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Q&A: Citrix Startup Accelerator Challenge at Citrix Synergy 2012

In less than two weeks, VMblog will be at the Citrix Synergy 2012 event taking place in San Francisco, May 9-11.  This is always one of my favorite shows of the year, and I can't wait to be there. 

One of the things I'm looking forward to this year is the Citrix Startup Accelerator track.  Being a serial entrepreneur myself, and loving the time spent with my current and last four startups, this is the track for me!  But I'm not sure how many people headed to Citrix Synergy know about it.  So I recently caught up with Jeremiah Shackleford who is heading up the marketing efforts for the group, and I was able to find out more information to share ahead of the show.  So the million dollar question, for those who don't know yet but should, what is the Citrix Startup Accelerator?  And what is your objective as an investor?

Jeremiah Shackleford:  The Citrix Startup Accelerator is a Silicon Valley-based seed investment group. Focused on entrepreneur-led innovation, the Startup Accelerator provides early-stage investments to select startups from around the world, enabling them to benefit from the global Citrix presence, its entrepreneur-friendly environment, large customer base and seasoned market know-how.

We seek investments on the fine line between what's possible, and what the market is becoming willing to purchase. We focus on early-stage corporate venturing in enterprise and prosumer oriented startups. We're investing in open innovation and are on a mission to help great companies. Companies chosen to be in the accelerator program, which can last as long as 18 months, can receive up to $250,000 in seed funding, office space in Silicon Valley, business mentoring and access to Citrix technology & customers.  What can companies expect?

Jeremiah Shackleford:  Companies should expect to work hard and succeed! The accelerator program is about a close collaboration between the startup accelerator team and our companies, working through the customer development process, product strategy coaching, introductions to potential enterprise customers, and more. We select companies committed to their ideas and allow entrepreneurs at similar stages a chance to work side by side and learn from one another as well as from our experienced partners and mentors.  What's the first year been like - and what types of companies are you focusing on?

Jeremiah Shackleford:  The first year has been extremely busy and very exciting. As a startup ourselves, we've been working through our own learning process and are starting to see our first set of companies begin to exit. In terms of our focus, we're interested in companies enabling the ‘mobile workstyle' and the cloud services that empower it. Since launching the program in 2011, 11 companies have joined our program: Primadesk, One World Virtual, Core Mobile Networks, Graymatics, GridCentric, Nukona, drumbi, GrexIt, Handy Elephant, ZeroMail and One of these companies (Nukona) has already graduated from the program via acquisition, and we're expecting to make more announcements soon.  Sounds like a great opportunity.  So how can entrepreneurs engage with the program?

Jeremiah Shackleford:  We are currently accepting applications from companies interested in joining the Citrix Startup Accelerator. The first step is to go to our website and read a bit more about what we're looking for. If you think our Accelerator is a good fit for your startup, you can find the application there. As the next step, we go thru and assess fit from our side, and then schedule follow-up interviews with the applicants we would like to move forward with. It's important to remember we pick companies for a variety of reasons including: fit with our views on the evolution of technology; the team quality; and how well a startup might complement our existing portfolio.

For more information and to apply:  What are your plans for Citrix Synergy?

Jeremiah Shackleford:  Citrix Synergy is taking place May 9-11 in San Francisco at the Moscone Center and will show attendees how cloud computing, virtualization and networking technologies are fulfilling the potential of the cloud era. This open, community-focused event will tackle the hot topics and IT challenges that everyone is talking about - mobile work styles, IT consumerization and BYO, enterprise clouds and hosted cloud services, and network optimization and security.

Additionally to support our Citrix Startup Accelerator, we are having a Startup.Synergy track designed to provide insight into this incredibly fluid landscape that is becoming more meaningful in how established corporations achieve growth.  And what is the Startup.Synergy Challenge that I've heard about?

Jeremiah Shackleford:  Startup.Synergy is part of the Citrix global Synergy conference. It is a one-day track dedicated to Citrix Startup Accelerator companies both present and future; and the Challenge is a pitch competition to decide our first investment of 2012.

The day overall will include demos from our current accelerator portfolio, an investor panel discussion, and $100,000 awarded to the new investment. Matt Marshall (VentureBeat) will be moderate the panel with Paul Weinstein (Azure Capital), Jonathan Siegel (RightVentures), Frank Artale (Ignition Partners) and Carl Showalter (Opus Ventures) discussing the implications of less time and capital being necessary to build meaningful, enterprise-grade technologies today. To register for the event go to  What are your plans moving forward?

Jeremiah Shackleford:  We've had a successful first year and look forward to pursuing even more initiatives like the Startup.Synergy track to continue engaging passionate entrepreneurs. We look forward to growing our accelerator program on a global scale and helping startups to grow their businesses and foster their ideas. The Citrix Startup Accelerator expects to announce several more new investments in 2012 as a result of this year's application process.


Again, thanks to Jeremiah Shackleford for taking time out to speak with VMblog.  And I can't wait to check out this track at Citrix Synergy this year.  This is a great opportunity for anyone who has been trying to get something funded.  

Published Friday, April 27, 2012 11:08 AM by David Marshall
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