As a founder most of your time needs to be spent building your company and fundraising, that is why we only require 3-4 hours per week and the rest of our programs are at your own pace. Below are our general requirements for each program as well as what you’ll be learning based on your company stage:
<$50K raised OR
<$50K in revenue
Raising funding up to first $50k
Generating revenue up to first $50k
*Does not require application
$50K-$250K+ raised OR
$50K-$250K+ in revenue
Raising funding up to $500K
Generating revenue up to $500K
$250K-$1M+ raised OR
$250K-$1M+ in revenue
Raising funding up to $1M-$5M+
Scaling revenue up to $1M-$5M+
We customize the curriculum to each and every cohort to make sure that it’s personalized, however here is the fundamental fundraising curriculum that we cover based on stage.
Time is money, but in a startup money is always time. As a pre-seed entrepreneur, you are on a tight timeline to secure the funding necessary to cement the foundation of your business. Speed is critical to the future outlook and success of your business, which is why you must strive to raise your pre-seed round in under 90 days or three months.
You need to know as an entrepreneur how you will raise money and need to develop a strategy that works for your company. You also need to know your runway to calculate your next moves based on it. This is why you need to plan your fundraising around your available runway.
Building the founding team of a startup is a daunting task. Not only do you have to find a handful of highly capable individuals who are skilled and capable of turning your vision into reality, you also need them to be hungry enough to achieve the goal over the long term. An indelible component of this is to focus on building a culture that scales over the long term across teams.
Raising funds for a startup that already has an idea or even an MVP can at times be easier. However, how does one fund a startup that only an idea and nothing else to show? Investors are increasingly investing not only in ideas but also in founders and the teams that back them.
When you present your company to investors, you need to show them a slide presentation that provides a quick overview of your business. This is known as a “pitch deck,” and it is an important fundraising tool that most entrepreneurs misunderstand. Knowing how to craft a compelling pitch deck can mean the difference between winning or losing an investor. Startup fundraising is a complex game for any entrepreneur to play. Raising from Angel investors, however, doesn’t need to be as challenging. As the fundraising landscape evolves, entrepreneurs need to adapt to the changing needs and expectations of initial investors in order to successfully close an Angel round that can lead to further major raises.
After developing a minimum viable product (MVP), many startups do not know what to do next. If they have not fallen into the trap of the faulty “If we build it, they will come” mentality, they may think the next step is to add features and perfect the product, or to shelve it because it’s not fully loaded and go work on something else. What they lose sight of is that one of the best things that a startup can do is to turn a minimum viable product into a minimum marketable product that can be sold either to investors or potential customers and end-users.
Fundraising entails much more than knocking on doors and collecting investor checks. There are best practices and common approaches that are followed rigorously throughout any fundraising stage. As an entrepreneur, you must know how to build an investor funnel to draw in prospects, build a viable data-room to demonstrate key financials and KPIs, and also protect your startup from any potential mistakes that could impact your deal cycle.
Although fundraising is solely the responsibility of the CEO, it is wise to partner with advisors who provide strategic value to a startup. Bringing on advisors who add real value to the inner workings of a startup can ultimately accelerate the funding process since investors like to put there money in businesses that have solid strategies and processes.
Far too many entrepreneurs fail to raise the funds needed to sustain their businesses because they are thinking about fundraising the wrong way. This is often the result of focusing more on pitching an idea to as many investors as possible than building effective relationships with investors. It takes about seven touches to close an investment deal, which is why entrepreneurs must focus less on pitching and more on building sustainable, long-term investor relationships.
In order to succeed in any given market or industry, startups must maintain an open understanding of the competitive landscape. Moreover, knowing how to read the competition is crucial in today’s fast-changing world as a startup needs to be ready to adapt to the evolving trends and dynamics of any given marketplace. This is why startups need to have a competitive roadmap that strategizes potential outcomes based on competitive movements.
If you are seeking traditional VC or angel investment dollars, then you need to build an investable product, or at the very least an investable MVP. If you aren’t building a product that is scalable, positioned for a growth market, built with a business model in mind for recurring revenue, and priced right with profit-friendly margins, then you probably won’t find interested investors. Moreover, if end users don’t absolutely love you MVP or product, you are in trouble.
