What types of companies does StartFast invest in?
We specialize in early-stage high growth tech start-ups. We are not industry specific but focus on software, web or mobile apps, IoT hardware, or electronics. The most important success factors:
- A team of 2 or more co-founders
- Full-time committed co-founders
- A well defined market need
- A large addressable market
- The ability to develop a scalable business model
- The ability to participate in StartFast's accelerator program
What's the goal of the accelerator program?
Starting a company is an intense process. We know it first hand having launched 9 companies with over $350MM raised, $250MM in exits, and $1 B IPO. One thing that experience has taught us is that it takes more than just money for founders to identify their early adopters, and gain the market traction they need to raise funding and accelerate the growth of their business.
StartFast's accelerator is a 12 week mentorship and value driven experience proven to help early-stage companies:
- identify product-market fit
- gain early market traction,
- raise seed-funding and,
- develop a scalable business model.
Companies join StartFast leadership in Syracuse NY, hosted by Le Moyne College's Madden School of Business. Teams work daily with our mentor network of 100 + entrepreneurs, investors, corporate executives, and subject matter experts to help them build their company.
Founders live in new air-conditioned townhouses directly behind the offices. The program culminates with Demo Day, a 250+ attendee pitch event in a room packed with angel investors and VCs looking to invest in companies graduating from StartFast's accelerator.
Why does StartFast want stock in my new company?
StartFast is geared to deliver the best possible support for accelerating your startup’s success. As entrepreneurs, we understand and value the notion of maximizing return on investment. Our investment motivates us to help you succeed by every means possible (e.g., introductions to people who can help, assisting with strategy, finding more investors).
Should I contact StartFast mentors to let them know I have applied?
We are looking for quality applications with strong teams. Contacting mentors does not add value to your application process. All applications are viewed equally whether they are cold or through referrals. A referral does not increase your chances of selection as an average of 70% of selected companies are non-referrals. If one of the mentors happens to recommended that you apply to the program, please reference them in your application.
Do I have to be there for the entire 3-month period?
We do require program participants to be in Syracuse for the duration of the program. This ensures you will derive the maximum exposure to our mentors and be able to take advantage of regular networking and learning opportunities.
Do I have to stay in Syracuse when the program ends?
Since StartFast is 100% privately funded we are flexible to make investments with no strings attached. Because of this, once the program ends you are free to live wherever you choose unlike many other programs that are government or non-profit funded that have some strings attached such as location requirements.
How can we get funded after StartFast ends?
Most of our startups are likely to need additional funding beyond the seed amount we provide. After the program we regularly invest $100,000 - $500,000 in select companies and will both lead and follow in fundraising rounds. StartFast's program ends the summer with a Demo Day where we invite angel investors and venture capitalists from around the country to view your product and your pitch. As equity holders in your company, we will continue to help you in your fundraising efforts beyond the end of the program.
What sort of control am I giving up by granting equity to StartFast?
StartFast is taking common stock with a minority position. No special rights, no board seats – its your gig, so you run it.
What are your thoughts regarding single founder applications?
Building a high-growth startup is hard. Our preference is to work with high-performing teams that can manage the ups and downs of building a product and creating a viable business case. Try to find a co-founder who complements your strengths.
Where will we live while we’re there?
Thanks to our partnership with Le Moyne College, all StartFast teams have access to furnished housing units at a heavily discounted rate, including on-site parking. The housing is within walking distance of the coworking space.
How do you choose which companies to accept into the program and to fund?
Please see our first blog post on this topic. After the initial cut, we are looking for ongoing communication showing your team’s ability to set targets and meet them. Big ideas without fully committed, execution-focused founders are not high on our list.
When is the deadline to apply and what’s the overall timeline?
We encourage applicants to submit by the early application deadline, for various reasons.
See this calendar to take note on the application deadline.