January 27th, 2012
Bend launches VentureBox with a different take on the accelerator model. Startups pay to play.
Now, before I say anything more, it’s important to note that I work for a startup accelerator (PIE). And I’m a big fan of anything that helps startups. Also, I don’t see VentureBox as a competitor. And I’m sincerely hoping that they help the Bend area startup scene. The more the merrier, quite frankly.
That said, what jumped out at me—and others—was the way that they had tweaked the model. You see, to participate in this accelerator the startups don’t get capital. They pay the mentors, ala the university system.
The cost to go through the VentureLanch is $1,500 per company. You will need to incorporate a company during the semester, which will cost money, and you may have other business expenses. VentureBox works to reduce the cost of launching a new business by working with our sponsors to help create scholarships for our Founders. There is a good chance an organization in the Central Oregon community will step up to provide a scholarship for you so don’t let the tuition cost keep you from applying.
So $1,500 to get in. And when you graduate? You provide 2% equity of your company to VentureBox, too.
If an enrolled Founder graduates or continues to the last 30 days of the program, the enrolled Founder is asked to contribute two additional fees. First, the Founder is asked to grant a warrant for 2.0% of their company stock to join a Bonus Pool of shared equity upside with VentureBox’s Mentors and Staff.
But maybe that’s just me.