In June 2019, WT Enterprise Center launched the WIRE Accelerator program for start-up technology company founders looking to grow their businesses through mentorship, access to capital, industry connections, and training.
“I joined the WIRE Accelerator program because I realized that I got to a point with my business that I couldn’t go any further myself,” said Derek Wesley, founder of Plan-It, one of four businesses in WIRE Accelerator’s inagural cohort.
Wesley was a former educator, who came up with the idea for his business after teaching several financial literacy lessons in class and getting a positive response from the students.
“From a teacher to a start-up business founder, I wanted to work with real people that have actually done this, and take advantage of the coaching opportunities,” Wesley said.
Plan-It is a mobile financial literacy application that builds a personalized curriculum for each user based on a quick assessment over financial psychology entrepreneurship and budgeting. The application has a built-in budgeting tool so users learn how to manage their money, what they are spending their money on, and can apply that knowledge to their lives.
The 12-week accelerator program offers immersive education aimed at accelerating young innovative companies and technology, including coaching from tech and business experts, customer discovery opportunities and product testing.
When Bob Fabbrini, founder of Compare-That, was asked why he chose the program, he said, “It was a combination of the excitement of having somebody believe in me and my idea, and the proven approach of an Accelerator program and the professionalism of WIRE’s staff during the interviewing process.”
Compare-That is a comparison-shopping experience that allows users to compare products by the features that are important to them. Compare-That returns a ranked list of products that best match the user’s needs. Their current industry focus is automotive dealers.
“I made great progress during my 12-weeks in this intensive Accelerator program, which I equate to an advanced, practical business school degree,” Fabbrini said. “The businesses and businessmen/women I came in contact with here in Amarillo were friendly, helpful and very supportive. Amarillo is a great community with great pride that I can only hope I am able to grow my business here in the near future.”
Chris Haneback, founder of Truckl, became aware of many inefficiencies in truckload shipping while working in the supply chain transportation industry for 25 years. He was inspired to not only address these issues, but create a technology to fix the dilemma. Through research and the support of those who believed in his business, Truckl is available for customers who benefit from a next-generation supply-chain execution platform that saves them a tremendous amount of time and money while they experience higher levels of service from all partners in their supply chain.
Haneback believes you cannot build a business without many people who contribute to all aspects of the product and company.
“We are humbled and honored by the opportunities we have been given ranging from the faith that early adopters put into our solution to the support by the entire team at WIRE who stood by our side every step of the way over the last 12-weeks,” Haneback said.
Clint McMinn launched a technology out of the construction company he was working for to solve a problem of losing money on jobs and addressing inefficiencies in time tracking on job sites.
“We applied to the WIRE Accelerator program for the opportunity to grow this startup and figure out the business model we needed as a software company,” said McMinn.
Jobsist is a software for contractors that allows them to have real-time job cost tracking and timekeeping. Allowing contractors to adjust current jobs to increase efficiency through labor distributions and other means.
McMinn shared the biggest takeaway from the WIRE Accelerator program, “has been the networking opportunities and connections that the WIRE Accelerator staff has provided us with.”
WT Enterprise Center will present Amarillo’s FIRST Demo Day on November 21st starting at 4:30pm at the Globe News Center. Plan-It, Truckl, Compare-That, and Jobsist will pitch their businesses for additional investment and for the community to see what they have been developing right her in Amarillo, Texas. You can learn more about this cohort and their start-ups by attending Demo Day, RSVP today at: http://www.amarillodemoday.eventbrite.com