Our Network Partners share our passion for driving the success of software startups through mentoring, networking, business advice, financial assistance, and peer connections. Network Partners know the startup environment and understand what it takes to succeed.
Think Big Partners, based in Kansas City, is an early-stage business
incubator, Startup accelerator and mentorship-based collaborative network
that takes ideas, opportunities and entrepreneurs and makes them big. Herb
Sih, managing partner, explains how his company helps Startups determine
whether or not they have a promising idea that can turn into a commercially
viable and profitable business.
What is Think Big Partners?
Sih: We help entrepreneurs who walk in with a promising
idea walk out with a company on the road to profitability. We do this in
a number of different ways—through our collaborative coworking space, our
PRISM process, our funding platform (Think Big Ventures), our accelerator
(Think Big Accelerator), our open innovation model, our ability to help
companies build on a virtual team of talent, our conferences, and of course,
through our network of resources.
What is your company’s mission?
Sih: The mission of Think Big Partners is multifaceted,
but also singularly focused on creating more successful entrepreneurial
outcomes for all stakeholders. Think Big Partners has three main mission
statements to aid in the strengthening of the entrepreneurial community
not only in the Midwest, but throughout the U.S. Regardless of where you
are, we want to bring entrepreneurs success, help solve entrepreneurial
challenges and connect all entrepreneurs, visionaries and innovators.
How do Startups work with you?
Sih: We work with Startups on a consultative basis initially.
Except for office space, Startups pay a consulting fee during the first
three to six months or so as we work with them to determine their commitment
to the idea and our ability to connect them with the resources they need.
We reduce risk, stretch capital and provide a disciplined process that helps
improve their probability of success.
We’re entrepreneurs ourselves with a track record of success, so we think
of ourselves in some ways as great project management quarterbacks: We’ll
tell you what you need to know when you need to know it. If we don’t think
your idea can become profitable, we’ll tell you. If we do think it’s viable,
our fee structure will shift into a hybrid setup where we take part equity
in your Startup.
Why do some Startups fail?
Sih: The number one reason companies fail is premature
scaling. They hire people they don’t need, get office space that’s not
necessary, that sort of thing.
You need to remember that success does not simply happen overnight. The
startup process is not rigid enough to have absolute boundaries, but it
does have a few key elements: having a plan, finding the right people, understanding
your next milestone, establishing your long-term goal and having the resources
to execute it while the opportunity still exists.
In this hyper-connected world, opportunities do not exist forever. To
achieve maximum results, you have to be prepared to seize the initiative
when it presents itself.
What interested you in the BizSpark program?
Sih: If you’re a tech entrepreneur, you’ve got enough
risk already – capital, ideas, etc. BizSpark is a collection of tools you
can use that won’t burn a giant hole in your pocket. You can take what you
need, explain it easily to investors using the Microsoft name and you know
it will work. You can trust it.
With Office 365, Outlook.com, Windows 8, Windows Azure and all the other
great things happening right now at Microsoft, it’s an exciting time to
be developing with and using their products.
We have a new product coming in December that we built using Microsoft
products, including Node.js and Windows Azure. We know it will work – and
both Startups and investors can use the innovative technology and confidence
to their advantage, too.
For more information about Think Big Partners, contact Herb at
or via Twitter @thinkbigKC.