The Impact Venture’s 12-week Startup Lab program is designed to empower underrepresented entrepreneurs at the pre-seed stage, putting them on a fast track to building a team, validating your concept, and discovering your customer(s). The program is structured to fit the full-time founder or the part-time “intra-preneur”, offering a flexible part-time once a week online schedule, while maintaining quality education, community, and access to high-level mentorship and professional networks.
We’ve spent the past several years developing a program aimed to address the barriers and challenges for Women and Minorities, while democratizing the process to participate in inclusive wealth creation. Our motto “Accelerating and investing in all shade of genius” informs our belief that opportunity is evenly distributed across zip codes, however access and opportunity is not.
At the end of this program, Founders should demonstrate both evidence and competencies the following areas:
- Level 1 – Have at least 2+ co-founders with differentiated skillsets.
- Level 2 – A Team who has personally experienced the problem.
- Level 3 – A Team who can build the product and understand the value chain.
- Problem and Vision
- Level 1 – Have identified a specific, important, and large problem.
- Level 2 – Have a vision for how to solved the problem and can execute on it.
- Level 3 – Can articulate why your vision offers superior value proposition.
- Value Proposition
- Level 1 – Have a hypothesis for how we will solve this problem.
- Level 2 – Have potential customers validate that our solution will solve a key point.
- Level 3 – Have evidence that customers will pay your target price.
- Level 1 – Have the ability to develop a low-fi prototype.
- Level 2 – Have built a low-fidelity prototype.
- Level 3 – Have built a working prototype and have a product roadmap.
- Level 1 – Knows your total addressable market size and market share opportunity.
- Level 2 – Understand applicable regulations & have a strategy for compliance.
- Level 3 – Initial sales provide evidence that we can capture your target market.
- Business Model
- Level 1 – Have an outline of a revenue model.
- Level 2 – Existing pricing and business models support your revenue model.
- Level 3 – Can articulate the cost structure & unit economics in our industry.
- Level 1 – Have identified multiple possible markets or customer segments.
- Level 2 – Have evidence that multiple markets experience this problem.
- Level 3 – Have a clear strategy to scale to multiple markets.
- Investor Exit
- Level 1 – Know what an exit is and understand its importance to investors.
- Level 2 – Have a vision of how to ultimately deliver liquidity to investors.
- Level 3 – Evidence suggests our value proposition is of interest to acquirers.
The Impact Venture’s 12-week Startup Lab program is designed to empower underrepresented entrepreneurs, putting them on a fast track to gaining traction within their startup. The program is structured to fit the full-time founder or the part-time “intra-preneur”, offering a flexible part-time program while maintaining quality education, community, and high-level networks. Through our research we’ve grouped our ideal startup participants tracks into 3 focus areas; Smart Tech, Social Tech, & Grow Local.
Smart Tech Track – is designed to support companies focused on building tech or tech-enabled products in sub-sectors including data analytics and visualization, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, blockchain, augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), and beyond.
Social Tech Track – is designed to support companies focused on addressing social, economic, and/or environmental disparities. We believe tech can be used for good. Social Impact areas: Health, Education, Economic Security, Public Safety, Workforce Development, Policy and Advocacy, and Social Justice.
Grow Local Track – is designed to support the growth of local Community Based Small Businesses spurring economic, workforce development, and food access. We believe business can be a pathway out of poverty that impacts local communities, create jobs, and sustains families. Examples: Brick and Mortar Businesses, Healthy Food & Beverage, Consumer Good businesses, Construction & Logistics, Barber/Salon, etc.
Our program curriculum is grouped into 5 focus areas; Founder Development, Customer Development, Product Development, Company Development, and Traction. Our curriculum is delivered both online and in-person through experiential learning activities using lean startup methodology and design thinking principles.
We deliver various forms of learning opportunities that not only provide outcomes of each ventures development, but our methodology tracks the learning and development of each individual founder in the unique ways he/she learns.
Forms of learning:
Visual Learner – Prefers to see information and to visualize the relationship between them.
Auditory Learner – Prefers to hear information rather than reading it or seeing it displayed visually.
Reading/Writing Learner – Prefer to learn through reading and writing.
Kinesthetic Learner – Prefers to learn hands on and through experience.
Founder Development (Week 1 & 2) is about uncovering the unique and untapped value propositions you bring to your startup from assessing your background and domain experience, narrative building and storytelling, leveraging your personal networks, leadership skills, and most of all having the right mindset.
Customer Development (Week 3 & 4) is about uncovering the unique and untapped value propositions your startup brings to its customers, users, and key stakeholders. We explore the customer discovery process using design thinking to build your persona, problem, value, usability, and growth hypothesis.
Product Development (Week 5 & 6) we take a deep dive into your product and core service offerings. Is it designed with your user in mind? What could be better? Do you have the right team to build this product? We help you think about the product development phase from a technical mindset and uncover the hidden value points within your product.
Company Development (Week 7 & 8) is about going from thinking like a hustling founder to a CEO of a million dollar company. What does your startup infrastructure looks like? Have you assembled the right team? Do you own your IP? Are your operations optimized and what metrics are you using to determine success. These are just a few questions we’ll dive into.
Traction (Week 9 – 12) is where the rubber meets the road. Traction is all about having a deep understanding of the metrics that matter, i.e. Sales, Users, Revenue. We dive into Investor diligence, KPI Growth & Strategy, Capital Utilization, Company Scorecard, VC 101, Pitch Refining, Your Startup Ecosystem Roadmap, and more. This is the most crucial stage of the program that most early stage founders do not achieve. Are you ready to get to traction?
