Straight Shot announces former MindMixer employee as new director
"I am most excited to start building the critical coalitions needed to make year two (and beyond) a success for Straight Shot," Arnold told Silicon Prairie News. "We hope to have 10 companies in the accelerator this year. That means we need support from the region and startup community at-large to see them succeed. This program was a major catalyst for the startups, the business community and the city of Omaha in 2013. We have so much momentum and opportunity ahead, it's really quite thrilling."
Replacing the accelerator's previous director, Faith Larson, Arnold comes to the position from MindMixer, where he was the startup's seventh employee. "When you start with a company at that ground floor, you are forced to be scrappy, agile and intensely committed to the cause you're working toward," he said.
Arnold also worked for Omaha mayor Jim Suttle, where he led the development of EngageOmaha.com. "While the City of Omaha is not a startup in the traditional sense, we were responsible for building and cultivating a community," he said. "That experience will serve me well as Straight Shot helps to fuel the exciting Omaha startup ecosystem."
For its second class, Straight Shot organizers told SPN last month they plan to expand the program to 10 or 12 companies. The accelerator's founder, Mark Hasebroock, said the program will focus more on one-on-one collaboration between key mentors and companies, and Arnold echoed the sentiment.
"Something we have heard from several involved mentors was that their role was somewhat unclear," he said. "We have to change that, and we have to find the mentors that match what each individual startup's needs might be. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to mentoring."
Arnold added that his other goals include providing more value for Straight Shot's sponsors and including more of the Midwest's startup leaders in the process. Applications for the second Straight Shot class will be available in January.
Credits: Photo courtesy of Straight Shot.