Domi Partners with Startups.com

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Domi Partners with Startups.com

Domi Station and Startups.com Announce Strategic Partnership

Domi is excited to announce our partnership with Startups.com, an online platform offering startups education, mentors and growth tools, to better support entrepreneurs in Tallahassee.

Through this strategic partnership, we will leverage Startups.com as our online platform for our entrepreneur incubation programs: Gear Up and Ascend. Startups.com will enhance the entrepreneur education experience through a flipped classroom approach where participants can customize their educational experience. “Partnering with Startups.com allows Domi to provide a lot more value to entrepreneurs. Through the platform, they now have access to exclusive digital content including playbooks, expert advice, and videos from authorities such as Steve Blank and Alexander Osterwalde,” said Antonio Montoya, Executive Director of Domi Station. “In addition, Startups.com provides digital tools to help entrepreneurs develop their business plan and financial models, resources for effective fundraising, and much more,” added Montoya.

“Partnering with Domi Station allows us to multiply our impact by reaching entrepreneurs at a community level. Domi will provide entrepreneurs with additional hands-on support to complement their online experience and make their chances for success even higher,” said Wil Schroter, Founder and CEO of Startups.com

The Startups.com platform brings access to specialized educational content, business plan development tools, financial modeling, and playbooks along with many other resources. If you’re interested in participating in the programs, please visit: https://www.domistation.com/entrepreneur-application

About Domi Station

Through their incubation programs, Domi Station offers entrepreneurs two paths to launch and scale their business: Gear Up and Ascend. The programs focus on offering flexible online content, in-person workshops, and industry mentors for entrepreneurs to validate, launch, and grow their companies. By utilizing powerful tools, content, and community, Domi Station creates a space where entrepreneurs have the resources to succeed. 

To learn more Domi’s Entrepreneur Programs, please visit: www.domistation.com/getstarted

Contact person: Hannah King

Phone number: +1.850.391.8758

Email address: hannah@domistation.com

 

About Startups.com 

Startups.com provides education and tools to walk aspiring Founders through the entire startup process: including education, business planning, mentorship, customer acquisition, funding, and staffing.

To learn more about Startups.com, please visit: www.startups.com 

Contact person:  Wil Schroter

Phone number: 800-799-6998

Email address: wil@startups.com

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The Authentic Bloom

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The Authentic Bloom

This is a guest post by our high school intern, Christine Oh

Prior to 2018, I genuinely believed I was just a Korean immigrant who loves to laugh, play dodgeball at 3am, and eat Hot Cheetos (all simultaneously). I truly was not aware of the power one person can have to stir intentional confidence in others, and I definitely didn’t think that person could be me. Because I experienced severe bullying at school, I acquired a great lack of emotional stability. During the most difficult moments of my life, I would always think, “Why do people treat me like this?” I began to holistically translate this question to the world, especially in societal terms, and realized that the way that they treated me did not sum up who they were. I learned more about the poverty, abuse, and anger that these specific people were suffering through, and was shocked at my oblivion to their wounds. Because of how they mistreated me in their frustrations, I ultimately forgot about their humanity, dignity, and worth -- aspects that should never be lost in any human connection.

Humanity holds imperfections that we often feel too embarrassed to share. We lose jobs, people, money, and relationships, and experience traumas when least expected. We slide the white lies that we are “good” when asked how we are doing, and sneak in mediocrity when running to excellence. Throughout these underlying intricacies of human nature, we can often underestimate how our joyful victories can root from the same somber seeds of struggle. The imperfections in our lives give us courage in our shame, passion in our doubts, and confidence in our fears. There simply isn’t any defeat we cannot conquer. With our choice, hope can abundantly shower us in freedom. However, it’s that choice that can be difficult to make.

To help spread hope to strangers in the community, I founded Blooming Others in September 2018. By handing out free flowers with uplifting handwritten notes, we hope to remind people they were made for purpose and in love. We hope to radiate their worth in who they naturally are, independent from past failures, doubts, or rejections. We hope that we can show others that life doesn’t simply end in sufferings. And most of all, we hope that strangers we encounter will see that giving with unconditional love can be done by not only us, but them as well.

