Getting off the fence

Apr 1, 2016 · 4 min read
Image for post
Image for post

The AlphaLab application cycle is currently open. Get more info and apply here:

Getting off the fence

Still have some questions about whether to apply for AlphaLab as our deadline approaches? We wanted to share some final thoughts and hopefully dispel some myths regarding accelerators and AlphaLab.

Certainly, having a realistic sense of where your startup is relative to the funding market is important and will be valuable as you continue to grow and raise seed, venture rounds. However, we would encourage you to submit your application as a way of getting to know one another and to build a relationship even if your startup is not selected for AlphaLab during this cycle.

We do not have a negative view of startups who apply again; in fact, if you show the progress you’ve made from the last time you applied, that is viewed positively in our evaluation. And applicants have told us that the process was valuable as the application and interviews (for those who made it to the interview stage) forced them to sharpen their thinking about the business. There are numerous examples of AlphaLab startups who did not get in on the first try who showed us the continued progress they made and got in for the next cycle.

Also, our evaluation of applicants is multi-dimensional; we’re looking at a combination of the team, the potential of the market they’re tackling, the uniqueness of their idea, their progress to date and fit with our program. If you’re at a prototype/early product stage, you won’t score as highly on customer traction but if your idea is compelling, plan makes sense and your team is awesome, you still stand a good chance.

That’s great — one of our strengths is helping you figure out the right timing and plan to raise capital — including if you’re ready. Our team have been involved in guiding startups through this process at numerous stages — including seed and venture — so we can help you define the operational plan that aligns with a funding plan in today’s market environment.

We also know that raising funding is difficult for startups and don’t want to put any artificial constraints in your way. We encourage startups in our program to raise money when they’re ready — and help them with the strategy and game-plan for doing so. Unlike some other accelerators, we do not have anti-dilution protection if you raise money during the program. We also introduce you to investors throughout the program, not just at Demo Day.

We have found that founders with prior startup experience have often gotten the most of AlphaLab because they take full advantage of the resources we provide. They have done a great job of building their networks and leveraging their mentors to provide them with critical insights and valuable introductions. During this current cycle, almost all of the company founders brought significant technology or startup experience, including two founders who previously worked for companies that have had large exits in the past year and two other founders who had started prior successful companies.

We hear this often and our response is “Great — we’re not looking for a typical company.” One of our strengths is that we don’t do cookie cutter — we intentionally take a small cohort of companies in order to help each company in a manner that makes sense for their stage, industry and team. We aren’t working from a playbook or template — we are utilizing our experience from having worked with hundreds of startup companies in different industry sectors and differing stages and in different market funding cycles. We bring the collaborative and community benefits of a cohort (including mentor speed dating, talks, events, visitors) while maintaining the unique experience of 1:1 meetings with us, as well as dedicated mentor teams that help you build and grow your company based on what it needs and what you want from it.

Hopefully this addresses some of the questions or thoughts you have and gets you off the fence! We look forward to reading your application — remember the deadline is Sunday, March 29th at 11:59pm!

Link to application:

Startups and investment

Posts from experts at Innovation Works.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store