Last fall, Inc. entered the online learning business, offering a series of online classes combining guest lecturers, online coaching and peer-to-peer collaboration.
Dubbed The Inc. Online Startup Accelerator, the series in its first class featured guest lectures from entrepreneurs such as Method's Eric Ryan and Cheezburger Network founder Ben Huh. More than 80 people enrolled in the five-week course. Here are six standout grads and their companies.
Karen Thomas entered the class with a head start: Agrin Health had launched, fully bootstrapped, in 2014. Her startup, a personal health management platform, creates personalized plans for health goals, provides tools for tracking progress, and connects users with the resources needed to achieve health goals. She expects her already-staffed startup to reach more than a half-million customers within two years.
Frustrated by attempts to catch up on work during her frequent trips, Lien Hoang developed the TaboLap, a laptop bag that can turn into a sturdy workstation (complete with shelf and cup holder) fit to work in any space, including an airplane's narrow seat, a park bench, or a bed. Lien's soon-to-launch product will target frequent travelers, mobile professionals and college students. Tabolap had been featured as one of Inc.'s coolest products of 2015.
Over a third of Inc. Startup Accelerator students joined the class from overseas. Echezona Nwankwo did so from Nigeria, and used the course to refine his ideas for launching EONNauto, a one-stop shop for car parts and trusted vehicle servicing for an underserved market.
Judithe Registre's startup is taking a different tack: the world of social entrepreneurship. Her organization, Nouvwa, seeks to use crowdsourcing to help people on their journey out of poverty. Using the power of individual stories, Nouvwa plans to disseminate stories from the point of view of communities on the rise, train others in storytelling and use the resulting content as a fulcrum for advocacy and policy influence. Registre expects to launch Nouvwa this year.
In 2012, Lisa Shorr launched Shorr Style, a consultancy that helps company employees present a consistent polished image. Shorr is rebranding, launching a refreshed site under the Shore Success brand and focusing on marketing efforts to build awareness, credibility... and outcomes.
A serial entrepreneur, and former Inc. 500 honoree, Atanas Stoyanov recently launched Wootrader, a simplified stock picking and trading system for investors ranging from neophytes to seasoned pros. Stoyanov signed on to the Inc. Startup Accelerator to explore new ideas for his business in a productive environment. He continues to add features to his product, including a stock-sentiment index, and to launch partnerships to help give Wootrader exposure.
In 2016, Inc. will offer four Startup Accelerator classes.