Courtesy: Blooming Others

Courtesy: Blooming Others

Through the tears, smiles, conversations, hugs, and gratitude that people have expressed to us, I personally have witnessed hearts open and soften as they allow hope in. From a local school’s principal that lost her husband the morning we met her, to the mother of nine who has been severely struggling with her self-image, we have received numerous emails and social media posts about the impact we made in others. It has been beautiful and transformative to see how Blooming Others has united Tallahassee residents in a seemingly minimal way.

However, as I continued to lead this group of volunteers, I began to struggle with the finances, communication, and structure of the organization. Fortunately, this realization came to me as I was getting acquainted with Domi Station; the timing was absolutely impeccable. Upon my first visit to Domi Station for my “interview,” I immediately felt attracted to the ambiance of the workspace. The dedicated entrepreneurs were not only working diligently, but also brainstorming ideas with each other. The offices were packed with team meetings, and each chair was occupied with passion, drive, and intelligence. After my meeting with Director of Community, Sabrina Torres, I left Domi feeling firm and excited. I discovered my passion in Blooming Others, and was reminded by this new community to remember my purpose. Less than a month later, on my first day as a Domi high-school intern, I was advised to develop Blooming Others using Kauffman FastTrac. Ready to acquire more knowledge on entrepreneurship, networking, and authentic perseverance, I felt inspired as I studied through each module with my cup of coffee.

It didn’t come as a surprise that the most concerning weakness of Blooming Others was its finances. We were depending solely on the small financial contributions our thirty volunteers gave each month, while buying flowers from an overpriced company. I conversed with numerous entrepreneurs at Domi, and began to enact a change in the provider of the flowers and look for other revenue streams. I designed a Comfort Colors Blooming Others t-shirt on Custom Ink with an initial order of 100 t-shirts arriving at my doorstep on February 11, 2019. 60 pre-orders, 40 indirect orders, and numerous generous donations later, we had found a new revenue stream. We gained about $600 in profit in four days, and I could not believe how many people supported our mission. T-shirt demand got higher and higher as I continued to receive messages, emails, and DM’s from local high-school students, parents, and complete strangers, wanting to place an order. I immediately ordered 60 more shirts, and was even more shocked when they all sold in less than five days, along with gaining twenty-five new members. As a seventeen year old girl and new entrepreneur, observing this dramatic growth was revolutionary. It meant that there were more flowers to buy, more people to encounter, and more hearts to transform. Even if we impacted  one person out of 100 people, that one person was worth it to me.

Courtesy: Blooming Others

Courtesy: Blooming Others

Immediately after, with the help from Director of Entrepreneurship, Hannah King, I was able to connect with the founder of Heritage Apparel, Adam Serota. Our extremely raw conversation revealed the unlimiting, incredible ways to start a business, and how age nor previous experience could ever diminish that. He encouraged me to be wise about selling t-shirts, keep researching sales, and become more aware of the market. The conversation was simple yet informative, short yet meaningful, and far beyond my expectations.

Today, eight months later, I am vastly thankful to say that Blooming Others has bloomed. We have handed out about 550 flowers in 11 different locations, and gained 55 active members. We have been sponsored by Chiles Fellow Christian Athletes (FCA) club, along with Millennium Nails & Day Spa. We helped raise funds for Relay for Life of North Leon by designing and decorating a wooden pallet photo drop at the event.  We will be expanding to the University of California, Berkeley in the fall, and designing more t-shirts, stickers, and hats to increase our revenue streams. Lastly, with the help of the Domi team, I designed a new website to spread our mission more clearly. Without the internship that Domi Station has provided me, I would never have had a fire ignited in my heart for change, action, and truth. I am extremely grateful for Domi’s openness to students, and specifically igniting my journey to authentic and purposeful service.

To the person who might be losing hope in their business, relationships, employment, education, family, and more, I desire for you to be uplifted with the open vision of hope. You are incredibly made, capable of every challenge that you will meet, and I personally believe that your strength is larger than any desire for settling in mediocrity. You are important. You are worth defending.

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What's Better Than a Business Incubator?

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What's Better Than a Business Incubator?

