Entrepreneur

Chronicles Of A 50+ Entrepreneur: Put Your Seatbelt On Honey, We're About To Accelerate – Forbes


In the previous articles in this series I wrote about my experiences as a 50+ entrepreneur and advocate for boomer workers.


StartOut Growth LabStartout

Just the other day I was kvetching in here about the seemingly endless bombardment of “nos” that we get as a young startup.

No! You were not selected for the “Hottest Companies in LA Pitch-Fest.” You lacked  high-energy, testosterone-fueled energy, and you would never withstand our SharkTank-like raw feedback.”

or

No! You were not selected for our 3 month “Hustle or Perish Incubator.” We received a million applications and finally decided that you weren’t necessarily a fit. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be right for our very next cohort starting in Fall of 2022.”

And so on.

So, I was surprised and delighted when an email came through during the holiday letting us know that YES, Next For Me has been selected to join the StartOut Spring 2019 Growth Lab.

StartOut is a national non-profit that empowers LGBT entrepreneurs (that’s me) with resources and an active network through their many programs. I’ve been a mentor to members, and the organization has provided our company with access to experienced entrepreneurs, marketers and investors.

The Growth Lab is a startup accelerator that offers office space, mentoring, education, and networking opportunities for young companies that happen to be founded or co-founded by LGBTQ entrepreneurs. The Lab was founded in 2017 as a partnership between law firm Nixon Peabody LLP and StartOut.

They host a new cohort of early-stage companies every six months starting in January and July of each year. Just seven companies are selected for each cohort. This validation is quite welcome and elevating. In between jumping for joy I get back to planning how we’ll pull this out.

Now To Make It Happen

This news will demand some quick adjustments to the way we have been operating and where we are geographically.

The program requires:

  • Relocating our company to the StartOut Growth Lab in downtown San Francisco – their “just finished, brand new, glamorous shared space with amazing views!” (glamorous!)
  • Move in on Monday, January 7, and move out at the end of June, 2019.

Boom! That’s basically a month away.

Our co-founder Carole McManus is already in San Francisco. Our other co-founder Drew Domkus is on a retired dairy farm in Wisconsin, yeah really, and will stay there and come out when it makes sense. I’ve left myself open to such opportunities even as we launched the company from Los Angeles. My husband and I are hunkered down at our property near Yosemite and now I know where I’ll be spending my weeks and plenty of Amtrak trips.

What’s Next?

Without a doubt we’re entering into unknown territory. We’re betting on the program as much as they on us. Like I have written here often, every conversation, every call, every introduction makes us look at our business in new and more expansive ways.

Tonight, I’m attending the graduation for the cohort before us. They will be showing off their progress in front of an influential audience. Then, we have been asked to give a brief introduction our company.

It’s the first of many presentations we’ll be giving in our new HQ. We’re excited and just a little afraid.


Previous articles in the series:

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