“The incubator is designed to provide the right sized space, along with local mentors and experts from across the state,” said Jill Elliss, Director of SEED Dixie and USTAR South. “The companies also have access to high speed internet, interns and even small amounts of seed funding designed to help meet the early milestones.”
The ITRE incubator collaborates with multiple partners, including the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative (USTAR), Washington County Economic Development Council (WCEDC), and SEED Dixie to propel fledgling startups into solid success stories.
Two of these success stories– InfoSiftr, a previous USTAR Go-To-Market grant awardee, and Xtiri, a former Concept to Company winner, will soon graduate. Both companies represent the vital and important role these statewide partnerships play in the development of new companies. The collaborative effort is designed to leverage and coordinate resources to work with new or existing companies that have the potential for providing high paying jobs and sustained growth in national or global markets.
InfoSiftr is a custom software development company that provides programming services to third parties and offers a novel way to sift information. The core services allow clients to filter, select and receive only specific information through a push-network on the user’s mobile device specific to their defined parameters, such as keywords, location and other types of data.
InfoSiftr’s general manager and CEO Justin Steele utilized the incubator for networking opportunities with talent to grow his company. Staff from SEED Dixie, which stands for Stimulating the Expansion of Entrepreneurial Development, introduced Steele to Dixie State University professor Russ Ross who recommended some talented students who later graduated and became the foundation of the software’s development and programming team.
“We were able to tap into a wealth of experience and expertise at ITRE and their partners that allowed us the ability to meet and pitch to investors or connecting with local talent, but most importantly the resource base and staff allowed us to focus on growing our company,” said Steele. “InfoSiftr was founded in 2010 and in just the past year we have grown to eight employees with plans to add several more in the coming year.”
While InfoSiftr has recently outgrown the ITRE, the incubator provides offices for companies for two to six employees with extremely favorable lease rates that are month to month. These spaces allow the companies to interact with their mentors on a daily basis, something that Xtiri CEO Richard Shillander said was vital to their future success.
“Being located at the ITRE gave us access to business advice, networking and interaction with like-minded entrepreneurs,” said Shillander. “After only one year in the facility we were able to make our business expand and are planning to hire a substantial amount of new employees within the next year.”
Xtiri focuses on software that boosts productivity in the oil and gas industry. The software converts analog to digital data allowing it to be effectively tracked, organized, stored and analyzed. Currently, they are focused on oilfield service companies that use thousands of paper tickets to manage their production and invoicing. The company officially launched in the spring of 2012 with customers in major oil fields as well as energy producing including Indian Tribes.
As the ITRE incubator looks to the future the incubator is planning to work more closely with budding business and entrepreneurs with innovative concepts.
“The incubator is currently adding some shared space for very early startups who need to come in for meetings or to collaborate with other entrepreneurs,” said Elliss. “We think this new shared space, along with the services of the Business Resource Center will become the heartbeat of entrepreneurship in the community.”