It’s been a wonderful year at the KYN Loft and we’re so proud of everything that has been accomplished. Our KYN family was embraced by Jacksonville’s startup community and we’re fortunate to have played a small but rewarding role in our ecosystem.
In a little over a year, we’ve had 448 startups apply to the KYN accelerator. Of the 6 we accepted, 5 remain active and 2 have fielded acquisition talks. KYN’s 34 mentors have held over 80 workshops. Our design and development apprentices have spent over 900 hours on our startups and have developed the skills to have a nearly 100% job placement rate—with the majority staying right here in Jacksonville.
Forbes, Business News Daily, CNN Money, The Washington Post, and Fox Business Online all featured KYN and Jacksonville as a growing startup hub. Last May, nearly 200 people from the Jacksonville community came together for our DES + DEV Assemble! event to learn how designers and developers can improve their working relationships and better collaborate. In keeping with our process of continual improvement, we held our first monthly KYN Business Reviews just last Friday, to offer direct engagement between KYN staff, mentors and local startups.
Like most startups, we’ve had our own share of bumps in our journey. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we ceased operations in early October. As a team, our current focus is to do all that we can to ensure everyone in the KYN family is treated well through this transition. We’re doing everything possible to help our talented team move on and work with our startup companies as well. People matter most to us; they always have and always will.
Though the future of the KYN program is uncertain, members of our team still plan to take an active role in supporting and growing the Jacksonville startup ecosystem. After working side-by-side with the startups, our team has grown personally committed and passionate about their success. Many of us are committed to provide ongoing guidance and advice to these businesses as needed on an individual basis. In addition, KYN has been working to help bring a private-sector code/developer training school to Jacksonville—a resource that has never been previously available to the local business community.
One final thought and a bit of fun. Since KYN’s inception, we’ve fielded questions from just about everyone regarding where the name “KYN” came from. When we founded KYN, we were focused on building strong relationships. KYN is a derivative of the word ‘kin’ or ‘family’ and we like to think of the KYN Loft as a place for our startup family to work, learn, test, fail, grow, and build something amazing together.
The 448 applicants, 250 work days, 3,000 work hours, 6 startup teams, 34 mentors, 80 workshops, 21 apprentices, and 1 great city that came together to create the KYN family have created the foundation for the future. Stay tuned!