About Us


The eHatchery Initiative is undertaken by collaborative partners led by Invest Nebraska. It is a technology accelerator model that encourages potential businesses to thrive.

The concept behind this initiative is to develop an approach to technology entrepreneurship, with a view to strengthen rural communities. It is intended to advance high-growth entrepreneurs by providing them with the business model and mentor support to establish their businesses.

Rather than competing with technology hubs for the same startups, this program will focus on viable businesses and models that would otherwise have been non-starters.

Invest Nebraska

It is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization focused on advising and investing in potential high-growth entrepreneurs in Nebraska.

Invest Nebraska receives operational funds from Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the United States Department of Treasury, the United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Development, the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority and individual donors.

Invest Nebraska is collaborating with the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Buffalo County Economic Development Council, and Xpanxion, LLC to develop and pilot this eHatchery Initiative.
To know more, visit www.investnebraska.com

How it works

  1. The members of the initiative will focus on 8 startups. In order to capitalize this drive, two funding programs exist.
  2. Companies will be encouraged to apply to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development for a prototype grant, up to $50,000, which must be matched 50%. For agricultural startups, the match is only 25%
  3. Post-prototyping, companies will have the opportunity to pitch to Nebraska investors including KAAPA, The Nebraska Angels, Dundee Venture Capital, TreeTop Ventures, Nebraska Global, Prairie Ventures.
  4. To download the eHatchery Initiative document click here (pdf size 236 KB)


Identify potential businesses

The eHatchery Initiative will identify eight startups focused on software solutions for businesses or consumers. They will go through a vigorous process of translating an idea into a product within 120 days.

Collaboration & Selection

The startups will leverage Xpanxion’s business network in Atlanta and across the country. Selected companies will be those that can introduce a product to market quickly and demonstrate an existing demand for their product.


The metrics used to for evaluation include: Customer contacts, Sales, Number of jobs created, Average salary of jobs created, Follow-on capital raised (equity, loan, grant), Income taxes paid (federal and state).



During the period of 120 days, each startup is expected to conduct a market analysis. This analysis would include first customer identification, market potential for the product, and scalability of the business.


Develop the methodology of launching version 1.0 with the assistance of software developers from Xpanxion. Involve students from the University of Nebraska at Kearney early on in the process of product development.


Release the product commercially and evaluate feedback for version 2.0. This entire process will be documented and utilized as course material for entrepreneur classes at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Rural Advantage

Advancing high-growth entrepreneurs

The primary advantage to entrepreneurs is that the lower costs of the rural model will attract those entrepreneurs and investments that would otherwise be priced out of the technology cluster market. Once started, they will be able to stretch their funding dollars further, giving them a better chance of commercial success and rapid growth. This Initiative will focus on teaching startups how to reach their first commercial release quickly and inexpensively so that time-to-revenue is accelerated and adjustments can be made based on customer feedback before their R&D budgets are fully consumed.

Presently, the rural technology startup approach has been extremely successful. However, this initial case would not have been possible had it not been for the assistance from a private company and the collaboration of public and private organizations.

By formalizing and standardizing the approach, developing the tools and templates, and providing a mechanism for entrepreneurs to engage the community, this pilot initiative will attempt to establish Kearney as a community that is not only attractive to technology entrepreneurs, but also brings wider attention to rural communities in general as potential entrepreneurship destinations.