When TenX founder and CEO Carolynn Duncan first began searching for investment opportunities in the Portland area, the Salt Lake City venture capitalist discovered an absence of entrepreneurship support programs. In an effort to close this gap, Duncan established TenX (formerly Portland Ten), a startup accelerator that provides mentorship, training, and networking opportunities to local business owners and entrepreneurs.
TenX supports high-potential, entrepreneurial companies, working towards specific developmental and growth milestones. The organization offers engaging learning experiences, conferences, and events, all aimed at providing entrepreneurs with a practical, hands-on education. TenX also offers an open-source, online training platform that was developed with the intention of extending the program’s reach.
How does it work?
TenX works with early-stage entrepreneurs in the $0-$1MM revenue and funding range. Companies interested in participating may apply to either the Sprint or the Marathon programs (depending on the company’s developmental stage).
Each year, TenX accepts 50 startups out of a 300+ applicant pool. Although performance metrics are a key component to each venture’s application, TenX only selects entrepreneurs who demonstrate true commitment and a “thirst for learning.” Duncan has been known to test this quality by issuing a dollar-a-minute late fine to tardy participants. “We want to raise our founders’ standards a little bit and when we [enforce a lateness policy] they stand out […], and they become so much more attractive to capital sources, to advisory, to team members, [and] to clients,” Duncan told the Portland Business Journal in a 2013 interview.
TenX alumni have generated more than $30 million in revenues and funding. Alumni of the Marathon program typically accelerate (double and triple) sales and land funding in the $100,000-$1,000,000 range, within 6 weeks – 18 months of participating. Sprint alumni have, on average, successfully landed funding and initial sales in the $10,000-$100,000 range, within 2 weeks – 6 months of participating.
Key success factors & conditions for use in other cities
- Engage entrepreneurs through highly interactive learning experiences, organizational events, and mentorship meetings
- Track revenue growth, using a milestone-driven accelerator program
- Train entrepreneurs through nontraditional methods, such as Duncan’s dollar-a-minute late policy
For more information
Contributed by Megan Yang. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.