get more done & avoid mistakes

Work with founders who beat the odds

You face the founder’s paradox –  it’s never been easier to start a company, build a team, and a product, but it’s increasingly likely that you’ll be one of the 9 out of 10 founders whose startup fails.

Why? You’ll run out of money, find the market doesn’t embrace your product, the business model is flawed, build an uninvestable business, pivot at the wrong time, or build other avoidable mistakes into the business.

You can’t control every determinate, but you’ve got to know how to control for the ones you can, have a vetted strategy, and focus on the right priorities.

Serial entrepreneurs we’ve learned how to build things people want and to fund our ambitions. With our playbook you can too.

Use the experiences and knowledge of life-long entrepreneurs who’ve built companies from ideas, raised seed funding, scaled, and exited successfully.

We can help you de-risk and spend less with a tailored action plan to get you to customers, growth, and first money faster. All our services are founder-to-founder. We offer three options.

Advisory geared to founders over thirty: We collaborate with the founder or the founding team to create a roadmap to take the business from wherever you are – ideation to launched – forward. Learn more.

Standalone startup tasks: For founders who only want help addressing specific tasks that every startup needs to accomplish. For example, creating fundraising-ready financials or determining the feasibility of an idea. See the services.

US market discovery for entrepreneurs abroad: We provide an easier, economical way to assess the US market for ideas and products from abroad. Learn more.  

We offer startup-friendly fees, take no equity, work on your timetable, and don’t require term commitments.

get more done & avoid mistakes

Work with founders who beat the odds

You face the founder’s paradox –  it’s never been easier to start a company, build a team, and a product, but it’s increasingly likely that you’ll be one of the 9 out of 10 founders whose startup fails.

Why? You’ll run out of money, find the market doesn’t embrace your product, the business model is flawed, build an uninvestable business, pivot at the wrong time, or build other avoidable mistakes into the business.

You can’t control every determinate, but you’ve got to know how to control for the ones you can, have a vetted strategy, and focus on the right priorities.

Serial entrepreneurs we’ve learned how to build things people want and to fund our ambitions. With our playbook you can too.

Use the experiences and knowledge of life-long entrepreneurs who’ve built companies from ideas, raised seed funding, scaled, and exited successfully.

We can help you de-risk and spend less with a tailored action plan to get you to customers, growth, and first money faster. All our services are founder-to-founder. We offer the following services. 

Advisory geared to founders over thirty: We collaborate with the founder or team to create a roadmap to take the business from wherever you are – ideation to launched – forward. Learn more.

Standalone tasks: For founders who only want help addressing specific tasks that every startup needs to accomplish. For example, creating fundraising-ready financials or determining the feasibility of your ideas. See the services.

Market discovery for entrepreneurs abroad: We provide an easier, economical way to assess the US market for ideas and products from abroad. Learn more.  

We offer startup-friendly fees, take no equity, work on your timetable, and don’t require term commitments.

WE help you bootstrap to the summit so you  fundraise from strength

Our aim is to get you as far as your type of business can go before you have to raise money. Fundraising too early consumes enormous bandwidth. The result is not assured. Ideally, we can help you bootstrap to a minimally viable product, a fast-growing customer base acquired efficiently in a big market with a solid team or strong evidence of the possibility. Then you’ll have more options and command better terms. While growth can sometimes fund itself, it’s probable that you’ll need to fundraise well before scaling. We plot the timing, respect the limits of your existing resources, and ensure you are building a company that is attractive to investors.

Raising money isn’t making money, you’re giving away future returns and control, so get more done pre-raise.

 startup advisory service

geared to founders over thirty

plan to succeed

don’t leave success to chance

Most Cresco Actus Group advisors founded their first startups in their thirties and forties, following successful careers and C-suite tenures. The personal and professional considerations, available time, and desirability of resources like accelerators, are quite different than for younger entrepreneurs. We are uniquely qualified to help those considering their options, transitioning, and those who are all in.

We work hands-on with our clients in developing and implementing strategies to get to market, start growing and achieve your startup goals. We meet you where you are – ideation to fully launched – use frameworks we know work, and concentrate on what’s important to you.  We lean in as much or as little as you want us to.

Pre-seed stage startups: Some of the areas we help with – working with you to confirm the key aspects of your proposed business – the problem, your solution, value props, target market, feasibility, business model, and unit economics. We help you find and validate product-market fit by building and testing MVP solutions. The goal is to confirm a scalable product in a way that can be pitched and demoed to attract investment, if necessary, or go-to-market. 

A faster way for founders to get their products to market, start growing and raise money that’s built for idea to seed stage startups with no equity rake on your timetable. 

Seed stage startups: we’ll create an action plan using a collaborative objectives and key results framework to set S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely – goals. We’ll work with you to refine your strategy, perfect the business model, address organization building, go-to-market plans, and fundraising as appropriate. We’re instrumental in helping prepare for a raise and investor meetings.

