Omaha Nebraska's Straight Shot Accelerator Announces 2014 Class

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e-commerce and SaaS startups from Chicago, Portland and Nebraska make up the Nebraska accelerator’s second class. Companies range from the “back-of-the-napkin” ideas all the way to established e-commerce brands looking to effectively reinvent their business model.

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Ultimately, we landed on the seven strongest companies we knew we could meaningfully accelerate in 90 days.

Omaha’s e-commerce and software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup accelerator, Straight Shot, announced its second class this morning. The seven-company class includes three teams from Chicago, one from Portland, two from Omaha and one from Lincoln.

Straight Shot Managing Director David Arnold shared that the accelerator reviewed hundreds of applications from across the country and “ultimately landed on the seven strongest companies we knew we could meaningfully accelerate in 90 days.”

The 2014 class includes:

Borrow For Your Bump (Omaha) – a maternity fashion rental and retail e-commerce startup founded by Krystal Stubbendeck. Stubbendeck, formerly a ConAgra financial analyst, recently decided to strike out and put her full efforts toward Borrow For Your Bump. Since, she’s grown her business tremendously by adding new product extensions and is joining Straight Shot to accelerate that growth even more.

CallOnTheGo (Chicago) – a predictive call analysis and forecasting platform that helps determine the best time to make phone calls and what past communication has happened with each contact. Mark Michuda, a second-time founder and Stanford graduate, is solving a problem he has personally experienced: time wasted managing call-logs and lost time making sales.

Kitchin (Chicago) – the digital kitchen that helps consumers inventory their food from photos of grocery receipts and then creates recipes based on the food already in their homes. Founder Corey Anand got the idea for Kitchin working alongside a busy executive mother who talked about the regular struggle with what meals to prepare for the family given her hectic schedule.

LocalLux (Chicago) – an ultralocal online marketplace for shoppers to discover close-to-home goods from artisans, boutiques and vendors. For business owners, LocalLux offers additional marketing consulting and on-demand deliveries. Co-founder/CEO Randy Ellis is a veteran technologist and co-founder/COO Karleton Thomas is a past owner of a retail company.

Quest (Omaha) – founded by sports conditioning and therapy notables, David Potach and Roger Earle, Quest aims to connect people with personal training and coaching services. These services include improving strength, preparing for a road race, and losing fat via online video conferencing. As Potach and Earle more aggressively enter the SaaS market, they want to put operational and organizational systems in place for fast growth.

SitStay (Lincoln) – established in 1996, SitStay is not the typical accelerator startup, but new CEO Jill Liliedahl was hired as the change agent tasked with reinventing SitStay’s e-commerce model. SitStay was made for dog parents who want a better life for their pets and want to share their experiences with others.

Viirt (Portland) – founded by Josh Davis, owner of a Kansas City-based roofing company, recognized the inefficiencies between consumers, general contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers. He created Viirt to eliminate those inefficiencies and become a stronger partner to the consumer by offering competitive pricing coupled with the industry’s most dependable service.

Matching Mentors Meaningfully
This year’s grouping has a mix of early stage startups and fairly established companies looking to reinvent their business model. Each of the seven companies is being strategically matched with the Straight Shot mentors, who will provide ongoing counsel, advice and support during and after the program.

“Being in Omaha, we don’t have to try hard to find the highest caliber mentors willing to help these companies scale,” Arnold went onto say. “We are intentionally matching each mentor, supporter and investor with companies they can impact.”

The mentor-driven program includes weekly discussions and curriculum that help each company navigate fundraising, market analysis, customer acquisition, business management, product development and overall customer experience.

Kicking Off June 9
Straight Shot will launch Monday, June 9 and will host a social on Wednesday, June 11 for the community to come meet the new founders and learn about the 2014 class.

Strong Sponsorships and Support
Straight Shot’s presenting sponsors, McCarthy Capital and the Greater Omaha Chamber, are both generously donating financial support as well as serving as mentors. Additional sponsors include Fraser Stryker, University of Nebraska—Lincoln's College of Business, Aviture, First National Bank and several others.

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Erica Wassinger
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