Pursuing Impact Through Human Outcomes: Becoming an Entrepreneur Incubator

90% of Startups Fail

That’s a tough pill to swallow, especially when startups operate out of Domi Station on a daily basis. With this daunting number as a national statistic, we began exploring our own programs to see how we can better prepare entrepreneurs in Tallahassee to find success in their ventures. As an effort to keep up with entrepreneurs at Domi, we survey them twice a year to assess how their startups are doing. This year, we decided to dig a bit deeper with those entrepreneurs that had not been successful in their startup. We  uncovered an interesting pattern: entrepreneurs that faced an early failure often found success later with another startup venture. A negative outcome for the startup is not necessarily the final fate of the entrepreneur. In fact, these initial failures bring invaluable experiences, connections, and opportunities to the entrepreneur which can be capitalized in a variety of ways, sometimes in a new venture or a new career.

While we asked ourselves how we could improve startup outcomes, we came to the conclusion that there is a better question to ask: How can we improve entrepreneur outcomes?

Traditional incubation programs focus on the business model, the numbers, and operation. Our new entrepreneurship programs will still develop these fundamental skills but make the main focus improving human outcomes for the entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are the force behind ventures. Sure, great ideas can take off but without a great entrepreneur, even the greatest idea can flop. Likewise, a great entrepreneur can make a not so great idea skyrocket. Knowing this, we decided to redefine the way we approach entrepreneurship. We’re shifting our focus from startups to entrepreneurs, transforming Domi into an entrepreneur incubator.

Through this new lens, it became clear that we could provide more value to entrepreneurs by taking advantage of our existing community assets, like mentors and supporters, while also leveraging emerging online content and resources through an experiential approach. It was time to take our own advice, disrupt ourselves, and 10x our impact. With this in mind, we designed our new programs around the following key tenets:

  1. Entrepreneurs learn at different speeds and come from different starting points: We have accumulated and identified great educational content on entrepreneurship, but entrepreneurs need flexibility and customization in how and when they learn. Some entrepreneurs are just beginning with an idea while others have already launched and need to learn how to scale.

  2. Entrepreneurs are doers and would rather spend their time creating value for their business: We have seen the most success and growth in our entrepreneurs when we can engage them in building tangible value for their business, like creating a prototype, developing financial projections, or crafting a pitch.

  3. Each entrepreneurial journey is unique but is better when shared with peers: The path each entrepreneur takes to build their startup is different but it is invaluable to have mentors and peers to bounce ideas off of, compare experiences, be challenged and held accountable. Building and growing a startup can be an isolating and taxing experience, having a welcoming, resourceful, and supportive community is critical for the well being of the entrepreneur and the success of their ventures.

  4. Entrepreneurial content has become easier to access. It’s growing in quantity, diversity, and accessibility but starting sustainable businesses continues to be challenging: There is an abundance of online resources that teach entrepreneurship and it can be overwhelming. It is critical to curate content and tools to make things easier for entrepreneurs. In addition, we are expecting a significant influx of entrepreneurs requesting our help as our local universities ramp up their entrepreneurship programs and as entrepreneurial newcomers continue to flow into Tallahassee, fleeing high-cost areas of the US and the state.

Based on the above, we redesigned our entrepreneurship programs from the ground up. Our new programs are predicated on a flexible approach where we can meet each individual entrepreneur where they are, whether it be developing a product or a sales pipeline. Based on feedback from past participants, the Gear-Up and Ascend programs were born. These two programs are designed specifically for early stage and growth stage ventures. With this new structure to entrepreneurial development and incubation, entrepreneurs with an idea or existing business are able to receive the support they need at the right time in their journey.

GEAR UP

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The GearUp program is an online based modular program designed for early-stage ventures and ideas. Modules include team creation, product development, marketing & sales, financial modeling, and incorporation. Each module is one month long and provides entrepreneurs the framework to develop their business to prepare for launch or refine certain areas of an existing business. The curriculum and educational content is available online and is paired with hands-on and in-person workshops. This program is unique in that entrepreneurs can customize their Gear Up journey, only taking the modules they need once they have shown prerequisite completion.  With this approach, entrepreneurial development is more flexible and convenient, with the ability to be completed at each individual’s pace.

