Texas
19 November 2019

Straight from the Startup: How our MassChallenge Experience Helped Us Scale

Written by Carl Ott

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As founders of teleCalm, we entered MassChallenge Texas without knowing quite what to expect. 

teleCalm is a young company, headquartered out of Dallas, that’s building and selling phone service for families living with dementia. Caregivers purchase teleCalm service on behalf of their loved ones with dementia, to solve common problems like inappropriate 911 emergency calling habits, senior isolation and elder fraud. 

We’d previously been through two other accelerators and one or two pivots. We were already in revenue before starting MassChallenge. But MassChallenge has helped us pursue additional capital and accelerate sales. In just a few short months, we’re graduating from MassChallenge as a stronger team and company, better prepared to grow and scale.

We enjoyed many aspects of MassChallenge. A steady schedule of presentations reinforced things we already knew, filled in lots of gaps, and introduced us to helpful mentors and industry contacts. Office Hours provided one on one coaching - laser focused to our needs. 

MassChallenge created a positive networking atmosphere that opened doors and connected us with family-office investors. We liked the barter system MassChallenge set up and were able to trade skills with other cohort members. We even found well aligned interests in fellow cohort company Guide Change, and have started a collaboration with them that should help us grow together. Despite being based in Dallas, we felt completely welcome and as part of the cohort each time we visited Austin.

There were too many outstanding experiences to list them all – like office hours with Brandon Knicely, who worked with us to review and improve our pitch deck and make our story more compelling.

But we’d like to describe another great example to show how the process can work.

Near the end of the program, we started office hours with mentor Kenan Rappuchi from Sellerant. Sellerant provides systems, processes and experience to help companies grow and scale. By meeting with Kenan and his colleague Brian Talbot during office hours, we were able to work through parts of Sellerant’s commercial “Kickstart On-Boarding” process. The work we did on the commercial process that day helped us organize and document foundational elements for our brand story. It helped identify gaps and opportunities to prioritize. And it’s already helped us improve our consumer marketing and sales plans. 

We’d seen similar tools before in 50,000 person companies. But Sellerant does a neat trick to help a 5-person company leverage best practices from much larger organizations. And if that wasn’t enough, Kenan also helped us improve our investor pitch, leveraging the same foundation we collected for the “Kickstart On-Boarding” workbooks.

All in all – we’re extremely grateful to MassChallenge for pulling together such a great program, and for providing such a great experience!
 

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teleCalm founders Tavis Schriefer, Jill Schriefer, Carl Ott

 

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Mission

MassChallenge strengthens the global innovation ecosystem by accelerating high-potential startups across all industries, from anywhere in the world.