Constant Contact recently announced the newest class of startups participating in its prestigious Small Business Innovation Program, an accelerator that supports entrepreneurs as they refine and grow their early-stage companies, and develop and solve issues for small business owners and nonprofits.
Launched in January 2014, the first-of-its-kind accelerator program runs from April 1 through July 1 and is hosted in the 30,000 square foot Innovation Loft (InnoLoft) space in Constant Contact’s Waltham headquarters.
There was some uncertainty over whether or not the program would continue, given Constant Contact’s recent acquisition by Endurance International Group Holdings Inc. With the start of the new class, however, those uncertainties have been put to rest.
How Startups Qualify for the Constant Contact Innovation Program
To qualify for the Constant Contact Innovation Program, startups must have a product or solution that already exists in the marketplace and has a user base, even if it is small.
It also has to be designed with the intention of helping small businesses be more successful, which Constant Contact defines as “building stronger, more meaningful relationships with customers and prospects and being able to grow.”
Lastly, the company has to be willing to relocate to the InnoLoft for the duration of the class, which lasts three months.
Startups Participating in the Program
Five Boston-area startups have taken up residence at the facility and will get access to mentors, investors and marketing resources to build their products and services. Those companies include:
Campseekers makes summers more affordable by selling excess spaces in the $15 billion summer camp market to families at below market rates. Similar to Priceline.com, Campseekers sells these spaces via public auctions as well as private sales events to subscribers and corporations.
The company also maintains a summer camp directory with over 5,000 camp sessions searchable by week, location, age and specialty.
Campseekers was founded by Shayne Gilbert, widely known for her role in building networks as the co-founder of the Nantucket Conference and Convergence: For Leaders in Healthcare Innovation.
ClearGov transforms complex municipal financial statements into infographics, to help citizens better understand how the government is putting their tax dollars to use.
Local governments leverage ClearGov to communicate more clearly their financial performance to build citizen trust and support through transparency.
ClearGov is the fifth startup founded by CEO, Chris Bullock. Most recently, he co-founded a legal analytics company called Sky Analytics, which was successfully acquired by Huron Consulting Group.
Co-founded by business executive and MIT Sloan School of Management graduate Kai Chuang, Decidedly is tackling a problem that sales and marketing professionals face every day, that of connecting with and engaging prospects online.
Decidedly’s technology platform accelerates the qualifying process and gets two to five times more responses than other methods.
Founded by brothers Mike and Jeff Devlin, Lure Boats aims to transform the recreational fishing industry by providing a way for anyone to search, compare and reserve chartered fishing boats anywhere in the world through a few clicks on their laptop or mobile device.
Through a focus on imagination, education and play, SuperHealos is dedicated to creating adventure stories, products and digital games that make children facing medical treatments feel like superheroes.
The CEO and founder, Yuan Yin, is a former IBM sales representative. Her husband, Dylan Murphy, the chief technology officer, brings extensive technology and product management experience that he gained while at IBM.
The company recently tweeted:
— SuperHealos (@SuperHealos) April 1, 2016
There’s no lack of ideas, especially in Massachusetts, a hotbed of innovation and one of the top places in the world to start a business,” said Andy Miller, chief innovation architect at Constant Contact in a statement announcing the class. “The challenge comes in daring to see it through — taking that idea and shaping into a company.”
“That’s where the Constant Contact Innovation Program comes in,” Miller added. “We provide the mentorship and marketing resources to help take these startups’ products, features, and services to scale. When coupled with access to angel investors and venture capital firms, the experience can be game-changing.”
The Constant Contact Innovation Program runs two times per year, with the next class scheduled for the fall. For more information and to apply for future classes, visit the SMBInnoLoft website and follow #SMBInnoLoft on Twitter.