Catalyst is a long format accelerator, providing select, early-stage startups 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.


Format & Structure

Catalyst is a long-format accelerator, able to provide nine months of program support to selected companies. Programming will run from September until May, and will involve check-ins, workshops, bespoke guidance, office hours with domain experts, and more. Each team will be paired with a local founder, who can provide experienced advice. 

While we will not require selected teams to work out of our shared space on a daily basis (e.g., some teams may already have office space), we will expect teams to make regular use of our space for meetings, office hours, etc. Furthermore, teams will be expected to attend workshops (no greater than two each month), founder dinners (one each month), office hours (bi-weekly), and check-ins.


Regional & Organic

Our particular focus is upon high potential companies already based in one of the nine localities that comprise Central Virginia. Thus, core members of any team should already be living and working in the region. Essentially, we are somewhat of a “hometown” accelerator, 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 in the localities mentioned above, please feel free to reach out. We are happy to connect you with programs and resources in other regions.


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. Examples might include: a new formulation for healthy snacks; a creative approach to managing data security on cloud services.

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 outside capital or grant-makers—or headed toward a next round of funding after an initial angel or seed round.

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.


Market Ready with Traction

Our program is not suited for teams at the idea or prototype stage of their development. Teams at the prototype stage should instead consider the Summer Incubator program operated by the Batten Institute.

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.


Teams, Traded, & Target Sectors

Catalyst has been funded and chartered to focus upon companies in the following sectors, regardless of whether the company is incorporated for-profit or non-profit:

Software & IT
Hardware & Advanced Manufacturing
Biotech & BioMed
Food & Beverage (products)

Our program is not suited for service businesses (e.g., consulting, outsourced developers, restaurants, in-person training, etc.), or sectors outside those listed above.

While companies with solo founders are welcome to apply, our program may be best-suited for those companies with teams already in place, possessing the skills/experience to hit key, upcoming milestones.


Key Dates & Deadlines

Second application window:
October 14, 2019:
Applications open online
October 31, 2019: Applications close
November 13, 2019: Finalists announced
November 22, 2019: Finalists present to selection committee
Week of November 25, 2019: Selections announced



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