ASCEND

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Ascend is a competitive program for entrepreneurs that have validated their business idea, have started working on their venture and are ready to take the next steps towards growth. Entrepreneurs that have “growing pains” who need guidance as they scale are ideal candidates for this program. Entrepreneurs are paired with a lead mentor for six months and have a structure of support to scale their ventures during the duration of the program. Mentors provide assistance with goal setting, creating an implementation strategy, and serve as accountability partners for the entrepreneur. During Ascend, entrepreneurs will have access to our city-wide mentor network and will also join other entrepreneurs who are running scalable companies. Ascend will offer entrepreneurs an all-inclusive Domi membership in addition to other resources to help them scale their ventures.  

Recap

The incubator has been historically a "business factory" where the driving assumption is that business formation follows a straightforward process that can be coded and replicated. By focusing solely on the business, which is by nature fleeting, traditional incubation leaves out the one lasting factor, the source of new businesses and ideas: the entrepreneur. While having a solid business model and implementation strategy is required for a successful business, the founder behind a startup is the critical ingredient without which the venture is not possible. Our new approach to incubation harnesses the power that personal development in a founder can have on their business operations, ultimately leading to greater impact. Our theory is that if we focus on developing entrepreneurs as founders, surround them with a dynamic community and the right resources, then entrepreneurs will not only grow their ventures but our local entrepreneurial ecosystem as well. As an incubator, we are constantly evolving to improve the way we support entrepreneurs, Domi’s Gear Up and Ascend programs are a critical piece in accomplishing that mission.


To learn more about our programs visit domistation.com/build and register now!

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Domi Station Appoints New Director of Entrepreneurship

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Domi Station Appoints New Director of Entrepreneurship

Domi Station is excited to announce Hannah King as its new Director of Entrepreneurship, beginning February 2019. Hannah has been a member at Domi since 2016 as an entrepreneur herself and has also been involved in a variety of entrepreneurship programs locally and nationally. She is the founder of Woven Futures, an ethical fashion company that links the world’s most remote artisan groups to the U.S. fashion market through sustainable supply-chains and fair-trade.

“As an entrepreneur, Hannah brings a unique perspective to our entrepreneur development and incubation programs. We are excited about the plans we have laid out to scale up our programs, on top of the foundation of Domi’s work since 2014, and the opportunity to leverage the growing entrepreneurship ecosystem and partners in Tallahassee,” said Antonio Montoya, Domi’s Executive Director.

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Hannah has participated in Domi’s Get-Started Program, Innovation Park’s Entrepreneurship Excellence Program, and is a Future Founders Fellow - a competitive national fellowship based in Chicago that accelerates startups and develops founders around the nation. This past November, Hannah was named the winner for the GSEA Entrepreneurs Organization regional competition in Florida. Hannah’s extensive involvement in her venture and entrepreneurial ecosystems exemplifies her passion for the field and places her perfectly as Director of Entrepreneurship.  

“I first came to Domi in 2016 where I met other entrepreneurs who quickly became like family. I’ve seen the power of community that this space has, from meeting friends who taught me the basics of coding to having a sounding board when I needed it. That kind of culture kept me at Domi for years and is ultimately the reason I’m staying in Tallahassee; to keep fostering community and space for entrepreneurs to thrive.” Said, Ms. King.

Hannah’s journey in entrepreneurship began in her home country Guatemala where she began Woven Futures after meeting several talented textile artisans. Seeing how unique their craft was, she began to search for ways to connect artisans to the U.S. markets while also helping them rise above poverty through fair and sustainable income avenues. She was awarded 1st Place Social Enterprise at the FSU InNOLEvation Challenge in 2016 and has continued growing her venture since.

About Domi Station

Domi Station is a non-profit coworking space and incubator with the mission of maximizing human outcomes through entrepreneurship and innovation. Domi is the home of entrepreneurs and innovators in the Tallahassee metro and is actively involved in growing the local startup community through supporting services, resources, connections, and community. For more about Domi visit domistation.com.

