ST. LOUIS, MO / ACCESSWIRE / July 15, 2014 / What’s the best angle from which to see the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities of a new company? From the inside! ITEN (www.itenstl.org), a 501(c)3 organization that provides a precedent-setting structure for entrepreneurs to contribute to the growth and success of the St. Louis startup ecosystem announces an expansion of their successful Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program with the addition of three experienced entrepreneurs from the St. Louis business community. Included in the group is ITEN’s first-ever CFO in Residence.
EIRs Michael Gaddis and Bryan Garcia are joined by CFO in Residence Don Dent as new additions to the ITEN team. They share a crucial common link: all three are entrepreneurs who have seen great success in the tech industry. Now, ITEN has offered them a unique opportunity to use what they’ve learned through experience, to help other entrepreneurs navigate the challenging road that lies ahead.
"ITEN’s EIR program allows me to amp up my involvement and to see serious deal flow from the best and brightest in St. Louis," said Michael Gaddis, former Founder, Chairman, President and CEO of CoreExpress, Inc., an innovative technology company that provided mission critical Internet service for clients such as Boeing, Fujitsu, and Mastercard. "Hopefully, after making every mistake in the book in my entrepreneurial career I can help less experienced entrepreneurs avoid the worst ones, and help guide them in realizing their business idea as a viable and prospering company."
Bryan Garcia, Former Senior VP of Technology at TALX and former CTO of Equifax, agrees that the immersive nature of the ITEN EIR program is unique. "Having this close of a relationship allows me to make significant and ongoing contributions to the company. I also like the ability to identify where a company has a need that I may not be the correct resource to help, the EIR program provides me the ability to collaborate with other EIRs and the larger ITEN community to provide well rounded support. Being able to actually roll up my sleeves and work on projects with a company is very exciting."
Don Dent, a highly regarded CFO/COO who has focused on leading companies in diverse sectors to record financial performance, looks forward to being submersed in the tech startup community. "I like working with people who are creative and think outside the norm – I am always fascinated with those that take a new approach to old situations - or solve what has been thought to be a complex problem in a simple manner."
The ITEN Entrepreneur in Residence program takes a unique approach to venture acceleration. Each EIR selects the ventures that he or she will be working with, and then orchestrates all appropriate resources to maximize the fast growth of the company. Funded by ITEN, the EIR becomes a true partner of the selected venture, providing a focused, hands-on, strategic approach to rapid development.
"Our EIR program, begun in the fall of 2013 has already been a great success, achieving significant milestones sooner than we expected. Thanks to the great support ITEN receives for this program from the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, the Missouri Technology Corporation, and Civic Progress, we’re now able to double the size of our EIR group. Civic Progress’s contribution has specifically supported our new CFO in Residence, which is a very exciting addition to the program. With the new members joining our existing EIR team of John Grispon, ML Helbig and Chuck Vallurupalli, this program has become a cornerstone resource for our region’s best high-growth tech startups,” says Jim Brasunas, ITEN’s Executive Director.
Additional ITEN core offerings that accelerate tech startups include:
Business Model Validation Entrepreneurs at the concept stage are paired with experienced mentors to help identify the problem, solution and customer that the business will target, and to create a viable revenue model.
Mock Angel Program provides "tough love" from mentor/investors who critique the entrepreneur’s investor pitch and provide constructive criticism, explaining why they would or would not invest in the business. Graduates are introduced to investors, with nearly 80 percent receiving outside funding.
Talent Network Enabling tech startups to find the talent they need, ITEN maintains an extensive network of talent-producing and talent-finding organizations interested in the opportunities emerging from ITEN’s ventures.
Community Involvement Through support of the Kauffman Lab’s 1 Million Cups presentation series, educational programming such as ITEN 2nd Thursday, and targeted networking and development opportunities through SIGs (Special Interest Groups), ITEN links entrepreneurs with like-minded entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, civic organizations and talent
Major sponsors of ITEN include, Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC), Kauffman Foundation, Civic Progress, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, Gateway to Innovation Conference, Century Link, St. Louis Arch Angels, AHM Insurance Group, Greensfelder, iSelect Fund, Polsinelli and Stone Carlie.
ITEN provides a foundational system for entrepreneurs to work together towards building strong startups and a vibrant tech ecosystem. ITEN provides unique programs, events and access to resources that accelerate tech venture success. ITEN's programs form a venture roadmap from concept through design, prototype, launch, revenue, funding and rapid scaling. Guidance from serial entrepreneurs, subject matter experts and important community influencers helps entrepreneurs focus on essential critical tasks and avoid wasted efforts. Access to investors, key service providers and qualified talent means lower barriers to rapid growth. Designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, requiring neither payment nor equity, ITEN is a unique community asset and a proven route to venture success. Follow ITEN on Twitter at www.twitter.com/itenstl and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ITENSTL.