1. Am I eligible to apply to Springboard’s accelerator?
YOU MUST HAVE:
A woman in a key management position with a significant equity stake.
A track record of milestone achievement, which may include: grants, clients, revenue, partners, etc.
A profitable market opportunity with a defensible competitive advantage.
A credible core management team or the ability to attract one.
A willingness to invest back in Springboard and our network
2. What stage of company are you looking for?
We accept applications from companies at all stages, from seed to early stage (series A) to late stage (series B and beyond). Our “sweet spot” is any company that is or will be seeking institutional investments within the next 12-18 months.
3. Do you have a geographic focus?
We are location-agnostic. Except when we run an accelerator program specifically for a particular geographic location, our main focus is finding the most promising companies, regardless of where they are located. We’ve worked with companies in over 30 states and more than 10 countries and are fine with virtual teams, too.
4. I’m not sure if I’m a good fit for your program. Should I apply?
Let’s talk first. If you have doubts, we’d hate to waste your time completing the application only to find out you aren’t an eligible candidate. That said, it’s difficult without reviewing your information and seeing your application to properly determine whether or not you’re a fit. Chances are, you’ll meet our criteria to apply and we’ll recommend you submit an application. If you end up not being selected for the program, we’ll still point you in the direction of the right resources for you – whether it’s a seed accelerator, angel group, or someone (or something) else entirely.
5. What is the cost?
There are two fees associated with the program:
For all applicants, there is a $100 priority application fee (which increases to $200 for submissions after the priority deadline)
For all selected companies, there is a program fee ranging from $2500-$5000 and a suggested contribution of 1-2% in warrants*. This fee is reflective of the cost to put on the program that is not covered by our corporate sponsors and varies depending on the breadth of each program. As a non-profit, Springboard does not take equity.
*Contribution of warrants to Springboard is optional but encouraged in recognition of the value of the Springboard network.
6. Do I need to move somewhere to participate?
No. We do not require companies to relocate in order to participate in our program. Instead we host several high-value in-person events over the course of several months that are most often condensed into a single day but never longer than three days. We complement this face time with strategic virtual connections to surround our talented women business builders with the expertise and connections they need to grow “BIG businesses starting SMALL.”
7. I’m an experienced entrepreneur. Why should I apply?
Some of our most successful alumnae like Pamela Contag, Robin Chase, Gail Goodman and Linda Hall Keller also asked that question. In our previous programs, these women and over 750 others have achieved remarkable results: over 86% have raised capital, $9.5B raised in total, 19 IPOs, tens of thousands of jobs created and billions in annual revenue. We understand what it takes to help build great women-led businesses. Every step in our program is remarkably calculated and has evolved from nearly 20 years of experience in running high-touch, high-value programs for the world’s most promising entrepreneurs. We won’t waste your time.
8. Can you explain why there is a first and second deadline?
Each application cycle has two deadlines. Applications submitted before the first deadline get an early review. For those that need additional time to submit their application, we have a second deadline and an increased application fee. Submissions are due by 11:59pm ET on the deadline day.
9. Who’s involved in the program?
Our programs are truly community-driven. We involve over 500 entrepreneurs, angel investors, VCs, corporate investors, business development contacts, press, service providers and domain experts in the program. These individuals help by referring applicants, evaluating applicants, speaking at our events, coaching selected companies and recruiting new talent into this pool of experts.
10. How can I increase my chances of being selected?
We accept around 10 companies in each accelerator class, which means the application process is highly competitive. We play close attention, as investors do, to the referral source of the companies that come to us. Find out who we know, and ask them to give you a reference. Mention their names on your application and include any other external sources of validation like awards that tell us you are a force to be reckoned with.
11. What happens during the program?
During the four-month program, selected entrepreneurs attend a two- to three-day Bootcamp where they are assessed by our team as they begin the Springboard journey alongside a peer group of talented and experienced women leaders. Each entrepreneur is surrounded by a hand-crafted team of advisors who provide a diverse array of perspectives to help hone your presentation skills and get new perspective on your strategy. The advising period may also be complemented with a series of workshop sessions led by our advisors and trusted partners built around the collective needs of our entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs continue to get access throughout the advising period by 1-1 calls and meetings.
Towards the end of the program cycle, we set up opportunities to present before small audiences of relevant investors or corporate partners. Depending on the specific program, these events may be attended by up to 100 investors, industry experts and connectors or by just a few, highly connected, highly regarded decision-makers.
12. What happens after the program?
The alumnae of our accelerator programs never stop reaping the benefits of being part of our curated entrepreneurial expert network.
After the program, we continue to serve as a relentless advocate for our entrepreneurs, leveraging our relationships and the connections within our network to add value, whether by helping you get access where you need it, or by having your back in the most challenging of circumstances. We are your partners on your search for success and strive to be the backbone and the peer network that you turn to in times of stress and success.
We are invested in the long-term success of our entrepreneurs, and we expect our entrepreneurs to be invested in the long-term success of the Springboard network. We host an annual Winners’ Circle dinner, a bi-annual Caucus and have a constant influx of new talent into the Springboard pipeline. When you exit your company, we seek to keep you involved in the virtuous Springboard cycle by serving as an advisor to a program, on an Industry Council, and as an investor in Springboard’s mission to cultivate and promote the best entrepreneurial talent in the world.