IT startup Cazoodle grew up in the EnterpriseWorks incubator and is one of its proud graduates.

A significant reason for its success? Access to the EnterpriseWorks Entrepreneur-in-Residence program (EIR), which provides free consulting with experienced entrepreneurs who have effectively commercialized technology. The EIRs provide a wide array of services, at no charge to local technology entrepreneurs, including one-on-one consultations as well as training workshops.

The return on investment from Cazoodle’s time spent with the EnterpriseWorks EIRs: “in the millions,” said Cazoodle business executive Kerris Lee.

“To us it’s invaluable. It's our livelihood. It's why our company is here today,” Lee said.

The value was wide-ranging for Cazoodle, whose deep search technology aggregates data to help consumers make better decisions. Advice and insight from three different EIRs helped the company develop revenue streams; solidify a pitch for potential investors, including venture capitalists; and fine-tune its focus.

In terms of the revenue stream, it was an EIR who had the idea for the company to monetize its deep vertical search for apartments by pitching it to websites owned by newspapers. The effort was a success, and the company now has 1,500 syndicate partners.

“I see a lot of new and great things coming out of our company,” Lee said. “We’ve been doing this since 2006 so we've had a chance to work on things that make us unique in the IT domain, and we’re pushing that further going forward.”