|Bryce Gartner, icimo|
Bryce Gartner, CEO& Founder of icimo, llc, was facing a dilemma. His marketing insights platform company had been chasing investment dollars for some time, but a closed round was not forthcoming. Should they continue down a fund raising path, make major business alterations and acquiesce to funder requirements? Or should they buckle down, focus on their business plan and push forward without the investment? With a great idea and large identifiable market – but no patentable IP – they faced a long row to hoe.
So many entrepreneurs face questions like this when moving from start-up to growth. As a new CED member Bryce began investigating the Venture Mentoring Service and decided they needed the kind of advice that a true mentor would provide. Before his first meeting with co-mentors Gart Davis and David Rose, he was concerned about the return he’d see on his investment of time. But he got over that quickly.“We have been very pleased with the results and the assistance that the mentors have provided,” said Garnter. “They immediately helped us understand the viability of the marketplace.”
The mentors think highly of the ideas behind icimo and the passion the team has for its success. “Bryce is such a smart guy, with really great ideas for a combination of products and services,” said Gart Davis. “It was important for him to understand, however, that success is not determined by fundraising skills. His dashboard takes full advantage of Tableau’s hot technology – we just had to get him to put his energy into selling his services.”Davis and Rose certainly came prepared to wield some objective opinions about icimo’s go-to-market strategy. The pair identified opportunities to restructure and areas on which to concentrate. “They made these changes, and cash started flowing,” said David Rose. “Revenue in just the first quarter equaled that of the entire previous year. That’s what can happen when you stop pitching and start selling.”
Gartner cites a series of benefits of the VMS program:
- “Terrific mentors.” Their extensive experience and previous startup participation means they understand the challenges of managing rapid growth… and they share that expertise generously
- “Strategy Insights.” The mentors have spent considerable time with the founder, identifying unique underpinnings of the company and shaping a talent acquisition strategy for this new growth.
- “Crisp Market Focus.” Entrepreneurs tend to get de-focused because of the numerous opportunities that arise. Rose and Davis act as a checkpoint to keep icimo focused on the market, best practices and providing the solutions that their newly focused market demands.
- “Organizational Focus.” This is somewhat of a balancing act, but Gartner says that one extremely helpful aspect of CED’s VMS mentors are the way the meetings were structured. Instead of focusing on client efforts, the mentors used the weekly sessions as milestone measurements, and checkpoints for the organization itself.
Icimo continues to rely on their mentors, but now are armed with clear direction and prepared for the onslaught of success.Bring it on.