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Jax Daily Record Friday, Sep. 23, 201612:00 PM EST

One Spark co-founder Elton Rivas launches startup to help startups

by: David Chapman

Elton Rivas took a much-needed break earlier this year.

After the One Spark co-founder transitioned away from the annual crowdfunding festival in January, he did a little backpacking. He spent more time with the bride he married in November. All in all, the time off was a needed respite.

“I was thankful for the ability to do that,” Rivas said.

Within three months, though, he was back in the world of startups.

Rivas initially connected with Will Little a few years ago through a discussion in the startup community.

Conversations picked back up in the spring and before long, Rivas, Little and several others in April founded Prota Ventures, a firm that helps launch projects and invest in early-stage entrepreneurs. There are offices in Chicago, Seattle and Jacksonville.

For Rivas, the passion to start new things, new projects was back.

Last week, Prota launched Startup Rocket, a web-based service meant to guide entrepreneurs through a plan of ideating, validating, creating, growing and ultimately funding their startup.

Rivas said many startups often don’t have a concise plan or go off schedule, which can lead to frustration.

The information is out there, he said. There are business plans, how-to web articles, self-help guides and the like.

Startup Rocket, though, has all those elements and provides an operational framework to more smoothly get from an original idea to the point where investors are interested.

Think of it as go-to guide that assists in fortifying ideas, recruiting a team, designing a product and so on toward the path to funding.

Rivas said even as the founders were crafting the product, they’d have to take a step or two back and fill in the gaps. They could have used Startup Rocket for Startup Rocket.

A starter plan is free and provides the basic platform.

Other plans range up to $500 a month and provide online coaching and support along the way.

When it launched last week, the product landed with an initial splash — it placed second in interest for the day on Product Hunt, a website geared toward the tech community. It can be found at

Rivas said other Prota offerings are being worked on, but the focus so far with the group has been Startup Rocket.

He’s happy to be back in his element, working on startup endeavors after his time dedicated to One Spark.

“I think I learned a lot being an entrepreneur myself,” he said. “I am approaching this with a new lens. I learned from it and I am pretty excited about this.”

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