the resources to get the level of design expertise that many other beauty apps in the app store have available to them, and having SingleStone come in and consult brought us to the next level,” said Pryde. “It couldn't have been more timely – their expertise from both a business and design perspective allowed us to add exactly what our users were asking for in a way that we could manage as a startup – and allowed us to improve our conversion rate, and dramatically improve our user interface.”
InnerWill + Startup Founders: Leadership coaching during challenging times
Growing a startup is not easy and founders need support to achieve organizational and individual success – even more so during unpredictable times. Thanks to funding granted by the Luck Companies Foundation for leadership development, five startup founders are currently working one-on-one with a coach from the InnerWill Leadership Institute to identify goals and make decisions that align with their values.
Jeff Beck, founder and CEO of AnswersNow, an app that pairs families with board-certified clinicians for daily, personalized autism support, appreciates the personal and professional development he has gained from the virtual sessions.
“Tom [Epperson] has been very supportive and a great resource during these uncertain times. He has provided me both with specific techniques and general guidance on a number of topics ranging from communication to leadership,” said Beck. “I feel really fortunate to have this resource to not only help me become a better leader, but also keep things in perspective during these challenging times.”
Steve Van Dam is founder and CEO of Light the Music, which provides an app and programs to engage students in musical creativity, unlocking the door to learning, enrichment and development. He has found the coaching especially useful as the company shifted its focus from classroom to virtual learning, including launching a music camp this summer.
“The CEO coaching through Innerwill has been incredibly helpful, insightful, and wonderfully effective virtually,” said Van Dam. “Most importantly for Light The Music, the benefits have been timely, as we navigate an enormous post-Covid shift from 'in-class' solutions into virtual/blended music instruction programs.”