Applying to an acceleration program is easy, but competitive. VentureSpur and similar programs receive hundreds of applications each year.
In order to stand out, remember that VentureSpur focuses on helping companies to raise their next round of investment, usually a major angel round or Series A round, so consider your startup from an investor’s point of view.
When preparing your documents and making your application, keep asking yourself these questions: What is going to make my application stand out for investors? What unfair advantage does my company have going into this market? What in my own background and that of my co-founders is going to impress these investors? What makes my company the best competitor for a spot in this accelerator?
Those are the questions that our reviewers are going to be asking themselves. Make it easy on them by answering these questions convincingly, clearly and concisely throughout your application.
The ideal company will be further along than an “idea on the back of a napkin,” but may not yet have a product or prototype to demonstrate. That is OK. We’re looking for great teams with a great business plan, tons of motivation, mounds of ambition, and plenty of chutzpah.
But we also expect that some teams will “pivot” their business plan through the course of the program, so we’re looking for a great team first, and a great business plan second.
Your team matters the most to us. Keep that in mind from your first contact with the accelerator, our management, mentors, and investors. Finding an accelerator program match and seed funding is a little like dating: There needs to be a good personality match.
You may submit more than one application, and we will always consider the last application, so it is to your advantage to submit early and often. If something changes with your company, definitely make a new submission.
Groups that submit early have a significant advantage because we will have more time to review your documents, talk to you, ask questions, and possibly meet you at events or on the phone. If you submit early, you will also give yourself more chances to re-submit your application as you learn more.
Please use the online submission form to make your application, rather than sending an email or any other method. This makes it much easier for us to collect the information we need and to distribute it to our managers and investors.
Once we decide to make your startup an offer of admission to the accelerator, we will contact you to accept a position in the accelerator. We will start these discussions as early as possible in order to be sure that we have our admitted startups ready for announcement at the time the program begins.
This means that once we send you paperwork, you may have a limited amount of time to consider the admission offer. We will have to know whether your team will be accepting in enough time to make an offer to the next company on the list if you decline.
We typically admit companies to the accelerator and make a seed investment in return for 10% of the company.
If you are admitted, your group will move to Dallas for the duration of the accelerator program. All startup teams must be nearby to the facility in which they are participating. Companies cannot commute into Dallas to participate in the program. Our experience tells us that being nearby to the accelerator during the program is critical to your startup’s success.
We are looking for companies with at least two founders, and preferably three, with some breadth of functional expertise. This is a flexible criteria, but the more diverse, talented, and motivated the team, the more likely we are to make an offer of admission. If you don’t have a full team yet, but know who you’d like to add, be sure to let us know.
Once you’re accepted, we’re on your team, even before you arrive! We will start helping you to prepare your company, prepare legal documents, get to know mentors, and find resources to kick off your accelerator program right.
Accepted teams will office daily out of one of our offices and will meet with accelerator staff, mentors, advisers and champions on a daily basis. This is an intensive, hands-on acceleration program that may have you sleeping in a cot beside your desk. This is your one chance to take advantage of all of these people and resources focused on your company. Take advantage of every minute!
During the 3 month program, we’ll have weekly seminars and workshops with experts in specific critical areas for your startup, we’ll have mentoring sessions, industry champion sessions and pitch polishing and practice sessions. We will be introducing your startup to people who can help it to develop, flourish and grow.
At the end of the 3 month program, we have a Pitch Day in Dallas. This is the “Big Show.” You will have been practicing your investor and product pitch for at least a month. You will have practiced in front of entrepreneurs, mentors, venture capitalists and peers. You’ll have your big chance to present your startup to venture capitalists, angel investors and industry champions who can help take your company to the next stage.