VAP Class of Spring 2020 | NetDNA

Blog April 29, 2020

Posted by Harrison Crerar

VAP Class of Spring 2020 | NetDNA Featured Image

Let’s face it, each stage of the entrepreneurial journey is unique. Entrepreneurs require different skills and a certain mindset to overcome the challenges they will come up against. Queue the Venture Acceleration Program (VAP). This six-month program is designed to support committed entrepreneurs who are ready to take their business to market. Participating entrepreneurs build life-long relationships with their peers as they work together through the startup process and engage with experienced mentors.

Last October, we welcomed several new companies to join our Venture Acceleration Fall Cohort. We are now excited to celebrate their graduation as they launch into the next stage of their journey.

We sat down with NetDNA’s CEO, Dan Arbeau, to find out how the 6-month program has helped to shape his business.

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What was one of your most important takeaways from the Venture Acceleration Program?

One thing that we learned was listening to the customer. If you’re always trying to push features and benefits, you’re not making the customer think about how it could help them. If you get on the phone with the customer and hear their problems, then you can identify where your services can fit in and solve those problems.

What was your experience like going through the program?

We went through VAP keeping an open mind. NetDNA was in a later stage than most of the other companies in the cohort, but it was good going through the basics again. Excluding COVID-19, we would have definitely been in a better place thanks to the tools and resources that were available to us. It definitely helped us lead into Scale Up programming, once we’re able to get back on track.

Will you keep up with the relationships you made during the program?

It will be really valuable to stay in touch with my lead EiR, Josh. You can’t just buy his time, $200 a month for how much we got access to him was worth the cost alone. It’ll be hard to stay in touch with other founders, as all our businesses are so different. But it’ll be great to have the opportunity to connect with them and share war stories at future events.

What’s the biggest challenge NetDNA is currently facing?

NetDNA saves company resources and brings down labour costs. We’re a valuable resource to companies looking for oil who would naturally hit gas during the fracking process. However, due to COVID-10, oil and gas, prices have really gone down. A lot of the people we were working in the oil and gas industry are no longer there. Before that, things were really looking good but we’re definitely facing a cliff. There are other things that we do but it’s not enough that I can afford to keep staff on.

What would you say to other founders who are thinking of joining a mentorship program?

Take your time to study and practice as much as possible. Be prepared and take it seriously. Make sure it’s a business you can generate revenue and keep operating outside of investments friends and family—make sure you’re not wasting that money. Otherwise, you need to be okay recognizing that your idea isn’t viable. It doesn’t mean the program was a waste of time, take those learnings and use it to inform your next idea.

Interested in learning more about VAP? Check out our programs page or connect with Brittany.

Looking for more Startup stories?

Startup News | Meet the Mentors >>

The Coach Approach with Crystal Henrickson >>

New Kids on the Block Vol. 6 >>

Victory Lap | Jestitters >>

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