Apply

Thanks for your interest in the Catalyst accelerator program. The application questions and our suggestions for preparing for these question can be found below.

Key dates and deadlines:

August 1, 2019: Applications open
August 23, 2019: Applications close
September 20, 2019: Presentations to the selection committee
September 27, 2019: Selections announced
Late Fall 2019: A second application window will open later in the Fall.

NOTE: A subset of teams that submit complete applications will be invited to present to the accelerator selection committee. And, a select group of those teams presenting to the selection committee will be accepted into the program. Further background on our selection process can be found here.

Importantly, please know that this application process is not just about selecting the teams for the program. The process is also about connecting with compelling founders and companies in the region, so we can help out as best as we can—regardless of whether a team is selected for the accelerator.

Application Questions

Below are the questions you would be required to answer and the materials you would be required to submit as part of your application for Catalyst. The application itself is being hosted on the Gust Accelerator platform—you will both answer the questions and submit/upload materials through that platform. You may be asked to create a Gust account to complete the application.

Note: Your application materials will only be used for the purpose of this application and selection process, and these materials will only be shared with those individuals helping us to make these decisions or manage the application/selection process.

BACKGROUND

  1. What is the name of your company?

  2. Please pitch your company in 144 characters or less—the length of a classic Twitter post.

  3. What is the website address for your company (e.g., http://mycompany.com).

  4. In which of the following localities is your company based?

  5. Are the core founders of the company presently living and working in the locality you selected in the prior question? Yes/No

  6. What is the first name of the team member completing this application? This person will be the contact person for the application.

  7. What is the last name (i.e., family or surname) for the person filling out this application?

  8. At what email address can we reach you—the contact person for the team—with any questions, decisions, or follow-up scheduling?

  9. At what phone number can we reach you—the contact person for the team—with any questions, decisions, or follow-up scheduling?

EXEC SUMMARY & PITCH

  1. Please provide a link to a video of a one-minute elevator pitch for your company. Please use YouTube or Vimeo to host the video.

  2. If the video you submitted is password protected, please provide that password—so we can watch the video!

  3. Please attach as a PDF file a one-page executive summary for your company. This summary should include not only very succinct background on the problem, market, solution, competition, team, and other common ingredients, but also background information such as company address, names/titles of founders, prior capital raised, advisors/board. Please remove any specific requests for funding from this document. Further background on and examples of these one-page, executive summaries can be found here, here, and here (scroll to “documents you need”).

  4. Please attach as a PDF file the most recent version of your pitch deck. Ideally, you would be able to present in seven minutes or less the core slides of this uploaded presentation. Feel free to include an appendix of slides with additional data/background. Also, please remove from this presentation any specific requests for funding.

  5. Please attach as a PDF file a one-page document providing brief but relevant bios for and links to the LinkedIn profiles of each of the company’s founders and key team members.

Suggestions

We strongly recommend that the combination of information in your submitted materials — video, exec summary, pitch deck, and bio — would be able to address the following issues. Meaning: We don’t expect everything below to be addressed by your exec summary alone. But, these issues should be addressed by the materials in the application overall.

Clearly define the key customers for your company’s product/service and the size of the market opportunity overall, both terms of the number of customers as well as the total dollar value.

Use real data to provide evidence that confirms real demand exists for the product/service offered by your company? (e.g., number of new customer signups or sales over time, web traffic, or other sources). Unfortunately, our program is not well-suited for teams at the idea or prototype stage—except in the case of certain biotech/biomed ventures.

Communicate the key milestones you have previously set out to accomplish, and then did in fact accomplish. Also outline future milestones you are hoping to accomplish over the next year (or over the longer term) and why these milestones are important. Help people see that your venture is moving forward and how you want to continue to move forward.

Provide some background on the outside funding you have raised (e.g., competitions, loans, investors, etc.), and how much outside funding has been raised to date?

Help the selection committee understand how the team you have pulled together has the combined knowledge, skills, and experience to bring your product/service to market if not move it forward in the market. We realize that startups will always want/need additional team members. However, this program may not be a fit for teams that lack skills/experience clearly necessary to develop the product/service.

Please present your product/service in the context of alternative solutions (aka, the competition), and explain how your product/service is distinguished or different from if not more awesome than those alternatives.

Provide some insight into how you connect with and retain customers.

Help the committee understand the method through which you already earn or hope to earn revenue (e.g. direct sales, subscriptions, etc.)? Note: competition prizes, outside investment, or other fundraising channels would not constitute revenue.

Provide a high level understanding of the revenue you have earned to date (if any), and how that revenue has changed over time? We do not expect detailed accounting statements. However, we would like to understand if and how the company is growing, financially.

Outline not only how you earn revenue, but also how your company can be sustainable over the longer term. In other words, help the committee understand that the revenue you earn from the product/service is greater than the cost of developing, producing, and providing that product/service.

Explain what sorts of support and resources — beyond money — would help your team move forward.