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Domi Station Appoints New Board Chair

Domi Station is excited to announce Yuh-Mei Hutt as the new Board Chair, beginning January 1, 2019. Yuh-Mei has served on Domi’s board since 2016 and has played a major role guiding the growth of the non-profit. She is also the President of Golden Lighting, a decorative residential lighting manufacturer that sells to lighting retailers across North America.

“Yuh-Mei brings over 16 years of operational and strategic experience to Domi. She has an infectious enthusiasm for the entrepreneurial community. I’m excited to share that passion on the board,” said David Lawson one of the founding members and immediate past chair of Domi Station.

She has been actively involved in the business community since 2006, including groups such as the Tallahassee Chamber, Jim Moran Institute, and Tallahassee Entrepreneurs Organization. In 2008, Yuh-Mei started a women’s CEO roundtable group, which is still active today.

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In 2015, Yuh-Mei got involved with Leadership Tallahassee, driven by a desire to foster an innovative culture in Tallahassee. “I wanted to build a community of people who believe the future is positive and that we could make a difference. Leadership Tallahassee introduced me to like-minded people and also helped me understand the different layers to this community so that I could be a more effective leader.”

Yuh-Mei loves Domi’s mission of helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. “I’m excited to help grow Domi’s impact and serve more people in our community,” said Mrs. Hutt. “I have a selfish desire to create a community that my young children will want to stay in and build their dreams. I love Tallahassee and I want to contribute to its growth by helping build a vibrant entrepreneurial community.”

Domi Station just celebrated its 4-year anniversary last summer and had some great successes grow out of its programs: DivvyUp Socks, Cuttlesoft, Vale Food Company, Catalina Cafe to name a few. In 2018 alone, companies that have participated in Domi’s programs have created 46 jobs, generated over $4MM in revenues and attracted over $2MM in investments. And 2019 is shaping up to be even better.

Now it’s time build on that track record, scale Domi’s programs, and spread the word.

“We have great momentum right now. Our facilities are filling up and our entrepreneurs are demanding more. We are strategizing ways to support our members’ current and future needs and Yuh-Mei’s leadership will be crucial in this process,” said Antonio Montoya, Executive Director of Domi Station.

Yuh-Mei will work alongside fellow board members Reis Alsberry, Director of Technology Trasnfer and Export Control at Florida A&M University, Christic Henry, President and Managing Broker at Kingdom First Realty and President Elect of Council of Neighborhood Association, Jake Kiker, Co-Founder of Domi Station and Partner at Williams Gautier, David Lawson, Co-Founder of Domi Station and CEO of NewSci and David White, Partner at Carr Riggs & Ingram.

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Domi Station to Participate in National Pitch Competition

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Domi Station to Participate in National Pitch Competition

Domi Station was selected to participate in the fourth iteration of Pitch Distilled - a multi-city competition sponsored by Gentleman Jack Double Mellowed Tennessee Whiskey and WIRED Brand Lab. The incubator has been challenged to formulate a pitch and idea that resolves a sustainability issue and represents them at a national scale.

Thanks to Domi Station’s strong community ties, the incubator will put together a team that best represents Tallahassee with the support of local partners like Leon County, Florida A&M University, Sustainable Tallahassee, Florida State University, and the City of Tallahassee.

On Thursday, January 24th at 5:30pm, the incubator will be hosting an Information Session at their facility (914 Railroad Avenue) to go over the competition, present existing sustainability problems in the local area, and begin the team selection process. This event is free and open to the community.

The Pitch Distilled winner will be selected by the public through a national, online voting process and the first-place team will receive a monetary award and branded feature on WIRED.com. Other competing cities include Oakland, Philly,  Houston, Denver, Detroit and Atlanta.

"We're thrilled to bring Pitch Distilled back for the fourth year to a new group of markets across the US," said Ben Osei, Gentleman Jack Associate Brand Manager. "Our founder Mr. Jack Daniel instilled a passion for sustainable stewardship and environmental protection that still exists within our distillery today. Our hope is that this program will inspire our friends and partners to do the same."

New this year, each submission will be uploaded to https://www.wired.com/pitchdistilled/, and viewable to the public—who will ultimately vote on the winning pitch in March 2019. Each team is competing for a sum of $10,000, an interview and professional photoshoot with a WIRED Brand Lab editor on WIRED.com, and a reception featuring a special keynote speaker at their incubator location.

