Over the past two years, Alex Lavidge, CEO and co-founder of Startup Champs LLC (previously director of GIGTANK at CO.LAB and VP Business Development at Variable, Inc.) has focused on facilitating the discovery of market research insights that accelerate sales performance.
Regional clients have included Bridge Innovate, Finworx, Smart RIA, Kahuna Brands and Pass It Down as well as new ventures across the country from San Francisco to Austin, Texas.
“A lot of these clients are established corporations seeking to create more recurring revenue streams, or, they are self-financed startups,” Mr.
Lavidge said. “In either case, they want processes to follow that will make it easier to grow sales for new ventures upward to their first $1 million."
In addition to expanding its sales and marketing services, Startup Champs will focus on creating multimedia content for entrepreneurs during its first year of incorporation. Additionally, it will be gathering market insights before designing software products and launching an online accelerator program for startups seeking investment capital.
Dania Hernandez, co-founder and chief creative officer at Startup Champs, moved to Chattanooga last December from Austin. After 10 years working in accounting for tech startups in New York City and Austin, she too saw a need for an agency helping entrepreneurs go through design thinking processes. At Startup Champs, she now leads both user experience and new product design.
“Behind every scalable business model is a well-thought-out user experience,” she said.
Both Mr. Lavidge and Ms. Hernandez say they feel "right at home" in the INCubator.
"The startup community here is so warm and welcoming, unlike any other I’ve visited across the world,” Ms. Hernandez said. “It also puts us in the middle of a lot of robust collaboration about how to improve success rates of new ventures and entrepreneurial energy that is as unique as Chattanooga itself."
"Both current Business Development Center business owners and grads of the program add to our economy. In a recent 12-month period, INCubator businesses generated $17 million in revenue and investment," said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. "In the BDC's 30th year, it's great to see entrepreneurship continue thriving as businesses like Startup Champs join our impressive roster of businesses the INCubator has supported."
Alexis Willis, director of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at the INCubator, said Startup Champs represents a growing focus for Chattanooga’s startups – the importance of scaling.
"Scaling is how you get your business to a higher level," Ms. Willis said. "That growth allows the business to create jobs, take on more clients – to push out of the startup phase.”