When Merrick Furst drafted the Flashpoint vision it was as an incubator that he hoped would take a fresh approach to the startup struggle (which he fully understood as an entrepreneur who has started 7 companies). Fast-forward five years and Furst’s brainchild has become a staple to the Atlanta tech ecosystem. Since 2011, Flashpoint has successfully completed 6 cohorts (going on 7) with 64 companies collectively raising $300 million in investments. What’s the valuation of these companies you ask? A cool $1 billion.
Housed at Georgia Tech, the incubator has packed the productive punch behind companies like Ionic Security, which recently completed its $40M Series D, and Pindrop, which secured $75M from Google Capital in January.
Hear from Furst on the Flashpoint method to mentoring a successful startup and mark your calendars for Flashpoint’s upcoming Demo Day Tuesday, April 12.“At Flashpoint, we take startups and reset them and then we help them move forward through methods we have developed,” said Furst. “We have mentors, but what is special about Flashpoint is its set of methods – applied behavioral economics. The intention is to be more mature about the entrepreneurial process. Instead of relying on others’ opinions, we are trying to have people work with these methods. It is making a big difference. Successes aren’t just the companies, the entrepreneurs are better.
“There are hallmarks to making companies legitimate. It’s not just about activity, but success. What we have seen in practice is people coming in with one idea, but are somewhat limited in what they can achieve. When Adam Ghetti came in, for example, he had a very clear idea about protecting Facebook users, and he would be drawn to that protection. Through our help at Flashpoint, I like to believe, he was able to shift. It is about creating authentic demand. Once you find it, it’s like a secret that you know. You can build companies around it. We think all companies can do that, but it can be super expensive. People repeatedly survive near-death experiences, but we provide methods that allow people to save at least one round of funding.”
Flashpoint isn’t shy with its companies either. The team readily shares their Rolodexes, investors, and business contacts. The reason for this open approach is building a genuine relationship with their companies. “We maintain a good relationship with them and believe in being helpful no matter what,” explained Furst.
“When we started, there was nothing like Flashpoint. It changed the tenor of how startups were born in Atlanta. There were only pitch contests before. We are doing demo days. We saw it was our collective job to make it possible for startups to move on to the next place in this city.”
Speaking of Demo Days, be sure to check out the startups showcasing their ideas at Georgia Tech’s Academy of Medicine next Tuesday before they hit the skies for New York City and San Francisco in May. Flashpoint’s Demo Days are the culmination of outreach, critical feedback, and connections (with potential investors of course). It’s a method that’s tried and true, just ask the startup superstars who’ve moved on to become booming businesses.