Pitch Distilled is also proud to partner with actor, filmmaker and social advocate, Adrian Grenier, who has spent much of his career supporting organizations focused on habit-changing education and nature conservation. As part of the partnership, Grenier will serve as keynote speaker at the winner reception and support the competition on social media.

"I'm pleased to partner with Wired and Gentleman Jack for the fourth installation of Pitch Distilled," said Grenier. "This year we're empowering local communities to tackle an important issue and I look forward to reviewing the submissions and casting my vote."

Pitch Distilled kicks off January 17 on https://www.wired.com/pitchdistilled/.

For more information on Pitch Distilled visit https://www.wired.com/pitchdistilled/. For the latest news on the Pitch Distilled, including event dates, location, and updates follow @WIREDInsider on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About Jack Daniel's

Officially registered by the U.S. Government in 1866 and based in Lynchburg, Tenn., the Jack Daniel Distillery, Lem Motlow proprietor, is the first registered distillery in the United States and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Jack Daniel's is the maker of the world-famous Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey, Gentleman Jack Double Mellowed Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Rye Whiskey, Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire, Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select and Jack Daniel's Country Cocktails. Today, Jack Daniel's is a true global icon found in more than 170 countries around the world and is the most valuable spirits brand in the world as recognized by Interbrand.  Your friends at Jack Daniel's remind you to drink responsibly.

Pitch Distilled is produced by WIRED Brand Lab, a creative and experiential in-house agency for the WIRED Media Group, which includes WIRED, Ars Technica, and Backchannel. WIRED Brand Lab connects brands with a WIRED-approved roster of writers, filmmakers, photographers, designers, and engineers, for cross-platform storytelling experiences with a distinctly WIRED-style.

About Domi Station

Domi is a non-profit startup incubator and coworking space with 125 active members. We offer programs, resources, and events that help entrepreneurs start and scale sustainable companies. Our regional network enables us to match our members to seasoned mentors, investors, and industry advisors. Domi’s incubators programs educate and empower early-stage entrepreneurs.

SOURCE WIRED

Related Links

http://www.wired.com
http://www.domistation.com

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Get Started: Spring 2018 Cohort

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Get Started: Spring 2018 Cohort

Get Started is a program designed to help our local startup community grow. Through our cohort, we help startups test their ideas and bring them into reality. Get to know the companies that made up our Spring 2018 Cohort!

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The Neighborhood: Part Two

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The Neighborhood: Part Two

Over the past few months, our team has been meeting up with local restaurants in hopes of getting to know them, their work, and their mission like never before. We want to highlight what makes them special in our community and with #TheNeighborhood, we did just that. Here’s PART TWO.

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The Neighborhood: Part One

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The Neighborhood: Part One

Over the past few months,  our team has been meeting up with local restaurants in hopes of getting to know them, their work, and their mission like never before. We want to highlight what makes them special in our community and with #TheNeighborhood, we did just that.

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Domi Receives $35,000 in New Support from Knight Foundation

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Domi Receives $35,000 in New Support from Knight Foundation

In January 2018, Domi Station was awarded a $35,000 matching grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida. Domi will use the funding to support its flagship incubator program Get Started, adding resources to strengthen the program and ensure its continued positive impact on the community.  

“I’m proud to say that over the last four years, we have engaged 113 early-stage startup teams through incubator programs,” said Lucas Lindsey, Domi’s former Executive Director. “Knight Foundation and the Community Foundation of North Florida have been great partners since Domi first opened in 2014, this grant is a renewed sign of confidence in our ability to execute and make a difference.”

Over the next few months Domi’s new Executive Director, Antonio Montoya, will be working closely with our Board of Directors to match the $35,000. “I have no doubt that our local business partners and funders will raise to the occasion and help us meet, and perhaps exceed, the matching goal so that we can continue to serve entrepreneurs turn their ideas into sustainable businesses.”

Knight Foundation is a national organization that supports journalism, the arts and communities; its support of this project through the community foundation helps to highlight Tallahassee’s growth and its emerging innovation. The support will help Domi advance its mission to empower early-stage entrepreneurs to scale up, connect with the community and local resources, and give the future a home.