A la carte services

We ask for no equity or term commitments. Our fees are startup-friendly, project and result-based.

access programs & free money

There's a growing number of resources - programs, competitions, and grants - for startups. We can identify opportunities that suit your startup mission, profile, and stage. We'll help prepare your application or pitch so that you capitalize on the opportunity.

customer discovery as a service

When a superior product and standout team meet a bad market they fail. It's critical to validate your assumptions beforehand and pinpoint the right customer. We roll up our sleeves to help you find the target market, first customers, and allies.

is your idea a viable business

Before you pour your time, money, and soul into standing up a startup from an idea - full stop. It's urgent to test its feasibility. There are proven assessment methodologies we use to help answer the question and identify the early priorities that matter.

pitch deck Development or Review

We help ensure that your deck features the strongest material for the specific audience - investors, competition judges, customers, employees, distributors, suppliers - you need to motivate.

plan to raise first money

There's never been a better early-stage fundraising environment and optionality. We bring clarity to finding the right source for your startup and help you prepare the contacts, outreach, financials, and business case for the target investors.

financial model construction or audit

Your financials expose how you think about the business, your fitness for investment, and your competence as a good steward. We make sure you avoid the unforced errors and meet the moment.

we built a bridge for founders abroad

discover your us market

Incredible entrepreneurs are everywhere. The best markets are not. The US market represents a major opportunity for international entrepreneurs and the time is now. We provide an easier, cost-effective, no risk way for entrepreneurs abroad to assess their US opportunities in weeks.

Our market exploration method internationalizes the #1 US customer discovery program that’s led to 1,000’s of new businesses and billions in funding so that it’s easy-to-do for offshore entrepreneurs from abroad working with us.

A cost efficient bridge for entrepreneurs abroad to assess their US opportunities that’s built to overcome the barriers offshore founders can’t tackle alone.

Pinpoint US customers, allies, and business model without the usual costs, time, and roadblocks. You’ll know within 4 to 12 weeks- if there’s a market for your idea or product, and how you would serve it – before committing major resources.

We know the impediments that stop offshore entrepreneurs from getting started in the US and we address them for you. We have deep expertise working with individuals and teams from other cultures, time zones, and little to no English fluency in US market discovery.

Our location in Washington, DC, the nation’s capital, gives us entre to many useful resources for international business founders including for those who proceed to establish operations here. 

for founders outside the us

find the us market for your ideas and products from abroad

Incredible entrepreneurs are everywhere. The best markets are not. The US market represents a major opportunity for international entrepreneurs and the time is now. We provide an easier, cost-effective, no risk way for entrepreneurs abroad to assess their US opportunities in weeks.

Our market exploration method internationalizes the #1 US customer discovery process that’s led to 1,000’s of new businesses and billions in funding so that it’s easy-to-do for offshore entrepreneurs from abroad working with us.

A bridge for entrepreneurs abroad to assess their US opportunities fast and affordably, that removes the barriers you can’t tackle alone.

Pinpoint US customers, allies, and business model without the usual costs, time, and roadblocks. You’ll know within 4 to 12 weeks- if there’s a market for your product or idea, and how you would serve it – before committing major resources.

We know the impediments that stop offshore entrepreneurs from getting started in the US and we address them for you. We have deep expertise working with individuals and teams from other cultures, time zones, and little to no English fluency in US market discovery.

Our location in Washington, DC, the nation’s capital, gives us entre to many useful resources for international business founders including for those who proceed to establish operations here. 

About us

Operators, and investors driven by imagination, curiosity and a drive to build 

serial founder track records

All group members have started businesses from scratch, raised early money, and successfully exited. Most continue to run startups, so their guidance suits the times. 

coaches in nsf lean programs

The  US National Science Foundations I-Corps™ program is the gold standard in startup development. Participants have raised over $1B+ USD.

Seed investors and advisors

Everyone has done startup diligence from the buy-side. So we know – when – what – how – to prepare for fundraising campaigns of all types.

Practitioners

The group’s founder, Bob Gordon, aims to help fellow entrepreneurs think bigger, build smarter and reach their potential faster. It can be hard to parse the signal from the noise in the startup ecosystem. We’re practitioners…founders who run startups. Our guidance is current, actionable, and measurable. It’s tailor-made for your situation, collaborative, and designed to help you build a profitable, scalable enterprise.

Everyone in our group runs startups. We eat our own dog food and walk the talk.

For fifteen years, Bob has turned innovations that solve problems into profitable SaaS, mobile, internet, healthcare, marketplace, and personal service companies in fast moving markets. He’s also helped guide hundreds of entrepreneurs in all stages of development.

Show Founder's Bio

Bob Gordon is a successful serial founder. For fifteen years, he has turned innovations that solve problems into profitable SaaS, mobile, internet, healthcare, marketplace, and personal services companies in competitive B2B and B2C markets. He has raised millions in equity and debt funding from venture capital, institutional and private sources, enjoyed multiple successful exits, and is still building.