The Impact Venture’s Startup Accelerator is a 12-week program designed to train and develop underrepresented women, minority, or social impact focused startups. Our program is both mentor and curriculum driven, with the goal of equipping founders with the tools necessary to accelerate venture traction or prepare for a capital raise. Below is a list of program benefits:
Dedicated Mentors: Our program’s curriculum is led by experienced executives who have demonstrated significant entrepreneurial success and leadership, business acumen, and are committed to accelerating the impact and financial sustainability of underserved entrepreneurs in North Texas. Our Lead Mentors commit 3 hours per week to the growth and development of participating ventures, including one hour of weekly face-to-face meetings per venture and one hour of virtual follow-up via our technology platform. Through a collaborative process, Lead Mentors assist Startup Ventures in developing individualized road maps using proven startup assessment tools and assist in achieving significant milestones and goals.
Dedicated Venture Associates: Startup Ventures receive access from local university partners to Pre-MBA/MBA students ready to assist with projects on an as-needed basis. Tailored support is offered within the areas of marketing, law, accounting, bookkeeping, financial modeling, + more.
Pro Bono Professionals/Corporate Partners: Startup Ventures receive access from a robust network of professionals, ready to assist through our corporate hacks. Tailored support is offered within the 5 curriculum competencies of founder development, customer development, product development, company development, and traction.
SME Mentor Office Hours: Startup Ventures expand their networks with weekly opportunities to meet with 50+ influencers, executives, investors, technical specialist, and business leaders.
Use of the Impact Ventures Office Space HQ at GoodWork: Startup Ventures have free membership at Impact Ventures Office Suite at GoodWork throughout the 3-month Accelerator. Membership includes use of our co-working desks, WiFi, printing, a mailing address, conference room meeting space, and parking. GoodWork is located at 1808 S. Good Latimer Expy, Dallas, TX 75226.
Peer Evaluation/Learning: An important component of the program is building a support network of like-minded entrepreneurs. Startup Ventures learn from one another, find solutions, and share challenges, resources, and successes. Startup ventures participate in weekly networking events, investor dinners, hack sessions, online webinars, and more.
The Impact Program Staff: We are here to ensure your success by making timely connections with potential clients, investors, procurement officers, policymakers, government officials, and mentors.
Increased Visibility: Impact Ventures helps increase Startup Ventures’ visibility through special events, cohort roadshow to SXSW, media referrals, featured articles in publications, as well as our Website/Medium Blog, and Podcast.
Startup Perks: Through our partnerships we provide over $125k worth of free and discount services through Microsoft for Startup hosting credits, HubSpot for Startups CRM tools, LeanStack, EOS, Asana, Quickbooks, and more.
Impact Ventures 12-week Startup Lab Program works with early-stage founders from under-represented and non-traditional background building profitable, high-growth companies.
Startup Track Requirements:
- Women, Person of Color, LMI, Veteran, or Social Enterprise
- Startup must be a for-profit enterprise
- Startup must be tech or tech-enabled (Which one are You?)
- We define tech or tech-enabled businesses as any business that leverages and can scale through using technology. In addition to traditional “tech” businesses (software, hardware, biotech, etc), this includes businesses selling physical products via e-commerce. We are industry agnostic, and accept companies building software, hardware, bio-tech, greentech, fashion, food, CPG’s, and more. Service-related businesses (ex. a marketing consultancy or web development shop) are not a good fit for our program.
- Stage: Idea, Pre-Revenue, Prototype, Private Beta
- Looking for Seed to Series A Capital
- Less than 5 years old
The ideal candidate is a high-potential entrepreneur who is interested in external assistance to accelerate his/her venture. When assessing applications, we select participants based on the following criteria:
- Explain how your team is best positioned to solve the problem.
- Explain how your product or service works.
- Business Model:
- Does your business solve a problem? Describe your plan for growing and sustaining your business.
- Explain why you believe customers will pay for your product or service
- Explain how your company will be profitable or remain financially viable
- Is the company set up for long-term success? Describe your plan to grow and scale your company’s work and impact.
- Return on Capital (Financial and/or Social):
- Financial: If an investor invests, will they receive a financial return? If an institution loans, will the team be able to repay the loan?
- Social: If a foundation or donor supports the mission, will the team make the impact that it claims to make?
September 2nd, 2019
September – November
Interest Meetings Begin – Sep 10th, 17th, & 24th
Founder Open Pitch Practice – Oct 1st, 8th, & 15th
November 29th @ 5:00pm
Program Applications Close
Startup Internal Due Diligence Begins
Selection Committee Due Diligence Begins
February 15th, 2020
Cohort Participants Selected
February 29th, 2020
Accelerator Kickoff Retreat
March 2nd, 2020
Accelerator Program Begins – Every Monday Evening (12wks)
May 22nd, 2020
Accelerator Program Ends
May 30th, 2020
Accelerator Showcase Event
Applications to join Impact Ventures Spring 2020 Accelerator Cohort are open. Applications are due November 29th by 5pm. Please see the Key Dates section that outlines our application timeline and the activities leading up to selection date. Also, please note that all info shared is subject to change as we are still procuring additional resources to support our fellows.
Please watch our program overview webinar and proceed to the link below to apply.
Apply for Impact Ventures Spring 2020 Accelerator Cohort