Catalyst is a long-format accelerator, providing early-stage startups in central Virginia with nine months of program support, including: $20,000 in grant funding, dedicated workspace, experienced founders-in-residence, monthly programming, dedicated staff, a large network of industry experts, and access to nearly $50,000 in additional resources.
What follows is a general overview of the process through which teams are selected for the Catalyst program. As noted on the application page, the purpose of the application process is not only to select the small group of teams in a program cohort but also to hopefully connect those founders and companies in the region that might not be a fit for the program with the people and resources who can help out.
The program team will filter out from the application pool those teams that simply are not eligible or appropriate for the program (e.g., out of the region, too early or late in stage of development, outside the industry portfolio we can support, not scalable, etc.)
A set of local, experienced founders will select from the application pool only those companies that pass the “high potential and scalable” bar, in terms of market, product/service, team skill/experience, etc.
This stage in the process is important because it (a) reduces the applicant pool to those most qualified teams, (b) provides us with a window into a range of teams in the area who might benefit from connections to resources, and (c) helps to match each team ultimately selected for the program with a local, experience founder who feels they can help out.
The small number of teams that have made it through Stages One and Two will present in-person to a selection committee comprised of individuals from the local/regional capital community. As a formal accelerator program, Catalyst is most appropriate only for those teams that might have been or would be fundable by early stage investors—with possible exceptions being teams with products/services that could be crowdfunded. And so, this final stage is to select only those teams that are ultimately a fit for the program.
Furthermore, this final stage is our twist on the normal “Demo Day.” Usually, programs host these days at the end of the program. We are, essentially, running the demo day at the beginning of the program—hoping to draw the capital community into the process and support for the teams.
For more information, please visit the Catalyst website.