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Accelerating Startup Partnership and Investment Readiness (ASPIRE) Program

Opportunity for USA Startups to Participate in an Entrepreneurial
Training Program to Prepare for Investment Fundraising

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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VentureWell

Conf. Date:

02/04/21

Deadline Date:

03/01/21 11:59 PM ET

Description:

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Opportunity for USA startups to participate in an entrepreneurial training program to prepare for investment fundraising. During the seven-week program, cleantech startups will interact with active investors, mentors-in-residence, and fellow founders. The current cohort is aimed at startups focusing on engineering and science innovations that create positive environmental impact through the innovation's application or design, especially ventures that address sustainability priorities including climate change, air and water pollution, food and transportation systems, waste management, and energy use. Companies should be preparing to raise seed or Series A rounds within the coming year.

ASPIRE is an intensive program that prepares startups for the investments and partnerships necessary to launch their venture. Mentors-in-residence work one-on-one with startups to simulate due diligence conversations and integrate feedback into materials in real-time.

  • Engaged Mentorship: Startups will work with high-caliber mentors throughout the program that have experience investing or partnering with startups.
  • Clear Milestones and Ask: Startups will leave with a clear articulation of their investment needs, including the investment ask and planned milestones for the round.
  • Due Diligence Deal Room: Spend time creating and refining deal room materials to use during the fundraising process. Invest time and energy into work product for a deal room, not a demo day pitch.
  • Stress Tests: VentureWell pushes boundaries with real-world stress tests – actual startup disaster scenarios
  • Network Building: Learn from peers and share experiences with a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs who are facing similar challenges.

Why ASPIRE?

  • Spend one-on-one time with investors: Learn from a group of investor-mentors who have funded startups during the virtualized 8-week program.
  • Vet fundraising strategies: Refine deal room materials and take part in a mock board meeting to prepare for partnership conversations.
  • Stress-test the startup: Work through real-world disaster scenarios with the team to discover how to best prepare for the unexpected.
  • Collaborate and network: Meet with a portfolio manager weekly for deal room work sessions. Connect with fellow founders and leverage the VentureWell investor network after the program ends.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 186392

Number of Grants:

VentureWell will select 10-15 dedicated science and engineering-based startups.

Term of Contract:

Program Dates: April 12 – May 28, 2021

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Requirements:
- Science & engineering inventions with positive environmental impact: Clearly articulated assessment of how your technology will address key sustainability priorities through its direct application or design and manufacture.
- Team identified and startup formed. First-time founders with management team and key roles identified—no solo founders. Incorporated as a legal entity by the beginning of the program.
- Intellectual property. Provisional patent(s) filed and assigned to the company or a clear pathway to the license.
- Actively fundraising. Company has raised at least $25K (grants or equity) and is preparing for a round of equity investment within 12 months.
- Technology validated: Initial prototype developed, pilot studies or field trials underway.
- Early market validation. Validated customer segments and initial evidence of product-market fit. Articulation of economic value proposition and evidence of customer buy-in.

ASPIRE is open to startups that have previously received funding from VentureWell (E-Teams) OR startups new to VentureWell that are led by at least one founder from a group underrepresented in science and technology. This includes founders who identify as women, persons with disabilities, and/or members from the following racial and ethnic groups—Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, and American Indian or Alaska Native.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Informational webinar: February 4, 3:00 pm ET
Registration: https://go.venturewell.org/l/388732/2021-01-06/y5mkxf

Link to download the webinar presentation: https://go.venturewell.org/l/388732/2021-02-04/yqjjh4

Pre-Application Information:

Timeline:
- Applications due: March 1, 2021
- Program dates: April 12 – May 28, 2021

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Application Portal:
https://oms.venturewell.org/client/index.html

Questions? Please contact Contact Christina Tamer at ctamer@venturewell.org

VentureWell
100 Venture Way
Hadley, MA 01035
(413) 587-2172

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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