The 14th Session of Fledge

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Monday, April 29th begins the fourteenth session of Fledge. Or is it the 17th? Or 61st? You’d think counting would be easy, but the complexities of the real world get in the way.

The simplest way to count sessions is to simply count how many times we’ve taught the Fledge curriculum with a cohort of entrepreneurs. But if we do that, we have to include the dozens of part-time Kick programs, which didn’t go nearly as deep as the full-scale Fledge accelerators, and the IMPACT Startup Visa and Land Accelerators, which didn’t invest money in their participants.

We could just count the sessions named “Fledge” but that would leave out The Nature-Accelerator and Start.coop, which except for the name, were certainly Fledge sessions, including the investment capital, two months of training, a flood of mentors, and more.

The complexity of all this comes from Fledge being a mission-driven company. Our goal is to help as many mission-driven for-profit entrepreneurs as we can. If that means one of our partners runs a program different from our flagship Fledge Accelerator, that is a win.

The other lesson here is that Fledge not only teaches the concepts of testing and learning from the market, we run our business using those concepts:

Kick was a hypothesis that our curriculum would be useful to thousands of entrepreneurs. That worked, and we sold off the results of that to Spring.is.

FledgeX was launched in an effort to learn what works and what doesn’t online, to try and minimize the costs of face-to-face training. Lessons learned.

The Nature-Accelerator and The Land Accelerator tested out what happens when a whole cohort is focused on a single sector. Both are planning a second session, and that alone demonstrates success.

Start.coop asked whether the accelerator model could work for cooperative companies, and if so, what changes would be needed to make that possible. Yes it works. Yes, every lesson needs a bit of changing. But in doing that, we learn lessons of business that will flow back to the mainstream curriculum.

Which brings us back to Fledge14, nominally the fourteenth session of Fledge, the ninth in Seattle, WA, USA. Seven years and dozens of programs later, this session is expected to be even more intense than before, more efficient than ever before, and we hope to see you on Monday, April 29th, 5pm at Impact Hub Seattle to “Meet the Fledglings” and then again on Thursday, June 13th, 6pm to see the results at the next Demo Day.

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