It is bittersweet that we bid farewell to BidMed as they graduate from Catapult Chicago. Joanne Frogge, BidMed Co-Founder and COO, describes their experience, growth, and success at Catapult.
Leaving the Nest
By Joanne Frogge, Co-Founder and COO of BidMed
There comes a point when one feels a natural urge to move on. One reaches this point only after feeling they have made the most of where they have been, and that to continue to develop and grow, they must have new experiences outside the nest.
BidMed, a professional service partner for buying and selling pre-owned medical equipment, moved into Catapult in May of 2012. The attraction to Catapult was strong – Catapult provided a testing ground for BidMed’s business model by supplying two key elements. First, Catapult provided desirable office space at an affordable price with a short-term commitment lease, things imperative to a startup. Second, Catapult provided unlimited resources and opportunities to guide a start up from a concept to a successful business. From sponsor companies that are key to building a strong business foundation, to relationships with tenants experiencing the same challenges, to networking events forging relationships beyond its community, Catapult provided a holistic support system for success.
On the track for success, BidMed, with its team of four, quickly graduated from the common space area to a small office after 3 months. Through networking at Catapult events, BidMed closed its round of seed funding by meeting its final two investors. In the Catapult community, BidMed also met a talented web team to build its automated bidding platform for medical equipment. With these successes, BidMed took on a small office that provided a private, cozy place to focus on working hard and team bonding!
Over the next 6 months, BidMed launched its web-based platform for buying and selling medical equipment, and reached its goal of meeting monthly operating expenses by the end of year 1. BidMed also rented 1000 sq. ft. of warehouse space in Wood Dale, IL to house its increasing amount of inventory. This sales growth put BidMed in a position to continue expansion. In February of 2013, BidMed achieved the next, and final milestone in Catapult progression by moving into a large office. This growth could not have been possible without the support of all the relationships created at Catapult. Whether a formal sponsor or a recommendation from a fellow tenant, BidMed found its investors, legal team, accounting firm, web development team, payroll/HR service, and online marketing consultant through its Catapult experience.
The year of 2013 has been a major turning point in the progression of our business: BidMed is profitable; has demonstrated there is a global marketplace for its products; proved that its web-based platform for buying and selling works; added 3 members to the team; and felt comfortable taking on a 3 year lease for a 7,385 sq. ft. warehouse. The fear of “will we make it?” has dissipated, and been replaced by the exciting challenge of “how will we keep up with the growth, and take BidMed to the next level?” The confidence BidMed has gained, and the feeling of comfort with long-term commitments, has created a natural momentum that now pushes BidMed out of the nest. It is time to move on to bigger challenges and new experiences, and give someone else a chance at the tremendous, life changing opportunity afforded by a home at Catapult.
Catapult Chicago wishes BidMed co-founders Patrick Kelly and Joanne Frogge, and the entire BidMed team, success in their new offices. We know they will continue to soar!