Bob has taught, coached, and collaborated with over one-hundred startup founders and their teams, in the early stages of business development. As an angel investor and advisor, he has vetted hundreds of ideas, seed funding proposals, and go-to-market plans working with venture capital, academic, and national grant-making institutions.

A cross-section of his experience includes; advising and evaluating seed funding applicants for Maryland’s Technology Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO); mentoring startup founders and teams in the National Science Foundation I-Corps Program at GWU and UMD; serving as Mentor in Residence for the nation’s 3rd largest collegiate new venture pitch competition; guiding Bowie State University teams in Lean Startup process; coaching international founders commercializing their tech in the US with the Korean Innovation Center; working with applicants and evaluating seed proposals for the National Science Foundation’s SBIR program; preparing Mass Challenge applicants, and supporting Virginia’s Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program. Bob was a member of a DC area angel syndicate for more than a decade evaluating scores of high-tech startups, seed funding a share.

Earlier, he led businesses known for innovations that blitzed competitors. He was President of the Eastern US, for Cingular, now AT&T, starting up the new national mobile brand and organization. Before, as President of Cellular One DC/Baltimore, he took the wireless carrier from worst to first in JD Powers measured share and reputational metrics. Previously, as the CEO of SBC Media Ventures, a national cable TV operator, a strategic pivot drove growth rates 2.5X over its peer group to earn a record valuation at exit. Bob earned a BA from George Washington University.

top organizations we've worked with

serial founder track records

All group members have started businesses from scratch, raised early money and successfully exited. Most continue to run startups, so their guidance suits the times. 

coaches in nsf lean programs

The  US National Science Foundations I-Corps™ program is the gold standard in startup development. Participants have raised over $1B+ USD.

Seed investors and advisors

Everyone has done startup diligence from the buy-side. So we know when, what, and how to prepare for fundraising campaigns of all types.

we run startups

The group’s founder, Bob Gordon, started the group to help fellow entrepreneurs think bigger, build smarter and reach their potential faster. It can be hard to parse the signal from the noise in the startup ecosystem. We’re practitioners…who run startups. Our guidance is current, actionable, and measurable. It’s tailor-made for your situation and designed to help you build a profitable, scalable enterprise.

Show Founder's Bio

Bob Gordon is a successful serial founder. For fifteen years, he has turned innovations that solve problems into profitable SaaS, mobile, internet, healthcare, marketplace, and personal services companies in competitive B2B and B2C markets. He has raised millions in equity and debt funding from venture capital, institutional and private sources, enjoyed multiple successful exits, and is still building.

Bob has taught, coached, and collaborated with over one-hundred startup founders and their teams, in the early stages of business development. As an angel investor and advisor, he has vetted hundreds of ideas, seed funding proposals, and go-to-market plans working with venture capital, academic, and national grant-making institutions.

A cross-section of his experience includes; advising and evaluating seed funding applicants for Maryland’s Technology Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO); mentoring startup founders and teams in the National Science Foundation I-Corps Program at GWU and UMD; serving as Mentor in Residence for the nation’s 3rd largest collegiate new venture pitch competition; guiding Bowie State University teams in Lean Startup process; coaching international founders commercializing their tech in the US with the Korean Innovation Center; working with applicants and evaluating seed proposals for the National Science Foundation’s SBIR program; preparing Mass Challenge applicants, and supporting Virginia’s Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program. Bob was a member of a DC area angel syndicate for more than a decade evaluating scores of high-tech startups, seed funding a share.

Earlier, he led businesses known for innovations that blitzed competitors. He was President of the Eastern US, for Cingular, now AT&T, starting up the national mobile brand and organization. Before, as President of Cellular One DC/Baltimore, he took the wireless carrier from worst to first in JD Powers measured share and reputational metrics. Previously, as the CEO of SBC Media Ventures, a national cable TV operator, a strategic pivot drove growth rates 2.5X over its peer group to earn a record valuation at exit. Bob earned a BA from George Washington University.

top organizations we've supported

client feedback

 

“I tried a couple of accelerators and graduate level university programs. Then I worked with the group. The difference is night and day. I’m now clearly focused on my priorities, not a demo day, in the market and growing!”

– founder, B2C marketplace startup

client feedback

 

“I’m an international founder.  We evaluated the US market for my online marketplace using the group’s methodology. We found our US market, pivoting from our original plan, got funded, launched, and we’re growing fast!” 

– founder, DTC online marketplace

client feedback

 

“I spent several years of time and money on my startup. They helped me see – empirically – what I was blind to, that the market for my product was not viable. Tough medicine – it saved me financially and emotionally.” 

– founder, media saas provider

Client Feedback

 

“I’ve worked with the group’s founder, as he’s led startups and advised others. His practical and straightforward approach to opportunities and problems earns top results.”

-DC Private equity principal

get in touch

Schedule a free advisory session on a challenge or opportunity you face. After a conversation we’ll know how we can best support your efforts. You won’t be asked to disclose any proprietary information.

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