Valid Eval, Kauffman Foundation partner to find why startups are successful

Denver-based Valid Eval partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to research exactly how startups and small businesses achieve success.

The organizations announced that they will look into Valid Eval's information on more than 2,000 companies across the U.S. "The principal question is: Is it possible at scale to pinpoint where entrepreneurs are on their developmental trajectory? And to do so on an an evidentiary basis," explains Valid Eval CEO and Co-Founder Adam Rentschler. "Valid Eval will assert that is true."

By working with the Kauffman Foundation's experts the groups hope to prove that assertion is true. "The holy grail is can we tie a causal relationship between these evaluations and the entrepreneurs' success and ultimately wealth creation."

Valid Eval's clients include government agencies, accelerators, universities and incubators, according to Rentschler. This includes clients like the Arizona Commerce Authority, which offers startups a chance to compete for $250,000 in funds twice a year. In all, the authority allocates $3 million annually through the program.

As companies apply through Valid Eval's platform it collects anonymous feedback information related to their applications from the experts that evaluated the companies. "If you're Kauffman, you can look at a a data set collected using a structured framework," he says. The feedback information includes qualitative and quantitative information about applications and the strategies within them.

"Measuring what is happening within large numbers of entrepreneurial companies as they develop is notoriously difficult," explains E.J. Reedy, director of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation. "Our team will look at Valid Eval's standardization of the evaluation and development processes to better understand if such structured work is helpful to improving entrepreneurial outcomes."

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Chris is a Denver-based freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. He covers sustainability, social issues and other topics.
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