An Evidence-Based Approach
The Scott Technology Center Incubator program provides technology start-ups an evidence-based approach to building their businesses. We help them understand the market problem, segment their buyers, and validate the solution, ultimately ensuring their business model is a viable one.
Once they’ve found their product’s perfect market fit and this discovery phase is complete, our work is not done; we help them all the way through to execution.
We encourage entrepreneurs to use data—not blind faith—to drive decisions, which helps them lower risk. The process encourages participants to acknowledge the unknowns, develop a hypothesis to probe the unknowns, measure and validate, then repeat through execution.
The Scott Technology Center is part of the Aksarben Innovation Initiative, a collaboration with the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Maverick Innovations and Jim Young Jr., co-founder of the Aksarben Discovery Fund and member of the Nebraska Angels.
The Aksarben Innovation Initiative utilizes the Lean LaunchPad program, which was developed by Stanford professor and serial entrepreneur Steve Blank. The program focuses on determining the market viability of a concept prior to product development and helps start-ups to stay accountable, track progress, and validate results.
Lean LaunchPad has been and is being used by entrepreneurs and innovators around the world as well as U.S. government agencies like the National Science Foundation. Many corporations also use this process internally, as it provides detailed documentation of progress, not just biased feedback.
Ultimately, our goal is to help companies go from start-up to success. And it works. One of our very first incubator projects, Omaha-based online auction company Proxibid, now employs more than 150 employees.
In 2011, Scott Technology Center sponsored its first lean start-up workshop, introducing the local community to the evidence-based start-up approach. Since then, we’ve been helping start-ups use lean methodology to turn ideas into thriving businesses, while limiting the risk of failure. Currently, we have eight cohorts participating in the evidence-based/lean start-up model. We also have two corporate-requested innovation efforts underway.
Investing in Start-Ups
We’ve also invested in our start-ups and helped them earn third-party funding:
- We’ve built two early-stage investment funds: the National Innovation Fund in 2010 and the Aksarben Discovery Fund in 2015.
- Four of the companies funded by the National Innovation Fund were acquired or went public.
- Three incubator companies have been awarded State of Nebraska Prototype Grants.
- Five incubator companies have been awarded National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research grants.
Our commitment to helping technology start-ups succeed dates back to 2002, and we remain committed to growing Omaha’s technology footprint. In fact, we recently remodeled our facilities so we can promote greater collaboration and programmatic execution.