Getting off the fence
“We’re not quite ready and want to wait until the next cycle”
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.
“I’m planning on raising a seed round and don’t want to wait until Demo Day to start raising”
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.
“Not sure an accelerator is right for me — I have started a company before”
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.
“I’m not your typical AlphaLab company”
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 Friday, November 4 at 11:59pm!
Link to application: https://www.f6s.com/alphalabwinter2017/apply