2012 was a year of many firsts for StartFast and also one of great changes in the landscape for early stage investors and accelerator programs. We look forward to 2013 with great anticipation and are making several improvements to this summer’s program with the twin goals of bringing faster returns to investors and greater value to founders.
- EIRs: We have instituted an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program so that StartFast teams have the ability to work closely with experienced entrepreneurs who can play a key role as a virtual member of the startup team. StartFast EIRs are exited serial entrepreneurs and investors who will grow the StartFast network’s reach, help recruit great companies, identify new mentors/investors and work with the selected companies to more quickly meet their goals and investors’ expectations. Our first two EIRs, Kyle Blumin and Jeremy Schwimmer, are already active in identifying, screening, and recruiting startups. Additional EIRs will be announced in the coming weeks.
- Rolling Admissions: StartFast is instituting a rolling admissions policy so that we incentivize early applications and also have the opportunity to maximize the time spent with applicants prior to the start of the program. This means that startups that apply early get our attention first and as the slots get filled, later applications have a tougher time competing for the remaining slots. These extra weeks and months can be critical in helping companies reevaluate their direction, achieve better product-market fit, and even access additional investment capital. With our new EIRs on board, we have greater bandwidth and a much larger network for engaging founders early and often. Apply Now
- Additional Capital: In response to the widely publicized “A-round crunch”, we are raising additional funds from existing and new investors and sponsors. We plan on making follow-on investments in the most promising StartFast companies.
- Investor Outreach: We are growing our outreach in Boston and New York to both recruit new startups and increase opportunities for StartFast teams to present to accredited investors. In addition, in 2013 we will ask regional entrepreneurs and angels to host events in Rochester, Buffalo, Albany, Ithaca and Binghamton.
- New Guidebook: We will be publishing volume 2 of the StartFast! book series to enhance founder education. Volume 1, published in January 2012, covers lean startup principles. Volume 2, “Growth Hacking – A Practitioner’s Guide to Lean Marketing” will cover the best means to engineer rapid growth.
We’re proud of what we’re doing and excited about Upstate NY’s entrepreneurial renaissance. We don’t aspire to be Silicon Valley or Manhattan, but we are on our way to building a great entrepreneurial community and creating opportunities for value investors that are not available in more overheated markets. StartFast is tapping into the tremendous talent of our region as well as recruiting the best and brightest from around the world.