Business Accelerator SproutBox Helps Start-ups Buck the Economic Trend

Blomington (PRESS RELEASE – December 2, 2009) — Squad is a new company with an exciting product, a great work space, a talented team, no debt and almost no expenses. While this may seem like a dream scenario for most start-ups, it is the norm for companies graduating from SproutBox. With the launch of Squad, SproutBox continues to shoot down the conventional wisdom that the economic downturn makes starting a tech company an insurmountable task. While many traditional venture capitalists and incubators have struggled in the current economic climate, SproutBox’s unique investment model and Midwestern location have allowed them to launch four new start-up companies in the last year.

SproutBox is a team of full-time coders, creatives and business experts who provide services to start-ups in exchange for equity. SproutBox gives entrepreneurs everything they need to transform their idea into a revenue-generating reality. This includes software development, marketing, administrative, HR, and accounting assistance. It’s an innovative model that focuses on generating revenue early and keeping a company’s initial expenses low. Entrepreneurs from all over the country apply to SproutBox and, if selected, spend at least six months in Bloomington, IN. As a Midwestern college-driven metro area, Bloomington has been less affected by economic swings and affords start-up founders a notably lower cost of living compared to the coastal cities. At a fraction of the cost, Bloomington still provides world-class cultural amenities and access to incredible technical resources.

The founders of SproutBox are no strangers to starting companies during a downturn. Their last company, which had a successful exit in 2007, was founded in Bloomington right after the 2001 Dot Com bust. “We’ve been down this road before. Starting a company in tough times can have its advantages. Hiring, which is a significant challenge for start-ups, gets a lot easier. Plus, overfunded companies with high overhead tend to close their doors, leaving more room for small, agile companies like Squad to find success,” said Mike Trotzke, co-founder and managing member of SproutBox.

Squad, the fourth start-up to be launched with the help of SproutBox, is a web-based collaborative code editor. Similar to a traditional desktop text editor, Squad lets software developers open, edit and save text files located on their local hard drive. But Squad is web-based, allowing these files to be easily shared with other coders via a URL. Collaborators see each others’ edits in real time, complete with line numbering, syntax highlighting and other essential code editing features. Users of Squad can receive a month-long free trial by signing up today at

SproutBox has found success by investing in companies with stable revenue models. “SproutBox loves companies that solve business problems. When your customers rely on your service to run their business, they will remain loyal through the tough times. If your product or service is a luxury, your customers will leave you when times get tough,” said Brad Wisler, the founder of ScheduleThing. ScheduleThing is another successful startup to emerge from SproutBox. ScheduleThing is a scheduling and reservations tool that can enable online booking for virtually any small business. “Our engine can power simple room reservations, or complex scheduling tasks for medical practices or flight schools. The secret to our stability is providing a product powerful and flexible enough to address a wide market. Companies serving niche markets will have no control over their fate. If their niche struggles, they will struggle,” said Wisler.

Other SproutBox companies include CheddarGetter, an online subscription billing platform; and group decision-making software DecideAlready. SproutBox is now accepting applications from other talented entrepreneurs seeking investment. The December 5th deadline for the current round of applications is rapidly approaching. Interested entrepreneurs and start-ups can apply online at

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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