Accelerator

The resources and tools you need to jump start your business.

Our 10-week educational Accelerator program is a hands-on program that helps startups to move early-stage ideas from concept to commercial viability. We make extensive use of lean startup principles and customer discovery techniques to help you more clearly identify the problem you are solving, your target customer, and the unique value your solution provides.

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Summer
FALL

The Accelerator program runs 3 times a year, spring, summer, and fall. It is open to any early-stage startup regardless of the founder’s affiliation to Penn State.

We work with early-stage startups in all industries.

The Accelerator is open to early-stage startups regardless of industry. We are looking for startups who have

  • defined a clear problem or need,
  • a scalable idea that has the potential to grow and employ others,
  • assembled a team (ideally 2 or more) of dedicated individuals who are willing to set aside time to advance the startup,
  • demonstrated a passion for what they are doing.

Milestone driven, with lean startup principles.

Each team works through a series of “milestones” that include

  • personally talking with 100+ potential customers,
  • testing assumptions that can “tank” their business,
  • developing a minimal viable product (MVP), and
  • building a sustainable business model.

“LaunchBox had an incredible impact on my life. It provided me the fundamental tools that I needed to drive my vision.”

Neil Vohra
Co-Founder, KinderMinder

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We take no equity. Charge no fees.

All our services are free of charge and we take zero equity in our accelerator startups.

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24x7 access to our facilities for 1 year.

Accelerator startups receive 24×7 access to our facilities for 1 year, free coffee (thanks to our sponsors), free Wi-Fi, and team desk space in one of our Startup Team rooms.

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1-on-1 coaching and weekly team meetings.

Over the 10-week program, startups meet weekly as a group to share their challenges and lessons learned. Additionally, each team meets weekly with a coach who checks their progress against defined milestones and helps teams address upcoming challenges.

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A focus on customer experience.

In today’s experience economy, companies that provide a high-quality end-to-end experience for their customers have an advantage over those who focus only on the point specific usability of their products.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We focus on early-stage startups in any industry regardless of whether they offer a product or a service. Specifically, we find the best fit with startups who…

  • …have 2 or more team members.
    We have accepted teams with only 1 member in the past, but we find that teams with at least 2 team members tend to make more progress. The team can be made up of 2 co-founders or 1 founder and a dedicated team member (i.e., both team members don’t need to be founders or equity stakeholders).
  • …are in search of the right business model.
    We’re best with emerging markets and unknown for-profit business models. We can help businesses that have defined business models through our support services, but find that startups who have a number of potential ways to monetize their business are great fits.
  • ..have scaleable ideas.
    We’re looking for ideas that have the potential to grow into scalable businesses where they can hire employees. If you are working on a sole proprietorship, then we can help connect you to resources, but the accelerator is focused on scalable businesses.
  • …have already put some work into the idea.
    While you don’t have to have customers or revenue, we’re looking for teams who have made some progress towards clearly defining the problem, the target customer, and the potential solution. In short, the best fit is teams who have more than just an idea, but have taken steps to advance their idea towards a real business.

While we do not provide funding for individual teams, we do provide teams special access to potential sources of funding.

No. We take zero equity and charge no fees.

  • A 10-week educational, hands on program that leverages lean startup principles to help accelerate entry to market
  • 24×7 access to our facilities for 1 year
  • Access to our extensive network of advisors and experts
  • 1-on-1 coaching
  • Free Wi-Fi, video and teleconferencing capability
  1. Startups apply online to for one of our 3 accelerator programs (spring, summer, or fall).
  2. A Selection Committee comprised of local business owners, representatives from Invent Penn State, entrepreneurial faculty at Penn State, a recent graduate of the LaunchBox accelerator, and a representative from an undergraduate entrepreneurial club, review all applications and provide feedback against a defined set of criteria.
  3. We invite 10-12 startups to an in-person interview at the LaunchBox facility.
  4. We extend invitations to 5- 7 startups to participate in the program.

Summer 2017 Accelerator

  • Applications closed

Fall 2017 Accelerator

  • Applications close: September 1st, at midnight
  • Finalists notified: September 11th via email
  • Finalist interviews with selection committee: September 13-14th
  • Final teams notified: September 15th
  • Accelerator begins: Week of September 25th
  • Accelerator ends: Week of December 9th

The number of applicants varies, however, we typically see between 30-40 applicants for each program cycle.

The expectation of all LaunchTeams is that they are willing to put in the work that it takes to de-risk their business and build a viable plan for growth. During the 10-week program, LaunchTeams commit a minimum of 3 hours per week for the weekly team meeting and 1-on-1 coaching sessions. Teams may spend up to 5 hours per week preparing for meetings and completing team milestones.

We work with the startups teams to find a convenient time for weekly meetings. Depending on schedules, meetings may be held during the day or into evenings hours.

After the 10-week training, startups will be eligible to retain their LaunchBox seats for an additional 9 months to continue to develop their business concept.

Our hope is that you grow fast and outgrow the space. Teams that are too successful, or who need to reboot, will be asked to move to other space or resources in the ecosystem in order to make room for other early-stage entrepreneurs.

PROGRAM LEADER

Lee Erickson

Lee brings 25 years of business experience to her job as LaunchBox coach. As the co-founder and CEO of Erickson Barnett, a full-service marketing agency, she worked with B2B technology startups and some of the world’s largest venture capital firms. She also brings hands-on experience with customer discovery and design thinking sprints to help startups drive innovative solutions that solve real problems.

What are you waiting for? Today's a great day to start a business.