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An Entrepreneur Gets Knee Deep in High Growth

March 16, 2010

Adam Roth blew out his knee on May 15, 2008, three weeks before he was scheduled to present his company, StreamLink Software, to a group of potential customers. His biggest worry at the time wasn't his knee, but that he had no one to send in his place. That day was a turning point for Adam; it was the moment he started to think differently about the growth of StreamLink Software.

"My whole business was just me," Adam said. "I needed to sit down and think about how to grow this company faster." His business is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company offering non-profit organizations tools to increase their operational capacity and efficiency. As part of his 15 years of non-profit experience, Adam served as interim CEO of West Side Ecumenical Ministry, so he knows that restrictions commonly placed on grants mean non-profits can be left with limited funding for operations and infrastructure. Adam decided to fill that niche void with a SaaS model that doesn't require expensive infrastructure and developed StreamLink's first product, BoardMax. The web-based tool helps non-profits manage and increase their boards' engagement and compliance.StreamLink

StreamLink steadily gained customers after BoardMax's launch in July 2008, with noteworthy non-profits like the American Heart Association on its list of first clients. But Adam's personal experience pushed him to pursue more rapid growth. Adam connected with Chuck Birchall, IT Entrepreneur-in-Residence for JumpStart Inc., as he was finishing development of the company's second product. In working with Chuck, Adam shifted his focus from product sales to perfecting StreamLink's message in preparation for external funding. "Chuck helped me think about how to approach investors and then worked with me to polish my investor pitch," Adam said.

In September 2009, StreamLink received a $100,000 Innovation Fund grant from the Lorain County Community College Foundation and then closed out its Series A round with another $500,000 from North Coast Angel Fund and other individual investors. Around that same time, the company launched its second product, AmpliFund, which manages every element of the grant research, writing, and reporting process. 

StreamLink's customers now include several local and national non-profit organizations, including the Cleveland Foundation, Centers for Families and Children, and United Way. With an injection of funding and a growing customer base, Adam was able to hire an Executive Vice President of Business Development, an Executive Vice President of Information Technology, and a Vice President of Marketing. Today, Adam is once again focused on the company's sales, but this time with an extended runway, a growing management team, and of course, a new knee.

JumpStart is able to support entrepreneurs and their early-stage ventures, such as StreamLink Software, only due to the generous support of its funders, including Ohio Third Frontier. Renewal of Ohio Third Frontier will be Issue 1 on the May 2010 ballot.

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