The Citrix Startup Accelerator officially launches today, as 18 of the Triangle’s brightest young entrepreneurs embark on an intense three-month journey inside of Citrix’s brand new office building in downtown Raleigh.
The seven teams prevailed over a long list of applicants, including many from out of the region. But the accelerator is home-grown, said John McIntyre, the program’s managing director.
This includes all members of the two internal teams – teams that are working on potential Citrix products. They’re local employees of the company, given approval to spend 100% of their time working as intrapreneurs.
Despite original plans to run the accelerator with five local intrapreneurial teams, Citrix rolled back to just two, said McIntyre.
Citrix isn’t sharing much about their intrapreneurial teams, or the projects under development. Nevertheless, expect the teams to participate just as fully as the entrepreneurs accepted into the program, and to give excellent presentations at the accelerator’s final event on Dec. 8.
They’ll do so alongside five teams from Raleigh, including Joosy, headed by Juan Benito. Joosy is arguably the most established company of the group, and that is by very intentional design, said McIntyre.
“The program is intended for young companies that are attempting to validate their business models,” said McIntyre, who started the Citrix Accelerator Program in Santa Clara in December 2010. (Read more about the first seven selections at WRAL TechWire.)
Big Local Impact
“This will be a huge boost for local technology teams,” said Derrick Minor, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Manager for the City of Raleigh, given the incredible value-add that the accelerator will add to the young companies.
Citrix could be modeling the future of entrepreneurship in the Triangle, and possibly, the world, said McIntyre.
Citrix aims to create the “ripple on effect,” said McIntyre, “I think we’re giving this ecosystem momentum.”
In the near future, said McIntyre, “we’ll see a lot more corporations get behind this concept.”
The collaboration with Red Hat and connection with other business units in and around Raleigh and Research Triangle Park gives the companies a robust opportunity to network with and through business units to position their business-to-business products, identify beta users, and gather important data.
Our local companies, said McIntyre, “have huge networks that can really help these entrepreneurs.”
Startup Launching Pad
Providing space for intrapreneurial teams to participate is a huge win, said Minor, “as it will act as a launching pad for products and companies to spin-out of our larger corporations.”
Expectations are high. McIntyre hopes that companies will be ready to accept additional seed funding or even venture capital. He plans to ensure there are investors from the local ecosystem as well as those to whom Citrix is connected that make the trip from the west coast.
“We’re in Silicon Valley,” said McIntyre, “it’s really hard for investors from the West Coast to know and understand what is happening on the East Coast.”
Most don’t bridge the gap, but there’s starting to be a shift.
“We’re getting more global,” said McIntryre, “there are less islands.” McIntyre will be traveling between Raleigh and Santa Clara throughout the three-month accelerator program, creating that vital connection between Citrix and the west coast and the growing community of Citrix employees (600) and accelerator participants.
“In the next few years,” he added, “we’ll figure out how to build bridges.”
After that, expect to see the Triangle really accelerate.