Catalyst is a long format accelerator, providing select, early-stage startups based in Central Virginia with nine months of program support, including: $20,000 in grant funding, dedicated workspace, experienced founders-in-residence, monthly programming, dedicated staff, a large network of industry experts, and access to nearly $50,000 in additional resources.

Program Format

As a long-format program, Catslyst is able to provide nine months of program support to selected companies. Programming runs primarily from September until May, and involves check-ins, workshops, bespoke guidance, office hours with domain experts, and more. Each team is also paired with one or more local founders or experts, to help ground the team in our ecosystem.

Teams are invited to work out of our shared workspace on the downtown mall, and can use the space for meetings, office hours, mailing address, etc. Furthermore,participating teams are expected to attend check-ins, dinners & other events, as well as any scheduled workshops.

Regional Focus

Our particular focus is upon high potential companies already based in Central Virginia. Thus, core members of any team should already be living and working in the region. Essentially, we are a “hometown” accelerator program, best-suited to support regional, organically-grown teams.

Furthermore, given the time demands of the program, those teams that would be the best fit for Catalyst would be those already living within daily commuting distance of our shared workspace, Third & Main, located on Charlottesville’s downtown mall.

If you are not located nearby, please feel free to reach out. We are happy to connect you with programs and resources in other regions.

Target Sectors

Catalyst has been funded and chartered to focus upon companies in in the domains of Software, Hardware, Biotech & BioMed.

Examples might include:

  • a new approach to managing data security on cloud services

  • a web-based platform to support data science education

  • a novel catheter to treat pulmonary embolism

  • a 3D printable knee brace, that can be personalized for each person

Hey! Those sound like the companies we have worked with in the past.

Scalable & Fundable

Qualified teams will have developed a scalable product or process of some kind, made possible through a novel approach, design, method, or invention.

Our program is best suited for those startups at a particular moment in their lifecycle: either headed toward their first round of funding—whether through invested capital or grants—or headed toward a next round of funding after an initial angel or seed round. We have also worked with teams that have a clear path to bootstrap the company.

Teams should already have formed an incorporated entity—whether for profit or non profit. Our program is not a fit for sole proprietorships or other unincorporated entities.

Teams with Traction

While companies with solo founders are welcome to apply, our program is best-suited for those companies with a team already in place, comprised of people who already possess the skills/experience to hit key, upcoming milestones.

Our program is not suited for teams at the idea, prototype, or pre-MVP stage of their development. The most qualified teams will have an initial product in the market and be able to provide evidence of meaningful, yet perhaps early demand. Meaning, your product or service should already have established or be establishing its initial batch of customers—even if that batch is a small.

Exceptions to the above would be in the case of biomed/biotech startups, which often face lengthy and regulated paths to market, or certain high- or deep-tech projects, which face significant technical questions during development.

Rolling Selection

We select teams for the program on a rolling basis, twelve-months of the year. Thus, we do not have any specific application deadlines.

Our application materials include answers to a small set of questions (e.g., describe your company in 144 characters or less), alongside a one-page executive summary, pitch deck, and brief bios of the founders.

Applications are first screened according to required qualifications (e.g., based in the region, target sectors, product stage, etc.).

Our selection committee is comprised of individuals from the regional capital community; a mix of investors, grant makers, as well as ecosystem and economic developers.