Time at Matter goes quickly. We’re not kidding when we call it a sprint. (What seems like) not too long ago, we announced the fourth class of Matter entrepreneurs and companies, and dove deep into their missions and stories. But it’s already been eighteen weeks since the start of Matter Four, and we’ve arrived at Demo Day.
With help from our new and existing partners and the Matter mentor community, these teams have hit their monthly milestones for nailing top-down trends, the bottom-up user point of view, product, distribution, and business model. We’re excited to see them today, through Matter, and beyond.
“When this class started, we saw a collection of really enthusiastic, talented entrepreneurs who needed to test their ideas. It’s been cool to see them actually test those ideas, put them in front of people, get feedback, and try different things out,” reflects Ben Werdmuller, who rode alongside this class as our first alumni-in-residence.
Throughout the past eighteen weeks, these teams have worked out of the same space together. They dove straight into our human-centered, prototype-driven process — seeking feedback as they iterated, running lots and lots of experiments in order to fail fast, and collaborating to leverage the very people they sit next to day-to-day.
Lara Setrakian, Co-Founder and CEO of News Deeply, has come out of the last eighteen weeks with more “confidence and so much more know-how in how to do this right.”
“Matter moved us forward. It accelerated News Deeply faster than we could have done on our own. And it made us ready to scale, it de-risked our venture.”
But it hasn’t been easy. After all, entrepreneurship is a roller coaster. Arjun Mohan, Co-Founder and CEO of Eureka King, learned to seek out failure to find the path to success.
“Failing forward is about taking controlled risks. Then you have an idea of what’s happening. If it doesn’t work out based on your assumptions, you’re able to recalibrate and run the experiment again.”
Stephie Knopel, Founder and CEO of PersonalHeroes, went through “a constant chain of testing and testing and learning and sharpening product.”
At the end of the day, it’s all about people. We’ve had the privilege to work side-by-side with some scrappy entrepreneurs changing media for good. And they’ve had the chance to work with each other.
Tamara Manik-Perlman, Co-Founder and CEO of NextRequest, explains, “we have weekly workshops where we’ll share what we’ve been working on, and in a structured way, solicit feedback on that. It could be testing a new feature, it could be looking at rebranding, it could be thinking about a new product direction. We all share that feedback with each other to help us move forward. That’s structured right in the program to make sure we’re getting feedback on regular intervals.”
“Often times when you’re a startup, you’re somewhat in your own bubble. Unless you’re getting feedback out there from the general public, it’s hard to get honest opinions,” says Niles Lichtenstein, Co-Founder and CEO of The History Project.
“We kind of have our own focus group here who can tell us what’s working or what’s not. It’s been great to be able to leverage everyone’s expertise and network.”
Throughout the program, we tried to create as many moments of intentional serendipity as possible to connect mission-driven people from diverse backgrounds. And those moments happened “whether it was in a workshop, or during a happy hour, or just walking over casually and talking in the kitchen,” reflects Jenn Brandel, Co-Founder and CEO of Hearken.
We are doubling down on intentional serendipity today at Demo Day by bringing the media-tech universes together. To learn more about these six teams changing media for good, reach out directly to them here.
Check them out down below!
Eureka King helps publishers maximize the lifetime value of their users across web and mobile by delivering personalized and sequential user-prompts throughout the user lifecycle.
Hearken is an audience-driven platform enabling journalists to partner with the public throughout the reporting process, resulting in relevant and high performing content.
The History Project (THP) empowers families to connect artifacts and memories across media to build experiential family stories that transcend generations.
News Deeply builds single-subject information hubs that connect experts and key decision makers in an interactive community platform.
NextRequest streamlines the public records request process that is so frustrating for governments, journalists, and the public by creating a user-friendly digital portal that makes it easy for civil servants to respond to constituents.
PersonalHeroes measures peoples’ and organizations’ positive impact in the world to create a new layer of reputation for the sharing economy.