What is TiE?
TiE is a global non-profit that began in Silicon Valley with a mission to nurture entrepreneurship. The values and beliefs of TiE reflect the culture and value system of Silicon Valley: entrepreneurship and wealth creation are invaluable human endeavors, and successful entrepreneurs find fulfillment in helping budding entrepreneurs.
What is TiE LaunchPad?
TiE LaunchPad is an accelerator for enterprise-focused startups. We accept up to 8 companies per batch for a 5 month program run at TiE Silicon Valley in Sunnyvale, CA. The core focus of the program is to help enterprise startups validate their business and prepare for their first round of funding.
My company is angel funded. Should I still apply?
Yes. We have had a number of angel funded companies join the accelerator. And some of these were already generating revenue. TiE's ecosystem gives access to customers, mentors, and investors which is valuable to any stage startup.
How much funding do we receive?
Each company receives $50,000 in convertible notes. We also ask that our TiE LaunchPad investors be allowed, if they choose, to invest up to 10% of your next round.
Are there any costs once we're in the program?
There is a program fee of 4% common equity. Weekly meetings are held on Tuesday afternoons at TiE in Sunnyvale. You are not required to work from TiE, but doing so increases peer interaction, gives you ready access to TiE events, and greatly enhances the program. Desk space at TiE is available for a low monthly fee.
Who are the mentors?
Our mentors include many of the 350+ Charter Members of TiE Silicon Valley, and other invited mentors. Charter Membership is by invite-only for highly accomplished professionals with a willingness to give back through mentorship and other means. This extensive group is comprised of successful entrepreneurs, VCs, angels, and industry executives.
As part of TiE LaunchPad, you can select a mentor from the pool to be your dedicated mentor. This dedicated mentor is expected to work with you weekly for the duration of the 5 month program. This deep 1:1 relationship is augmented by access to other Charter Members and TiE resources.
What's the incentive for mentors to spend so much time with us?
There are several reasons why the mentors are willing to help you. First, from your 4% equity fee, 0.25% goes to your dedicated mentor. This ensures your dedicated mentor has direct incentive to help you. Second, many of the mentors are also investors in the fund that provides the capital for the convertible notes. So helping you succeed generates a better return. Third, for Charter Members, mentoring is a fundamental tenet for giving back to the ecosystem that made them successful. And finally, part of the fund's return is allocated to TiE – again a form of giving back. All of this creates tremendous monetary and social incentive to help you win.
If TiE is a non-profit, where does the money come from?
The capital for the note comes from a fund raised by Charter Members. It is set up like a typical VC fund and is expected to generate a positive return to its investors. As part of Charter Member give back, a portion of the return is donated to TiE.
What happens during the program?
TiE LaunchPad has a multi-pronged approach to help you accelerate the development of your startup. First is a curriculum of workshops. You will get to hear from a number of speakers who will share best practices on entrepreneurship including selling, hiring, financials, fund raising and more. You are expected to get out of the building and validate your solution, pricing model, channel strategy and other aspects of your business. Second, to help you with this, you select a dedicated mentor with relevant domain expertise. This mentor will offer strategic and tactical guidance, and help put you in touch with industry contacts who can validate your business. And, finally, you will have access to TiE events and programs, office hours by experts and more. All of this is done to help you build the data points needed for a successful fund raising effort.
Do we have to be a Silicon Valley local company?
Strong preference is given to startups that are in, or expect to locate to, the Bay area.
What is the selection criteria?
We look for startups who are creating products to sell to other businesses. This can include cloud apps, IT infrastructure, mobile, big data, security, and more. Ideally, you are building a technology barrier against the competition. We are not looking for startups who sell consulting services (development shops, gaming studios, etc…). Nor are we are looking for those who sell to consumers directly or indirectly (such as ad networks).
You should be beyond idea stage and able to demo a prototype or working product. You should also have feedback from potential customers, though revenue is not expected.
Finally, the $50k investment from TiE LaunchPad should go towards expenses other than founder salaries such hiring developers, conferences, desk space, etc... You should be able to provide your own living expenses through savings, customer revenue or other funding.
How is TiE LaunchPad different from TiE Angels?
TiE Angels is an angel group similar to Band of Angels, Angels Forum, Astia Angels and others. There is no fund and and its investors decide on investments as individuals. Companies typically raise $250k from TiE Angels.
TiE LaunchPad is an accelerator that provides $50k in notes, mentorship, and curriculum for up to 8 companies at a time over a 5-month program. Companies raise additional funding from angels or VCs. They are welcome to apply to TiE Angels for funding, and are given priority for presenting there. But there is no guarantee they will be funded by TiE Angels.