Once investors give an entrepreneur the green light, they will likely spend some time performing due diligence on the business. This is a crucial component of the fundraising process through which entrepreneurs must cooperate in order to ensure expedient delivery of funds. The last thing any startup needs is for an investor to back out of the deal at the last minute because of red flags that emerged during the due diligence phase.
The captable is one of those things that every startup does wrong and delays the close of any deal, because you have to fix it before the round of money can come in. You also have questions like how much do you set aside for the employee option pool. It is important to compensate your star performers with equity since you can’t afford to pay them with a billion dollar enterprise does. The captable and equity is a tricky but crucial aspect of your business and we will equip you with the fundamentals so you can grow from there instead of being lost.
The goal in the fundraising game is to close the right deals for your startup. A major component of this process is securing enough capital without giving up so much control of the business. Granted, most investors will want some control over the company but that doesn’t mean entrepreneurs have to bend to their will when closing deals. Then again, this is their company and the ultimate control remains theirs. The key here is strategic investor negotiation.
Turning a big idea into a solid MVP requires an iterative process of testing and adjusting. Entrepreneurs who adopt a lean mindset in the earliest stages find themselves building a product that not only meets a real problem or need but also creating a business that is positioned for long-term growth vis-a-vis competitors. The last thing any startup wants to do is waste time, money, and energy building something that nobody wants.
Choosing a co-founder is a momentous decision for your startup and it’s just as important as choosing a marriage partner. In fact, it is a marriage and if it falls apart, your family, friends, and company, will be the ones feeling the impact of it the most. So while it isn’t a real marriage, and there are many ways to go about finding and choosing your cofounder, it is very important to put deep thought and consideration into who you choose as a co-founder before you even negotiate their place in the startup and calculate any equity splits.
We customize the curriculum to each and every cohort to make sure that it’s personalized, however here is the fundamental fundraising curriculum that we cover based on stage.
Raising capital can take a long time. Raising large amounts of capital can take even more time. There is no way to get cash as fast as an ATM, but there are steps you can take to smooth the road for your fundraise. You need an efficient funnel that you manage to reach out to investors. You need to convince them without having to chase them down. You have to make them feel secure in their due diligence without a lot of wasted time. And you need to have your legal matters in order so they can invest in you without hesitation. Sounds daunting, but it can be learned.
By the time you are looking for Seed Capital you’ve scaled a bit and have a sizeable burn rate. Unlike your earliest days where you could tighten your belt or not take a salary, now you have people that you need to retain. When you go out to raise that seed or series A capital you have to make sure you have a plan so your company can survive and keep moving forward until you get that next money.
Getting to 20 or maybe 50 people is a recruiting and sourcing problem. Getting quality talent is always difficult. Going from 50-100 is a culture problem, because now you’re no longer tiny and compact. Lines of communication can be tricky at 20, 30, or 50 people but by 100 they can be absolutely chaotic. Different stages of growth require different approaches to sourcing, recruiting, on-boarding, and your entire corporate process.
You will not raise enough money early on to create the best, feature complete version of your product. You have to think in terms of MVP early on to get to that next funding round until you raise that one big round that gives you the ability to take your big shot. MVP is not just a description of a product’s quality, it is a total mindset for how you run your startup. Unless you are one of the lucky few to have access to VC capital with no traction you’re stuck proving that your idea is viable before you get the funding.
Pitch decks are fundamental, but can be tricky. Sometimes you don’t even need a pitch deck, you might use a pitch memo. A pitch deck is a way to get an investor informed and excited about the opportunity to invest in your company. Crafting a solid pitch deck and a solid pitch is the best investment in your company you can make.
There is a lot of setup and organization that goes into creating a fundraising round from beginning to the end. Creating the data rooms for investors to quickly do the due diligence that is needed is a daunting task that you’re better off doing early and updating on a regular basis. Fundraising is sales and therefore you have a funnel and metrics you can track to determine your success at fundraising.
People love to give advice, especially if you pay them cash. Many will take equity as well. Does them taking equity make them better advisors for you? Well they are better than the ones you compensate in cash. What really makes a good advisor? You also need to know when it’s time to move on and find an advisor that is familiar with where you are now since your company will grow and evolve.
Pitch and release is a terrible plan. You want to pitch, but you also want to connect with investors and add them to your network. You build relationships with them. That way when you pitch and they defer they might introduce you to an investor that would be interested in your deal. There are lots of reasons investors say no and most of them are not because your idea is bad.
