A new website for Connecticut entrepreneurs aims to launch 500 new companies in the state. The grassroots effort connects inventors with investors and help services.
Having a great idea is only the first step in starting a business. Plenty of budding entrepreneurs have no idea where to go from there, and that’s where LaunchEZ aims to make a difference.
“It’s an online portal to connect funding sources, mentors and coaches, support teams, the startup community in a single-door way,” said serial entrepreneur Eric Knight, one of the people backing the website.
The project was the brainchild of another Connecticut entrepreneur, Tim Laubacher. He and Knight will be two of the mentors working with inventors who apply to the site.
"If an inventor has an idea," Knight said, "they can put their idea into this system and hopefully someone may see it, want to fund it, sponsor it, provide support services. The same thing for the investment community — this is a great way for them to see the very latest that’s happening throughout Connecticut."
Knight is an entrepreneur in residence at CTNext, the start-up ecosystem backed by the state of Connecticut, but he said the LaunchEZ concept is an organic effort that’s come out of the startup community itself. "This is really a program by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, self-funded," he said, "to be able to raise the tide of all of these great entrepreneurial activities that are happening throughout Connecticut."
Considering its prime position between Boston and New York, and its high concentration of angel investors and venture capital firms, Connecticut still under-performs in producing successful startups.
LaunchEZ represents a further effort to replicate in the state the kind of networks that places like Silicon Valley have developed to make sure the best ideas turn into successful companies.