Thursday, February 19, 2009

Diligently Carving a Path to Success

It's natural to focus on the inspiration one needs to launch a successful startup, but the perspiration and determination that's required is easier to overlook. Jodi Marchewitz has shown that kind of diligence throughout her career, first acquiring marketing know-how and technical skills in user interfaces and programmable logic control during stints with Eaton Corporation & Allen-Bradley (now a part of Rockwell Automation). That background led her to believe that while Google and other Internet search engines offer elegant solutions, there was still a market for an overlay of search engines, combining computer logic with a simple interface to help users more quickly find the right key words to unlock their search.

She found considerable support in Northeast Ohio when she decided to start a company, iGuiders, based on that idea. As she began developing a prototype, she received seed funding from the Civic Innovation Lab and Flashline Partners (a group headed by software veteran Charles Stack), and also received help from TechLift and MAGNET. "It's incredible how much help I've gotten on this," she says. JumpStart recently added its own substantial investment in iGuiders. Naturally, Jodi welcomes the injections of funding, a crucial kind of support for any startup. But she stresses that she's also benefited tremendously from the ongoing coaching she's received from all her benefactors and supporters, who have helped her continue to refine her operating strategies.

Jodi expects to have a lead-generation platform in place by next month (it's now being beta tested), and has already generated an impressive number of jobs for a company in its early stages. iGuiders employs two fulltime developers, another part-time contract developer, and a part-time chief technology officer. It's also currently seeking someone to head the sales effort and another person to lead the marketing function. For more information, go to the iGuiders website or contact Jodi. This growing internal team of professionals, backed by the outside team of supporters and investors, gives iGuiders the kind of momentum and positive feedback loop any startup needs to beat the formidable odds against success. Starting a business can be lonely, grueling work. Having the right support group around you considerably improves the odds of success.
--From the latest in a series of e-newsletter articles prepared for JumpStart. You can see earlier articles here and here.