Information about your industry is readily available from your competitors. Unless your competitors are in direct competition with you, it is possible to have a good relationship with them. You’re in the same industry so when it comes to things like government regulations or other industry-wide issues you are in it together.
An idea validated by a user base rather than some market statistics is gold. Money goes to ideas that make logical sense, money more easily flows to ideas that have already started to prove themselves. If you make a product that your users love it gives investors confidence in that idea. A successful tactic for finding the next big opportunity for an investor is to follow the word of mouth. What people are using is a lagging indicator, but what people are telling others to use is a leading indicator.
The better your data room and more orderly your paperwork the faster everything will progress. However, it is very unlikely that there won’t be some kind of ask that takes a few days for you to sort out. Be prepared for that. Due diligence issues come in various ways just make sure you follow best practices in regards to most things and you should be fine.
Don’t let a sloppy captable hold up your deal. Remember to clean out employees that have left by terminating their vesting. Make sure all your investors are logged on the cap table so you can do all calculations accurately. If you have someone on the cap table with a special class of shares, such as ones that never dilute you may need to buy them out.
Giving up control here is not referring to a large equity portion to an investor. It is about negotiation from a place of power. You are giving the investor the opportunity to invest in your company. Funding may be crucial but that does not mean you negotiate from a position of weakness.
What do you do when you’re out of options and it’s time to close up shop? There is surprisingly little solid information out there considering statistically, most startups fail. What if everything goes right though? We read about acquisitions all the time, but how do you get an offer. How do you vet an offer?
Continuous improvement is how you get your product from MVP to something golden that users love. There are times where you might have to start from scratch due to choices you made, but you want to minimize these. You always want to be building off what you’ve built instead of starting anew.
Where do you get cofunders if you don’t have one? It was your idea, how do you get someone on board with that and what do you give them? How necessary is it to have them? How do you vet them and make sure they are as dedicated as you are? These questions are answered in this module.
Getting the best talent is difficult. Keeping the best talent is even harder. Keeping them happy will produce superstar work, but you have to do it without going broke. How do you balance all these things? Early stage startups have plenty of turnover, which is paradoxical because losing people at that scale deprives the company of institutional knowledge no matter how well you document things. Managing your talent is crucial. Fair compensation via pay and equity is a start, perks are another, but most importantly your peak performers need to feel invested and proud of their work. Some also need validation. You’ll learn to read your people and give everyone what they need.
The early startup is always about iterating a business/revenue model around an idea. When you find something that works what do you do? You double down. You also need to remove revenue streams that bleed you dry. It can be challenge since startups are not always focused on profitability so top line revenue becomes sacred, but topline revenue with a future is the true prize. Judging when to double or when to cut requires data.
Early on the true measures of success your “true KPIs” might not register above 0 because you’re not live. You need to identify other data metrics that do give useful insight in order to laterally understand success at an early stage. Without some kind of tracking you might end up going in circles and throwing away money.
We live in a data driven world so if you aren’t tracking every potential KPI and data point, you may be losing out on future revenue as well as you will be making ill-informed decisions on the future of your company. Our goal is to help you update your financial model utilizing real data to create realistic projections, runway models, and budgets. We also want to implement a centralized database of KPI’s for you to make product driven decisions from (in addition to utilizing them to help raise).
What kind of success have you and your team had?
We’ve built a community of 100,000+ investors and entrepreneurs, helped fund over $20,000,000+ into startups in 2018, and raised 10’s of millions for the companies we’ve built and sold over the last two decades.
When is the next cohort going live?
We launch new cohorts the 1st of each month, with applications due the 15th of the previous month. As soon as you apply, if you are accepted, we’ll give you information on your cohort based on seats available..
What stage of funding do I need to be to apply?
Companies in our cohorts have raised seed capital from anywhere between $10k to $3m. What matters most to us is the team and revenue and we’ll work with any startup that hasn’t already raised a series A round from VCs.
Do you only work with tech companies?
We consider startups and businesses in any field. We’ve worked with companies that make everything from microbes, to reactors, to coffee shops. This is not likely to be your only, let alone your last startup, and it may not succeed. We’re here to give you the skills to help you throughout your career.
Can a single person/solo founder apply?
Yes. We regularly accept solo founders. That said, our advice remains that one-person startups are tough and you’re more likely to succeed with a co-founder. Maybe you’ll find one in the program?
I have a great idea for a startup but I’m not technical?
