New Brunswick sales accelerator Momentum has been gaining some momentum of its own with some big wins for some of their first clients.
Momentum, co-founded by Joanna Killen and Corey Dugas, recently wrapped up a four-day blitz, funded through LearnSphere, in Vermont and Maine with client SomaDetect, a startup that will help dairy farmers produce the highest quality milk possible. The team visited more than 60 dairy farms where they spoke with potential customers about what they wanted to see in the products, how much they’d pay for it, as well as collecting letters of interest from the farmers.
“We ended up putting thousands of kilometres on our cars driving to these farms to visit these folks to get these letters … so they can say, ‘here’s all the people that want my thing,’ ” says Killen. “Learnsphere was really happy with the results and SOMA is now going through their seed investment round right now, so this information is super helpful.”
For Momentum, the trip wasn’t just securing potential business and getting valuable insight, it was also about teaching the clients how to eventually do this kind of work on their own.
“Getting out there with them and the component of this was training them to this work. So we actually brought the team to Vermont with us instead of just doing the work for them,” says Killen. “We went to farms with them and got them way more comfortable talking to their customers, because they’re all technologists, they’re engineers. So they kind of wanted us there to guide them.”
There’s no better way than getting to know the end-user than talking to the person,” adds Dugas. “Just going in and fitting in with them and letting them know that you respect what they do and letting them know how it helps them.”
Killen says Momentum is replicating this experience for their other clients. No matter what type of business you’re in, getting in front of your customers is crucial. This theory proved correct when they attended A2IM Indie Week in New York City with clients Leonty Music Group and Musik is the Motive, both New Brunswick music groups.
Paid for with help from Music New Brunswick’s business development program, Momentum attended 46 meetings in three days. By the end, they were able to secure global partnerships for both clients to have their music represented by publishing and licensing agencies.
Farmers, [record] labels and publishing companies and all those types of folks, it’s the same thing. You’re being a personable individual who fiercely represents the person you’re there for,” says Killen.
“It’s super easy to get excited about them and talking to these people, but we have to do our research and have all these crazy notes and really understand how the industry works. But that’s the fun of Momentum, we get to do all these different kinds of things.”
Momentum has also secured its first out-of-province clients, Giving Gateway, a Toronto-based company that offers technology for nonprofits to easily do peer-to-peer fundraising.
“We’re doing some market validation again. We’re going out to these nonprofits and saying, ‘what do you want to see inside this software? How should this look for you to want to use it?’ ” says Killen. “We’ve been with them now for four months and trying to get them into nonprofits to get more clients, but going at it from a way of, ‘what do you want to see in this technology?’ ”
When Momentum was first conceived at New Brunswick Startup Week last December, the vision was to become a sales accelerator for businesses, as well as a sales training program for people who want to learn. Dugas says that’s still the plan, though long term.
“With the sales training, we still want to do that,” he says. “But we realized we have to get our model right before we bring a bunch of people on to train them.”
When people think of startup accelerators, most think it terms of cohorts, where all companies take part in similar programming and receive the same kind of assistance. Momentum has taken a more consultant-style approach, where each client gets customized assistance. It is a model that Killen and Dugas says has been working well.
“The accelerator is what we are. Whenever anyone works with us, we think every entrepreneur needs their own customized [program],” says Killen.
“We’re more like the co-pilots of business,” says Dugas. “When you sign on us, we’re part of your management team. We work to create it together. We not only create the strategy, but we’re going to do it make sure it works with you.”