“Our startup community has made it to the national radar and it can only continue to go up from here as we build and continue to empower local talent!” said Montoya.

 

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.

 

 

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Domi Names New Executive Director

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Domi Names New Executive Director

To our friends, partners, and members--thank you all for your support as we have waded through a time of transition. We are excited to announce some important news. After interviewing candidates from across the Southeast, our Board of Directors has selected Antonio Montoya to lead Domi forward as our new Executive Director. Antonio and his family will relocate to Tallahassee from Huntsville, Alabama, a significant decision that we feel speaks both to Antonio’s commitment and the attractive energy of our community’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

There is so much momentum right now--if you haven't had a chance to read our look back on all that's happened over the last few years, please give it a read here. Antonio will work with Domi's team, Board of Directors, and members to build on the foundation that has been laid. 

“I am very excited to join Domi's team and continue the great work started by Micah and Lucas," said Montoya. "I believe that Tallahassee is well on its way to create a truly inclusive and diverse startup community, I see Domi as a key catalyst for it, and I can’t wait to add to this effort leveraging Domi’s resources as a convener, incubator, and accelerator."

Antonio did not just meet the qualifications our Board of Directors were searching for in a new Executive Director--he exceeded them. Montoya last served as Executive Director of HuntsvilleWest, a high-impact coworking space serving the greater Huntsville area. Prior to HuntsvilleWest, Montoya made significant contributions to the growth of the startup ecosystem in North Alabama launching a broad range of initiatives under the Rocket Hatch umbrella, a non-profit entrepreneur support organization he co-founded. 

He has also supported state and national efforts including Alabama Launchpad and the SXSW Accelerator, and is a member of the Startup Champions Network, a national organization focused on innovation ecosystem building. Prior to Rocket Hatch, Montoya held executive positions at several global technology companies and has been involved in multiple startup ventures since his college days. 

David Lawson, the Chair of Domi’s Board, was impressed by Antonio’s deep background in tech, business development, and building a startup community in another midsize Southeast city. 

“Antonio leaves Huntsville with a legacy of spurring growth and excitement around entrepreneurship,” Lawson said. “Everyone speaks highly of his integrity and hard work, and now we have the opportunity to incorporate his experience, network, and vision into the next phase of Tallahassee’s development.”

Our incoming leader will hit the ground running over the next few weeks, officially taking over the role of Executive Director on April 1st. This timeline leaves our team multiple months of crossover before Lucas departs for Phoenix in late June. 

“Antonio brings a wealth of executive experience particularly in the areas of startup incubation and coworking," said Jake Kiker, Domi Co-Founder and Board Vice-Chair. “Most importantly, Antonio shares our vision of a collaborative approach to growth by leveraging all local and regional players, and connecting us and our members at the national level.”  
 

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Please join everyone at Domi Station in welcoming Antonio and Ana to our community! To find out a little more about their impressive work in Huntsville, click here!

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The Room by the Railroad: A Look Back Over Domi's Last Few Years

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The Room by the Railroad: A Look Back Over Domi's Last Few Years

A few years ago, when I was first exploring Tallahassee's seven hills, before I’d figured out the difference between Tennessee and Mahan or, more complicated still, Macomb, Railroad, and Wannish, I wrote an article about the room by the railroad. I wrote about Tallahassee as I saw it, through the eyes of a newcomer, someone who had moved from a metro of 4,500,000 to a metro of 370,000 while my wife took on the challenge of earning a Phd. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was writing about the room where I’d spend the next four years of my life, working days and nights and weekends now and then to help people believe in things bigger than themselves.

Fast forward and Domi, true to its name, has become a home. Like others searching for a like-minded community in a new place, I found a family here. I learned to lead here. Indeed, I grew up here. It has been my greatest honor to help shape and execute Domi’s mission. The results have created a strong foundation for all that comes next. Since our opening, Domi member companies have collectively raised $5.4m in investment and grants, fueling this city's growing fire of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Notably, Domi began as a meetup group, gaining momentum by gathering people. We've kept that going each and every year, organizing or hosting 465 events at Domi Station since the doors opened. From data science meetups to hackathons with Visit Tallahassee and Florida A&M, these events engaged and, I can only hope, inspired thousands of North Florida residents of all ages, backgrounds, and interests. 

