It’s likely your feeds have been filled with small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups facing the dismaying effects of COVID-19. In February 2020, LaunchTN partnered with ItsBundled, a Tennessee-based startup founded by Courtney Jones, to expand the Bundled Initiative that connects startups to immediate resources that can help them accomplish their next milestone. The Appalachian Regional Commission funded the continued expansion of the project that awarded seven East Tennessee companies access to the vetted Bundled service providers right as the pandemic reached US soil: 490 BioTech, Aysha’s Friends, BeforeWeBegin, EDP Biotech, Origami Day, PowerUpFitness, and Vayska.
Bundled aggregates vendors on behalf of startups by connecting them to vetted service providers who share a passion for seeing growth in early-stage companies and who offer preferred rates. Bundled service providers offer a wide range of expertise including legal, accounting, marketing/branding, technology development, and much more. Bundled Project Managers work as an important ally in the process by identifying potential service providers and negotiating preferred rates. They also work directly with the selected startups to develop a scope of work and facilitate the connection to the service provider who is best suited to help them achieve measurable milestones.
Our East Tennessee network partners help select startups from the application submissions. The selected startups are awarded prepaid units that they can utilize with Bundled vendors to accomplish their next milestone and guarantee maximum impact.
COVID-19 challenged PowerUp Fitness and founder Stacey Baugues to figure out a way to pivot her traditionally in-person physical fitness programs for kids amid a new socially-distant environment. With Bundled units in hand, Stacey utilized her units to create a package of 15 videos available for purchase online.
“Bundled provided PowerUp Fitness with the support needed to bring my vision for a new product forward from conception to product launch within 60 days. In just two weeks since our PowerUp Premium Virtual Classes launch, we’ve already generated $1,000 in revenue on this new product alone and fully expect that to increase exponentially as our customer base slowly begins to reopen from COVID-19 related closures. We also predict a long term return value far exceeding what we would’ve been able to do otherwise on our own because of this opportunity and the support through Bundled allowed our company to expand its presence into California and Pennsylvania — markets we had not yet been able to penetrate,” said Stacey.
Founder Brandon McKinney of Vayska worked with ARO Creative to curate a stunning digital marketing rebrand to showcase their hydration packs, meant for wearer’s to “#PaintYourAdventure.”
“My natural tendency is to think things will never turn out as good as everyone makes them sound or as good as they ought to be. In this case, Bundled and ARO exceeded expectations.” Vayska’s video campaign looks like a commercial ready to air before the Super Bowl.
“Through the Bundled Initiative, Sync Space nominated a promising outdoor product startup in Vayska whom with Bundled’s guidance redeemed units with the rising women-owned ARO Creative, resulting in a powerful example of creativity and innovative products right here within our region. The Bundled Initiative is an incredible program that we are excited to see expand as it focuses on elevating Tennessee startups and empowering our state’s existing key service providers,” said Heath Guinn, President of Sync Space.
LaunchTN’s investment (supported by ARC) in the highly customizable Bundled Initiative is unique because while it provides an immediate impact on the selected startups’ ability to scale it is also investing in the growth of our Tennessee-based service providers. Especially in the COVID environment, recovery efforts must be inclusive and generate positive economic impacts. Over 40% of the Tennessee-based Bundled service providers are women, minority, or veteran-owned.
Not only is Bundled a win for entrepreneurs, but also for vetted service providers that have a history of working with startups. Frank Williamson, CEO of Oaklyn Consulting worked with EDP Biotech and their development and commercialization of immunodiagnostic tests including their new COVID-19 antibody tests to create a due diligence package for potential investors.
“Bundled is a great way for LaunchTN to connect early-stage Tennessee companies with professional services providers, like our firm. The projects are targeted and valuable for startups, and simple for professional services providers. We are grateful that Bundled connected us with a high-potential company that we didn’t know before and that valued our help,” said Frank.
The Bundled Initiative is accepting applications for startups in East Tennessee from Aug. 11-31. Apply today!