Virtual Incubator

The Journey of a Founder: What It’s Like to be a NEXT Member

By February 1, 2020 February 7th, 2020 No Comments

Most of our members came to NEXT looking for a community of entrepreneurs. But as they immersed themselves in NEXT’s ecosystem and experience all that we have to offer, these members find themselves connected to a wealth of resources to grow their companies. Each member benefits in their own way, and many have enjoyed several aspects of the NEXT ecosystem. This post showcases the key resources and services that a NEXT member has access to.

Facilities

The founder of an HR software startup steps through the glass doors of NEXT Innovation Center after meeting with a local partner downtown. She walks by the conference rooms equipped with audio/visual and greets the three people chatting over coffee in the lobby. She makes her way to her office space, energized and excited about the work on her calendar for that afternoon.

The facilities offered by NEXT are frequently mentioned as one of the things that drew our members to NEXT. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs and startups that can’t commit to traditional long-term leases. For this reason, we offer shorter-term agreements with affordable rates. We currently have three facilities:

NEXT Innovation Center

Our award-winning headquarters are right on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a bike and walking trail spanning 22 miles. The Innovation Center boasts over 60,000 sq. ft. of specialized space, designed to support and inspire entrepreneurs.

NEXT On Main

NEXT on Main is the newest and most central of our locations. It sits in the midst of the business district of downtown Greenville. It features 20,000 sq. ft. of varied space layouts and conference rooms overlooking the ONE City Plaza. Proximity to all that downtown has to offer is a bonus.

NEXT Manufacturing

An affordable manufacturing space flush with state of the art amenities. Bright, open space that facilitates collaboration and innovation at a lease-term that suits your schedule.

Concierge Service

The founder of a health tech startup has recently become a member. He’s looking for help with financial management of his business. He knows he needs an accountant offering CFO services, and he wants someone with experience working with startups. He asks Brenda Laasko, Vice President of NEXT, if she could connect him with a company like the one he’s looking for. She shares three companies that other NEXT members use and recommend. 

Our concierge services help members connect with resources, key allies, other CEOs, and vetted vendors that we can recommend with confidence. Our members share that the connections they make through NEXT are invaluable in helping them grow their companies successfully.

Marketing and Exposure

The founder of a medical device manufacturing startup is at his computer in his company’s space in the NEXT Manufacturing facility when he receives an email from a colleague. The colleague congratulates him on his interview which was published on NEXT’s website and is being shared on social media. The colleague said she passed along the link to the interview to her contact at the regional business journal.

We use our own publications and network to help promote our members. This includes our public-facing member directory on the website, exposure in our monthly newsletter, and reporting of member company news on our blog and in the newsletter. We also publish special feature interviews and videos on our website and shared on social media, showcasing member companies and allowing a behind-the-scenes look at what members are accomplishing. 

Entrepreneur Exchange 

The founder of a software startup in the logistics industry arrives at the monthly Entrepreneur’s Exchange meeting. She’s looking forward to the month’s featured topic, What Angel Investors Want You to Know About Fundraising. She has prepared a few questions that she plans to ask the guest expert and members who have been through the fundraising process.

The Entrepreneur Exchange is our monthly peer networking luncheon for NEXT CEOs. On the first Monday of every month, we invite CEOs for lunch. Members network with peers, share best practices, and hear from experts about various topics that are relevant to their business. This event provides entrepreneurs regular access to other entrepreneurs and top industry knowledge.

Venture Mentoring 

The founders of a PaaS tech company are setting up for their monthly meeting with their Venture Mentoring Service mentors. They have a couple of specific questions related to hiring, as they’re in the midst of expanding their team. They know that they can confidently share their challenges and received expert, actionable advice.

NEXT has partnered with MIT to offer mentorship from highly-experienced entrepreneurs with a proven track record of success — and the ability to translate that success to help others. NEXT mentors provide unbiased, conflict-free, practical, and actionable advice on a long-term basis. MIT’s strict code of ethics ensures a safe, trusting environment for our members.

Virtual Incubator

The founder of a B2C app startup is about to embark on developing their V2. The team is now looking for ways to improve product/market fit. They’ve been doing a lot of research and listening to interviews with successful app founders. As part of their research, they’re taking advantage of the online resources in NEXT’s Virtual Incubator.

NEXT’s Virtual Incubator is where we share educational tools for just about every facet of entrepreneurship — from a step-by-step startup playbook, to scaling your business, to how to market to customers. Our Virtual Incubator is a comprehensive online resource that makes your role as an entrepreneur easier.

Venture Pitch

The founders of a transportation technology startup are sitting at in a conference room at NEXT on Main, collaborating on the deck they’ll be presenting at Venture Pitch. This annual event is where startups, investors, and community leaders gather to celebrate entrepreneurship, learn from experts, and hear pitches from selected founders. They’re looking forward to meeting VC and angel investors from across the country and learning from industry insiders.  

Our day-long Venture Pitch event is highly anticipated and well-attended. Prior to the pitch session, we host educational workshops presented by experts to help CEOs effectively run and grow their companies. The main event of Venture Pitch is the pitch meeting itself. Out of several applications, 6-8 ventures will be selected by an independent Pitch Selection Committee to give 5-minute pitches. We end the day with a celebration of entrepreneurship and networking opportunities. 

NEXT’s ecosystem is a wealth of resources to help high-impact startups grow successfully. Listen to what our members have to say about how they’ve benefitted from being part of the ecosystem.