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Entrepreneurs sweat for success at DreamIt Ventures’ boot camp

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DreamIt Ventures doesn’t refer to its entrepreneurs training program as a boot camp because it’s particularly intense or physically taxing. But the boot camp, which began last week, at the early-stage investor’s home inside the University City Science Center in Philadelphia, does benefit from a communal atmosphere.

“The effect of having the companies all in the same open space versus if they were just working by themselves is like working out at the gym versus working out at home,” says Steve Barsh, one of DreamIt’s managing partner. “They work harder and focus more when they’re in the DreamIt gym.”

This “gym” pays “members”–qualified applicants with a bright idea that can be developed in three months–$30,000 for five representatives. It’s basically a living stipend for three months that allows participants to focus full force on their idea. Companies also get free office space at the Science Center, a successful entrepreneur as a mentor, a top-notch speaker series, a lawyer and an accountant. 

It’s the second year of the boot camp–last year, three of the boot camp’s 11 participants received follow-on funding–and this summer the program is more structured around having companies focused on de-risking their ideas and understanding the fundable milestones they need to achieve. One of this year’s start-ups is Philadelphia-based OurShelf, a web platform that catalogs user’s personal goods within a social environment that allows for borrowing and lending.

OurShelf has already done a 180-degree turn from its original pitch to DreamIt, which focused on vast consumer facing revenue streams. Now, the company is focused more on business-to-business applications.

“The whole point of being here is to focus the vision, grow and mature rapidly, build up our abilities, make connections, achieve something great, and have loads of fun while doing it,” says Paul deGrandis of OurShelf. “The resources here are really endless.

Source: Steve Barsh, DreamIt Ventures and Paul deGrandis, OurShelf
Writer: Joe Petrucci

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Entrepreneurship, News, Venture Capital


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