2018 Startup Accelerator FAQs

Contents
Admin
GAN Membership
Slack
Travel
Getting into the Accelerator

Admin:

What is the general schedule for Startup Accelerator Bootcamp weekends?
The general timeline of bootcamp weekends is as follows:
Fridays: 9am - 6pm
Saturdays: 9am - 6pm
Sundays: 9am - 4pm

**Please note that times are subject to change. A schedule will be provided before each bootcamp weekend.

What are the dates of the Startup Accelerator weekends and other important dates?
You can easily find all the dates on the calendar and the key dates page!

Can I skype/telecommute in some days?
All key dates listed, as indicated in agreement, need to be in person, as all are interactive.  Skype is not an option for required dates.

What is the snow/inclement weather policy?
Should we close due to weather we will put a message on our website homepage. We will do our best to update our website by 5 pm the day before an event, but please check the day of too, just in case.

Do we have to bring our own food?
Great news! We feed you pretty much constantly. Full bootcamp days begin with a continental type breakfast, snack, lunch, followed by snack. If there is an evening event, dinner-type food will be provided as well. 

Once accepted, we will send you a survey asking about dietary needs that we are able accommodate (e.g. vegetarian, dairy free and gluten free.) We are not a nut free environment and do not prepare food on site, so are often unaware of ingredients.

Do I need to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN)?
Yes! We cannot pay individuals. We strongly recommend all startups have an EIN before the first weekend. You can apply for one easily on the irs.gov website! Each startup will be handing in a W-9 in February, so make sure you are prepared! 


GAN Membership:

GAN_memberbadge.png

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. 
  • Scale School: Participate in a hybrid in-person and online post accelerator program for GAN accelerator alumni. This is a three month program focussed on getting you to the next level. 
  • Find a corporate partner: Corporations want to meet innovators and partner with startups in the early stages. Startups may want a warm introduction to a corporate customer prospect. It goes both ways! 
  • Mentor Match: Have a specific mentoring need? Request a mentor through an online portal and you will be matched with a mentor in the worldwide GAN network. 
  • HR Trinet Perk: US startups can access to HR services like health benefits and payroll at great rates, comparable to the rates of large corporations.  
  • Access to Recorded Mentor Calls: Have a specific question?  Check the GAN library of recorded mentor calls, listed by topic,  and do a deep dive with with a mentor like Brad Feld, Jerry Colonna, or John Greathouse etc. 

Slack:

#Slack is a fun contained chat room. Here's a super simple guide on how to use Slack effectively. And for those of you who like videos, watch these


Travel:

Will VVM cover my travel?
Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to offer to cover startups travel stipends. We wish we did, but we are a non-profit. 

Hotel
The Tower Square Hotel is a great option and in the same building as VVM. 
The Springfield Sheraton Monarch Place Hotel, is also in close proximity and is across the street from the Marriott.
Previous cohorts have also stayed in local AirBNBs

Airports
Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Connecticut is the airport closest to VVM. Another option, Boston’s Logan Airport, typically offers cheaper airfares and a larger variety of carriers and flights than Bradley Airport. Logan is about 100 miles (2 hours driving distance) away from Springfield, and would probably require a car rental or taking a bus through Peter Pan Bus Company. Traffic in Boston is notoriously unpredictable, so please consider this if booking flights through Logan.

Is parking covered?
Yes! VVM will pay for your parking on Fridays (except for overnight parking at hotel). Parking is free on the street on Saturday and Sunday - we highly encourage you to take advantage of this! It saves us a ton of money, that we can use for more awesome things! 

Where to park and how to get to VVM from the garage:
Please park in the Tower Square garage so VVM can validate your parking, unless you are staying overnight at the Hotel. There one entrance to the garage on Bridge Street. Map to Tower Square, 1500 Main St, Springfield MA, 01115.

  • Park on level A in the Tower Square Garage. From the gate, turn right.
  • Take the next two immediate right hand turns (without going up the ramp to level B).
  • Park at and use the first set of elevators. They will be on your right hand side.
  • Ride to level “*S” (Street / Shops).
  • Take a left out of the elevator.
  • VVM World HQ is adjacent to Champions Sports bar.

Getting into the Accelerator:

How many rounds are there and why? 
The VVM Startup Accelerator has 3 rounds. We received hundreds of applications to the accelerator and have found that the fairest way to score all of them is through an initial eligibility screening, then a Peer Review, followed by an in-person interview for the Top Applicants. Instead of traditionally getting 3 judges scores, you're actually getting 15-20 unbiased scores from a huge variety of entrepreneurs, aka the people who know what you are going through! 

Peer Review Feedback and the Screening Party interviews will be normalized used MIT's math and the Top Applicants will be invited to Round 3, the Screening Party. The Screening Party is an in-person interview where our community of awesome mentors will help us determine if you will be a good fit for our program. These scores, along with the Round 2 scores, will be used to pick the top 34 startups that will be in the program.

What's different about the Pathlight Challenge process?
Pathlight Challenge applicants also go through the Peer Review process like all of our startups. However, they will be invited to a separate Screening Party where they will meet representatives from Pathlight who will help us determine who will be a good fit for the program. The top 2 companies will be invited to be in the program. If Pathlight Challenge applicants want to be considered for both tracks, they must attend both Screening Parties. 

What's the benefit if I don't make it to Round 3?
Even if you don't make it to Round 3 - you will still be emailed all of your peers' feedback. That's a huge amount of data and feedback that you will have available to you to use as you wish.

What's the benefit if I make it into Round 3, but don't make it to the Accelerator? 
Now that you've had an opportunity to review your peer feedback and update your elevator pitch, you'll meet our community in person, during a fast-paced and fun event. The Screening Party will teach you to articulate your pitch more effectively, in a short amount of time, to a wide variety of judges, from all backgrounds. It's a great learning experience, so please make sure to register!