A Boise startup is the only Idaho company to be invited to participate in a prestigious Silicon Valley-based entrepreneurial program.
Retrolux, a Boise-based startup that develops software for the energy-efficient lighting industry using sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT), has been named to the Founder Friendly Labs Startup Accelerator summer program, based in Palo Alto.
“Retrolux is transforming the delivery of energy efficiency and IoT products in commercial and industrial buildings by connecting vendors and buyers in the first dedicated online marketplace for energy efficiency and IoT products,” the program said of the Boise company.
The Startup Accelerator program includes one day in Palo Alto and connection to a community of startup founders and professionals, including veteran from Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, a co-founder of Excite and partner from Sequoia Capital, as well as alumni from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institue of Technology.
More than 100 companies have been through the program, any of which went on to be acquired by larger companies.
Attendees join an online community with more than 200 program alumni. Consequently, unlike some other programs for entrepreneurs, the Founder Friendly Labs Startup Accelerator program is primarily focused on advice from the organization’s founders and the entrepreneurial peers, as opposed to funding. The program costs $5,900 and is intended primarily for entrepreneurs who already have experience and aren’t looking for equity funding.
“In each class session, we offer advice based on our own experience and our learnings from watching 100+ startups participate in FFL. For many of our startups, the most valuable advice comes from peers because we select members with deep experience,” Founder Friendly Labs noted on its website. “If fundraising support is your top priority, we recommend you consider other accelerators.”
The program does have some financial incentives, including thousands oof dollars in credits with cloud software vendors such as Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform, $1,200 in cash and fees waived with First Republic Bank, and free customer relationship management and other discounts on Hubspot Marketing and Sales Software.
“The process to get in was competitive, and we were selected as the only participant from Idaho with other companies from around the world,” said Leif Elgethun, Retrolux CEO. “We’re most excited about getting connect to a broad base of experienced program alumni and current entrepreneurs, another connection into Silicon Valley and of course the cloud software credits.”
Retrolux has received several other honors, such as being named to the Best Tech Startups in Boise list by Tech Tribune. It has been funded by several local angel groups, including the Boise Angel Alliance, though the company declines to provide specific numbers.
In addition, Retrolux participated in an entrepreneurial program with Venture Capital, a Salt Lake City-based nonprofit venture accelerator, including it’s Deal Forum, Pitch Coaching and Investors Choice Forum. Like Founder Friendly, Venture Capital also emphasizes peer mentoring. The program has 600 mentors – 100 from Idaho – who contribute 15,000 hours a year to teach entrepreneurs how to talk to investors.
“What an outstanding and well-deserved opportunity for Leif Elgethun and Retrolux,” said John Williamson, director of Idaho operations with venturecapital.org, and executive in residence for the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University. “It is exciting to see Idaho innovators and entrepreneurs being recognized by organizations such as Founder Friendly.”