Catapult Introduces Everest Program

 Mentorship program connects established Chicago tech companies with promising startups by including personal access to “Sherpa” company founders, executives and functional experts

(CHICAGO – Dec 4, 2013) Catapult Chicago, a peer-driven collaborative community for later-stage tech startups, announces its Everest Program, a full-access mentoring program connecting established tech companies with Catapult’s promising startups. Through the program, Catapult startups get unlimited access to successful “Sherpa” company founders and executives as well as managers and functional experts.

Different from other startup mentorship programs which offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to briefly meet face-to-face with seasoned founders and CEOs, the Everest Program provides startups with deeper access across all functions within participating companies. Sherpa companies not only participate in monthly in-depth discussions with Catapult startups on various topics, but also offer near real-time curated access to their company employees through the Everest email channel. As questions arise, Catapult companies can reach out to Sherpa company employees to answer questions based on their specific functional expertise.

“We’re excited about the launch of the Everest Program to better support Catapult companies in their growth and evolution,” said April Lane, executive director, Catapult Chicago. “Unofficially kicked off over a month ago, the program has already garnered greater feedback from our companies than any other mentoring program we’ve evaluated. Between this unique resource, our service provider sponsors and the residents working together amongst themselves, I am confident that we’re enhancing the Catapult community as the place where serious endeavors come to scale.”

“In the fast-changing formative phases of a company, where time and cash are at a premium, limiting mistakes can drastically increase success in the startup journey,” said Patrick Kelly, CEO, BidMed. “Getting to pick the brains of the top minds in the Chicago business community as well as their top personnel in various areas, on what they’ve done and lessons they’ve learned has been incredibly valuable.”

cleverbridge, a global full-service e-commerce provider for software and SaaS companies, is the first (of many more to come) established Sherpa companies that has generously offered the time and expertise of their entire company to help Catapult companies through the Everest Program.

“As a company who remembers being in their shoes a handful of years ago, we are thrilled to give back with the Everest Program to help raise the next wave of successful Chicago tech companies,” said Craig Vodnik, co-founder and vice president of operations, cleverbridge. “We’ve enjoyed getting to know many of the companies as they have the same entrepreneurial passion we have worked hard to maintain in our company culture. It’s certainly been mutually beneficial program.”

For more information on the Everest Program, visit