Getting into the Accelerator:

Who is encouraged to apply to the VVM Startup Accelerator:
In addition to eligibility requirements , successful applicants will be able to succinctly describe a) their customers b) the product or service, and c) how the product or service will benefit their customers.

Additionally, the VVM Startup Accelerator seeks to admit and award high impact new ventures, so we also ask that you have a vision to scale beyond a traditional small business.

How many rounds are there and why? 
The VVM Startup Accelerator has 3 rounds. We received tons 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 will be normalized used MIT's math and the Top Applicants will be invited to an in-person or virtual interview. Our accelerator staff will interview you for 15-30 minutes to make sure that you are the right fit for our program - mostly we’re looking for coachability.

The next stage will be an in-person pre-accelerator where we do our final “gut check”. We’ll invite you to a 1.5 day bootcamp where we’ll talk about VVM and our program expectations and we’ll have you work on a few different exercises to again, gauge your coachability. You’ll meet our mentors and EIRs and they’ll help us select our final cohort of 18.


Admin:

What is the general schedule for Startup Accelerator Bootcamp weekends?
The general timeline of bootcamp weekends is as follows:
Thursdays: 1pm - 6pm
Fridays: 9am - 6pm
Saturdays: 9am - 6pm

**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 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/Hangouts are not an option for required dates.

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:

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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. Our channel will be up soon - check your settings so that you see notifications.


Travel:

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

Hotel
The Tower Square Hotel - operated by Marriot - is a great option. 
To book a room at a reduced rate, please call 413-781-7111 and ask for Reservations.

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 (Airport Code: BDL) 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.


Weather

If Western, MA experiences a significant weather event, we will be following the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency twitter feed (@MASSEMA)  and Facebook for updates on travel conditions.

Programming will remain as scheduled unless MEMA reports only essential-personnel should be on roads.

If this affects one day of the program, we'll need to adjust accordingly and creatively (we'll keep you posted).

However, if we experience a very significant weather event disrupting the entire weekend, we have planned backup dates.