2018 VVM Startup Accelerator

STARTUP ACCELERATOR PARTICIPANTS . . .

What's it like at VVM? Watch this video to learn more! 

  • Get: Five 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 2018.
  • 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 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. 
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Global Accelerator Network Benefits

Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) Startup Accelerator is a part of the Global Accelerator Network (GAN), which is described as “a highly-curated community of independent accelerators, corporates, and investors." The network offers expansive opportunities for VVM’s Accelerator startups and for VVM as a whole including:

  • Over $1M in Savings and stuff for free: From Cloud hosting credits to airline tickets to CRMs, you are likely to find what you need.
  • GAN Coworking Exchange: Connect with the global community and work for free for up to two weeks at a participating GAN Accelerator almost anywhere in the world.
  • GAN Investor Network: Connect with GAN Ventures, the investment arm of GAN creating catalytic capital for seed stage companies coming out of GAN accelerators.
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 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 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 now open!  

  • Application close: October 18, 2017
  • Round 2 Due: October 31, 2017        
  • Round 3 Interviews: November 15, 2017
  • Invitations extended: December 5, 2017

PROGRAMMING SCHEDULE

  • Jump-in January - pre-work assigned
  • Foundation February - February 2-4, 2018
  • Make It Happen March - March 2-4, 2018
  • Awesome April - April 5-8, 2018
  • Semi-Finals May - May 4-5, 2018
  • Finals Competition and Awards - May 24, 2018

We did a facebook video about the most important part of the application, check that out before you hit apply! 

What 2017 Accelerator Participants Said About The Program:

What the program did was really push me out of my comfort zone to see myself as an entrepreneur in a different kind of way.
It’s like it doesn’t matter where you’re from of what your credentials are, it’s about the idea.
It’s just been great for networking. It’s been great for personal development. It’s been great for business development. I’ve made relationships with people that will last a lifetime... just a bunch of bright, helpful, talented people that are trying to do something positive.
I was in this amazing pool of multi-cultural, intelligent, people... so they nailed it with diversity, they nailed it.
I don’t know that I would have ruled out certain customer segments as quickly if I weren’t in the accelerator....

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.