Without a doubt, Tallahassee's visibility as a startup community has increased, earning shoutouts as a Top 50 City for Entrepreneurs and strengthening connections to major startup hubs in places like Raleigh/Durham, Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Miami. Over the last few years, Domi's website alone has collected over 163,000 views. Don't let anyone tell you different: there are eyes on this city.

People have grown more confident, more empowered, and fallen more in love with Tallahassee. Even those who have left, or will leave, often feel a certain debt to this community because it believed in them, embraced them, and let them have an impact. If I had to list all of the companies and entrepreneurs creating that impact, this post would go on and on. Amazingly, Domi's incubator programs--flagships like Get Started, TCAP, and PowerUP--have engaged with 113 early-stage teams since we opened our doors in 2014. Every one of them was important to the movement.

More than a mere business incubator, I believe Domi has become a place where Tallahassee challenges itself and its history, however unjust, to go above and beyond, to defy stereotypes, and to become a community worth calling home. I'm most proud to say that over the last two years, 50% of our Get Started participants were people of color and 40% were women. Domi has become a place where people who wouldn’t have otherwise met meet. And perhaps that, however humble, is actually its most notable achievement. 

Thank you to Micah, Jake, David, and John for welcoming me to the family. Thank you to our Board of Directors for your mentorship. Thank you to Sabrina and Dominick for having my back. Thank you to our sponsors and partners who believe, organizations like Leon County, Florida A&M University, and Florida State University. Thank you, Tallahassee, for letting me be a part of this amazing moment in your history. I cannot wait to follow along as you continue to build your future.

I’ll close the same way I closed that first article because, in spite of all the metrics and momentum of the last few years, some fundamental things remain true, and more work remains.
 
“It's pretty clear that nobody is here by accident. Everyone is right where they need to be, and if they work together they might do more than just build businesses—they might help change the way we talk about an entire community.”

Much ❤️,
Lucas
 

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Domi Station Executive Director Lucas Lindsey to Step Down in March

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Domi Station Executive Director Lucas Lindsey to Step Down in March

After months of preparation alongside our Board of Directors, staff, and community partners, Lucas Lindsey will be stepping down as Domi’s Executive Director at the end of March. 

Lucas has played a core role in Domi’s operation and growth since our nonprofit first opened its doors almost four years ago. He was hired as Domi’s Community Manager in May 2014, serving as the organization’s first employee. In July 2016, Lucas was named Executive Director, marking the beginning of a phase we affectionately called Domi 2.0.

“Without a doubt, Tallahassee is a different, more dynamic city than the one I moved to for grad school six years ago, and I’m proud that Domi has played a role in making that happen,” Lucas said. “Our community is in a strong position to double down on the recent momentum toward building a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

During Lucas’ time as Executive Director, Domi hit a number of important milestones, such as

  • Engaging 58 early-stage startup teams in a Domi incubator program;  
  • Increasing the diversity of our Get Started program, with women representing 40% and people of color representing 50% of participants;
  • Launching I/O Avenue, a nonprofit digital skills academy, in partnership with Florida A&M University and the Mayor’s Office

“Lucas was pivotal over the last few years to the activity and impact of Domi Station,” said David Lawson, Chairman of Domi’s Board of Directors, “Under his leadership, we saw strong growth in membership, programming, and community partnerships. He will be missed, but we couldn’t be happier for his family as they take on the next phase of life.”

Lucas plans to relocate this summer to Phoenix, where his wife has accepted a faculty position at Arizona State University. Returning to his roots in urban planning and real estate, he will be joining Venue Projects, a redevelopment practice active across Arizona.

For Lawson and Domi’s Board members, the next steps are clear: Finalize the selection of a new Executive Director and execute a smooth transition. To that end, Lucas will remain available to the team as a consultant through June.

“We have spent the last few months interviewing experienced, entrepreneurial candidates from across the country,” Lawson said. “We are excited to be nearing the finish line, and we will have an announcement ready within the next few weeks.”
 

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