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Iron Yard expands to Spartanburg


Terry Horner of the ‘Spent’ team practices his pitch last summer to the other Iron Yard members in the Next Innovation Center in downtown Greenville. (File photo/firnFOTO)
Terry Horner of the ‘Spent’ team practices his pitch last summer to the other Iron Yard members in the Next Innovation Center in downtown Greenville. (File photo/firnFOTO)

By Liz Segrist
lsegrist@scbiznews.com
Published Jan. 14, 2013

Greenville-based The Iron Yard will expand its startup accelerator to Spartanburg this fall.

Teams in the Spartanburg fall program will focus on developing health care IT products. The same group will run the new program, and Kate McCarthy will be the program manager in Spartanburg. The Iron Yard will also run an accelerator in Greenville this spring.

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The Iron Yard is a 13-week, mentorship-driven startup accelerator. It focuses on talented teams with a prototype that can be brought to a large market. Teams are selected after a highly competitive application process.

Teams work long hours brainstorming on their business idea, company message and marketing avenues. They constantly practice their pitch for when they travel around the country seeking investments, as well as for Demo Day, an opportunity to pitch locally in front of hundreds of angel investors and venture capitalists. The Iron Yard will take the teams on fundraising trips to both New York and San Francisco at the end of the program, as well as nearby cities like Charlotte and Charleston.

The Iron Yard’s teams have their perks. They receive space; designers’ assistance; legal and accounting services; and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs, all free of charge, as well as $20,000 in seed capital per company.

The application process is now open for the spring program in Greenville, and the application deadline is Feb. 1. The program begins March 11 and the spring launch event is May 30. The spring session will travel to the West Coast and Northeast for fundraising trips in June.

“It’s different than an incubator because it’s only 13 weeks, but it’s such an intense period that it wouldn’t be sustainable to continue that intensity. You’d burn out,” said Peter Barth, The Iron Yard program manager. “It’s a short burst where you set milestones that you have to hit and deliver. It would take nine to 12 months to do what they’re doing in three months.”

Ten company teams were part of the first session of The Iron Yard this past summer in Greenville. The teams began working in the Next Innovation Center in downtown Greenville in May with the hopes of securing funding to launch their product, app or startup.

Barth initially planned to expand the startup accelerator two twice a year, with one class each spring and fall. The Iron Yard recently hired Eric Dodds as it expands.

Iron Yard looks for technology companies, such as Web and mobile software companies, but will occasionally look to other sectors.

(Correction: The Iron Yard now provides $20,000 in seed capital. GSA Business regrets this error).


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