Duffy Launches Ignite Accelerator For Minnesota Tech Startups

by Guest


Screen Shot 2016-09-08 at 1.00.42 PMBy Adrienne Clairmont

For Silicon Valley darlings, exploding onto the scene with a revolutionary, industry-shifting product can almost seems effortless.

But for the rest of the world’s startups, the journey from brainchild to household name is one of any means necessary.

And to begin the fundraising cycle, to even consider attracting the angel investors, you need more than a great idea.

The ability to bridge the gap between a great idea and an MVP can be a challenge and it’s where Duffy Ignite, the latest initiative from the Minneapolis-based design experience agency Duffy comes in.

Putting a new spin on startup Incubators, Duffy Ignite provides select entrepreneurs with the opportunity to trade an equity stake in their newly minted startup for access to decades of practical business knowledge, as well as the agency’s full suite of services.

Think of Duffy Ignite as a less-cheesy version of Shark Tank: individuals submit their product ideas during the agency’s annual submission window. The Duffy team then reviews the submissions and invites the finalists to pitch their ideas in person, at the agency’s headquarters. Of these finalists, one product is selected and the team gets to work.

At this time, the sole criteria for program submission is “a marketable idea that is truly useful and potentially profitable.”

“There are so many specialty incubators and accelerators. We want to specialize in successful launches that change people’s lives,” explains Duffy CEO Martin Davis.

He believes that the Twin Cities is uniquely positioned to make such a program a success, given our unique combination of strong agency and technology scenes.

Duffy Ignite was born after the Duffy team discovered they had a passion for bringing new ideas to market during the agency’s first Hackathon to complete a large-scale internal project. The team’s enthusiasm caught the attention of Davis, who, in turn, began to brainstorm ways to harness that creative energy. From there, Duffy Ignite quickly evolved into a program that was a win-win for the agency and the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul tech Market.

During each program period (which are currently slated to run annually), Duffy is dedicated to providing 500+ hours from a senior team to the winning idea, focusing on business planning, product design, production, launch, and subsequent revenue generation. Generally, the time from selection to project completion takes about three months, which gives entrepreneurs an unprecedented opportunity to jumpstart a product launch.

And while Duffy Ignite is exclusively powered by Duffy, the venture is run separately from the agency’s day to day business. Duffy employees have the opportunity to opt-in to Ignite projects, with the understanding being that participation in the program will require an additional time investment outside of the working day.

In turn, the equity stake from the project is then rolled over to the project team. The exact time and knowledge investment from Duffy varies depending on the effort required to produce a Minimum Viable Product and directly correlates to equity percentage the team will possess upon launch.

Duffy Ignite is accepting applications for partnerships through September 12th.