By Katy Spence
For the PatientOne team, startups do not exist in a vacuum. Co-founder John Beighle said networking is one of the most important pieces of the startup puzzle.
“Not so much just knowing people, but going and meeting with them and discussing your business and the potential of really making the company grow is essential,” Beighle said. “Learning how you can help people reach their goals and how they can connect you to others who can help you succeed is a key element in a startup.”
PatientOne had worked with Paul Gladen at the UM Blackstone LaunchPad at the University of Montana. Gladen introduced the company to a number of connections, including a potential Montana-based investor who recommended they apply to the Boomtown Accelerator’s HealthTech program in Boulder, Colorado. In under two weeks, PatientOne applied for and was accepted into the program.
The accelerator experience, Beighle said, was transformative. It was also a lot of work.
“Think of condensing the contents of an MBA program into your business over three months,” Beighle said. “Your idea and your startup exists, but the accelerator takes you through every step to make it successful in the long-term. The experts at Boomtown helped polish our company in a way that attracted potential investors.”
From challenging their product to properly preparing pro forma and business models, Beighle said the accelerator aimed to help growth both the startups and their network of potential customers and investors.
Beighle and the other three founders of PatientOne attended daily lectures, courses, check-ins, and events. Every other week, PatientOne met with three mentors of their choosing, which included business people in digital health, seasoned sales strategists, and a specialist in helping companies make post-accelerator transitions. In addition, the team had weekly feedback sessions with the program directors at Boomtown, who helped them network with their target audience, as well as potential strategic partners.
With 10 other companies in the cohort, the accelerator placed heavy emphasis on cross-team networking and problem-solving, an unexpected benefit of working in the close atmosphere. Making these connections was one of the most valuable parts of the accelerator for PatientOne. Beighle said the team still has relationships with their Boomtown mentors, and they continue to help guide the company post-accelerator.
Beighle said PatientOne now has a number of investment opportunities that it didn’t have before the accelerator. On top of everything, the company is feeling confident in the direction it is going.
“We’re now feeling a 100 percent improvement in our company trajectory in order to make it successful and profitable,” Beighle said. “We were at a phase in company growth where we needed an outside influence like an accelerator to perfect and validate our company and product.”
About the Author: Katy Spence is the Communications Director for the Montana High Tech Business Alliance. She worked previously with the Missoula Current and Treesource, and has an Environmental Journalism Master’s Degree from the University of Montana.
About the Publisher: Launched in 2014, the Montana High Tech Business Alliance is an association of 350 high tech and manufacturing companies and affiliates creating high-paying jobs in Montana. For more information visit MTHighTech.org.