2017 VVM Startup Accelerator

You know what an accelerator does. It speeds things up. That’s what we do.
We help you speed up the growth and success of your business.

STARTUP ACCELERATOR PARTICIPANTS GET . . .

Watch this video from the 2016 Startup Accelerator Awards to experience some of VVM's culture and mission.

  • Get: Four months of intense training and lovingly critical support.
  • Tap: Subject matter experts, investors, and highly engaged and collaborative peers.
  • Access: Free office space from January through May 2017.
  • Smile: Our teams get tons of marketing exposure and public relations promotion.
  • Compete: Win up to $50,000 each (equity-free!) to develop their businesses.
  • Clever Capital: Equity-free funding, distributed by judges who are all seed stage investors who can (and have) followed up with their own additional funds. 
  • Balance: The "one long weekend a month" structure of our accelerator allows people with day jobs and/or significant family commitments the ability to fully engage.  
  • Real Support: Our alumni, from as far away as England, consistently tell us that VVM and Western Massachusetts was the most welcoming environment they had ever worked in as entrepreneurs.
  • Authentic Relationship Building: You don't build a relationship overnight.  VVM's Startup Accelerator carefully creates deep connections with your peers and opportunities for you to meet potential advisors, partners, and investors multiple times so relationships can grow.
  • InclusionVVM supports diversity and inclusion in our community and in all of our programs. We are proud that startups of all industries, and founders of all stripes, thrive at VVM. 
I’ve seen some of the best accelerators and biggest demo days across the country, but I must say the folks at VVM are doing something very special in Western Massachusetts.
— Nick Moran, The Full Ratchet Podcast, 2016 Judge

THE PROGRAM

Core training, meetings, and events are held in "one long weekend a month" bootcamps, featuring hands-on training, expert-led lectures, peer collaboration, advisor office hours, and practice judging rounds. In addition, workshops cover strategy, innovation, marketing, sales, team-building, operating best practices, fundraising, and term sheets for valuations. Teams then participate in a public showcase and rounds of competition for awards.

PATHLIGHT FELLOWSHIP CHALLENGE

Valley Venture Mentors and Pathlight, a leading provider of services for people with intellectual disabilities, have joined in an exciting partnership to create the Pathlight Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to offer two prestigious spots in VVM’s Startup Accelerator to startups that are creating solutions for people, particularly millennials, with developmental and intellectual disabilities (and those with autism who have no intellectual disability) to lead more independent lives.  More information here!

SELECTION SCHEDULE

Applications are due in October of each year; the program runs January through May. More dates coming soon! 

  • Sept. 16: Applications open
  • Oct. 19: Application deadline for 2017 Accelerator
  • Oct. 25: Round 2 (Peer Review Round) Notification
  • Nov. 7: Round 3 (In-Person Screening) Notification
  • Nov. 15 & 29: In-Person Screening 
  • Nov. 17: Pathlight applicants will be invited to a separate Screening Party with PathLight representatives. More information will be posted to the Pathlight Page.

PROGRAMMING SCHEDULE

  • Jump-in January: Advance prep work will be assigned to all teams to in early January so you can hit the ground running at Orientation in February!
  • Foundation February: It all starts with your problem solution fit.  
    February’s Core Concepts: Value Propositions & Customer Segments
  • Make It Happen March: You need customers and multiple ways to find and sustain them to grow your business. How do you get, keep and grow your customer base?
    March's Core Concepts: Customer Acquisition, Customer Relationships/Retention, Channels: Distribution & Marketing.
  • Awesome April: How to show investors your real, tested, key metrics and tie them to meaningful financials. April's Core Concepts:  Revenue, costs & operating best practices, valuation & investor options.
  • Semi-Final May: Peer judging to determine the top teams that will advance to the Finals and Accelerator Awards.

Accelerator & Competition Rules

What 2016 Accelerator Participants Said About The Program:

In an anonymous survey, 94% of the 2016 cohort said they would go through the program again. (Why anonymous? Because we want the most real and honest answers to continue improving the accelerator!)

This has been a very inviting forum for women. Women are encouraged to participate, to lead, to give feedback, to challenge, that’s the environment that we have here.
The forums that VVM created for us to be able to meet with investors, talk with investors, pitch investors, was just incredible.
The resources that VVM has are amazingly useful and anybody who goes through that program should be asking for help nonstop.
I think that it was a great program in a lot of ways because you didn’t really know going in how little you knew and I know that we ended up learning so many skills and so many things just because we went through the program.

What 2015 Accelerator Participants Said About The Program:

Before VVM, I wasn’t even thinking about raising money. By the end I was putting together a round at a valuation far more impressive than I could have anticipated.
Although we did not place, the overall impact the VVM had on our team, milestones, education, knowledge and future planning was more than any dollar sign could give.
Unbelievable. Changed the course of our company. But even more... this changed the way that I will continue to start and grow businesses for the rest of my life. VVM introduced me to a whole new world.