As of today, we have 16 portfolio companies and another 6 on its way in a few weeks.  That gives us 22 companies that need to find their first customers and more importantly, provide early feedback on product-market fit.  You have heard of the “product-market fit” phrase many times I hope.  The notion that you can build what you think is a very cool product but the customer base you are targeting just does not engage.  Either you built the wrong product or you have the wrong target.

One of the advantages of a program like TSF, is that we work hard to find you your early customers.  For more business oriented targets that might be 5-8 customers.  For more individual or consumer oriented products or services that might be 50 to 100.  Interestingly enough, there are more and more two-sided hybrid models where you need 100 consumers and 10-15 businesses to get a good test going.

Which brings me to one of our favorite portfolio companies PopUp (I really love them all equally).  PopUp is an app that has tips, secrets and other nuggets of information hidden all over the Triangle. It uses your phones’ GPS to uncover these nuggets and you can choose who to follow in terms of those nuggets.  On your iPhone, Call **POPUP (**76787). You will get a text message with a link to the app or visit the App Store and search for PopUp.

PopUp is running a new promotion that underscores the cooperation between the local businesses (20+) and local tech companies.  From August 16-30, 2013, participants using PopUp’s mobile app for iPhone can uncover secret menu items, discounts and giveaways at dozens of independent Durham businesses.

It really is a startup “community” when we get this kind of interaction. And one of the things Durham and the greater Triangle has going for it is the strong local business community, and the fact that they aren’t overwhelmed by local companies asking to engage.

So, thanks to the local businesses who are game to try new technologies and our local startups for creating engaging platforms for businesses and consumers alike.