It’s important for the founding team to have the skills to build their product themselves, rather than outsourcing it to someone else. For most businesses, that usually means you need a technical co-founder. However, in some businesses and locations, this just isn’t possible. For these companies, we recommend outsourcing until you can bring it in-house.
Does Newchip invest in every company in the accelerator?
Because we wanted to make the accelerator open to as many great companies as possible, we don’t “automatically” invest in every company we accept, we only invest in the top companies to graduate the program.
Do we need to incorporate before applying?
Nope. We don’t take equity so it doesn’t matter. We do recommend you and your team have some kind of legal operating agreement so that there are no founder issues later when inevitably there is some disagreement.
Just how difficult is the program to complete?
While you can complete the program at your own pace (we recommend 3 hours a week to just keep up), the program modules are rigorous, and the test are difficult. You can complete these portions all at your own pace but we won’t just stamp your certificate for “breathing”, you have to grow and improve and pass “eventually”. Everything worthwhile takes work, and so will this program. Just because you have an idea, that doesn’t equal free money- you have to learn, apply it, hustle, and most importantly have grit. Then again, you also could join, and come in and complete it at the pace of your company so it could take you a few years to complete the course and we’ll update it as you go. We’re here to serve you for the life of your company and hope you will pay it forward on your end too.
What if we’re doing/building something capital intensive like a rocket to the moon?
We’ll still work with you and instead of trying to build something launchable in three months or that can scale that quickly, the goal becomes building an impressive proof of concept to take to later stage investors to raise more money. We rarely take on these types of deals but we’re happy to review!
What are some common misconceptions about accelerators?
The worst are: it’s easy, the accelerator will do all the work for you, and we’ll magically get you money. The reality is, we’re going to work you to the bone and show you what it takes to succeed, but it’s still in your hands to close deals and succeed. If you learn one thing in the program, remember that it’s okay to pivot and it’s best to FAIL HARD and FAIL FAST because some of the companies on your left and right by the end of the program won’t be in business, founders will have had a fallout, and some will pivot entirely.
What should I expect from the program as an international founder?
It’s basically the same and while we may not have as many resources in your country, you’ll be connected to our resources around the globe.
Do I need to know someone at Newchip to get in?
No. One of our core principles is to consider all applications equally. We don’t rely on introductions the way many investors do and our founders actually hate it if you spam them online. We’ve got a great team to source companies and you should respect that we respect them and their decisions.
If we participated in another accelerator, can we join yours?
Yes. We often get companies that have graduated other accelerators that are coming to us because they didn’t learn anything about fundraising at their previous program. However, if you’ve done another accelerator already, we may expect that you’ve reached a higher level of progress in your application.
If you don’t take equity in the company, what’s the catch?
Along with connecting you to our investors and helping you build a fundraising plan, we have a fund to invest in the top graduates. The goal of a cohort is to work together to succeed, but also it’s also to motivate you to compete with each other over who grows the most throughout the program. Remember, being the biggest and baddest, doesn’t always = investment. Grit does. When we invest, it depends on the stage and valuation of the company at the end of the program- so it can be anywhere from $10k to $100k.
Are there other equity free accelerators out there?
We are the only program like ours that is specifically tailored to funding your startup. Other similar programs focus on building an MVP or getting off the ground, examples are Whartons Entrepreneur Accelerator (Pre-Accelerator) for $2,600, Draper University (Pre-Accelerator) for $12,000, Founder Institute (Pre-Accelerator) for $999 + equity as well as a few other hybrids. We’re proud to offer a full accelerator that is equity free, that invest in the top graduates, and has a world-renowned team of “real entrepreneurs”- not just consultants.
Do you have merit scholarships for the accelerator?
Yes, but they are merit and financial need-based (largely on the stage of your company . If accepted into the program, please message your program director and have a conversation with them. You can also message us below in chat 24/7 and we’ll respond as soon as we can.
We only need more money, does this make sense for us?
Money is important to a startup, and while we don’t give away money, we’re here to help you accelerate your growth to reach your funding goals, needs, and connect you to investors to close more funding. If you don’t have a track record or the network to raise millions, then yes, the program will help you.
We were denied. Can we apply more than once?
Yes. If you’ve applied before and didn’t get in, we strongly encourage you to apply again. Having made progress since your last application is a strong signal to us that you’re ready for a startup accelerator.