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Partnership Between Startup Collaborative and FNBO Offers Grant Funding to Five Startups

Several dozen businesses launch and find footing with Future Fellows program

OMAHA, Neb., September 14  – Future Fellows, a joint initiative between The Startup Collaborative and FNBO, was designed to catalyze new Nebraska startups. The partnership was established in 2018 as Fintech Fellows and, to date, more than 60 entrepreneurs from across the region have participated.

Kicking off earlier this year, and culminating in the spring, the program offered 40 inducted Fellows a framework and team of advisors to help grow ideas into early businesses.  Participants had the opportunity to develop solutions for problems identified and validated by The Startup Collaborative, or to bring their own concepts into the program.

“It was inspiring to see the innovation and exceptional entrepreneurship these Nebraska founders demonstrated in Future Fellows,” shared Marc Butterfield, senior vice president of Innovation and Disruption at FNBO.

At the end of the program, leaders from FNBO, The Startup Collaborative and a team of outside advisors allocated grants – ranging from $7,500 up to $20,000 each – to five startups. 

Superb Shifts — A conduit between healthcare facilities and contract workers that takes old ways of agency staffing and brings them into the 21st century. 

Ferro — Empowering brokerages and insurance buyers with a self-service insurance management system.

Juuk — Immersive tour and chat technology giving real estate agents the power to guide tours virtually.

Tradenis — A blockchain solution that creates economic opportunity for commodity traders in emerging markets.

Rogue Recruit — Matching athletes with schools to identify and create champions.  

Future Fellows is a shining example of how a corporate partner can effectively influence the starting point and early prototype opportunities for startups in Nebraska. Throughout the program, participating entrepreneurs worked closely with adjuncts and advisors to identify early customers, develop prototypes and establish a business model. 

The program also reinforces the opportunity our state has at hand to catalyze industry-aligned companies led by diverse entrepreneurs.

  • More than half the participating startups are led by CEOs that identified as women, while more than a third were led by CEOs that identified as BIPOC. 
  • Of the more than a dozen entrepreneurs that found early market validation, one third were building fintech companies.

Two of the 2018 grant recipients, Logica and Job Share Connect, have successfully grown their businesses since participating in Fintech Fellows.

“Our region is known for great partnerships, the Chamber is grateful to be one connector between the startup community and our corporate stalwarts,” said Todd Johnson, SVP of Economic Development at the Greater Omaha Chamber.

The Chamber is continuing to blaze trails with innovative partnerships, like the First Customer Network. To learn more about becoming a champion for our startup community, like FNBO, visit omahachamber.org/startups/first-customer-network/.

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