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
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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’s space and resources has made their support immeasurable, but what really inspires me is their motto ‘Don’t Quit Your Daydream’. Work doesn’t feel like work when you have a vision.”

Elaine Demopolis
Co-Founder, Rain Reality

Spotlight

Governor Wolf visits the LaunchBox

We were please to host Governor Wolf and President Barron at the LaunchBox to discuss entrepreneurship and job creation in the Commonwealth. Governor Wolf acknowledged the Invent Penn State Initiative and ...

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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

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.

Spring 2017 Accelerator

  • Applications close: January 20th at 5PM
  • Finalists notified: February 1st via email
  • Finalist interviews with selection committee: February 6-7th
  • Final teams notified: February 8th
  • Accelerator begins: Week of February 13th
  • Accelerator ends: Week of April 24th

Summer 2017 Accelerator

  • Applications close: April 9th, at midnight
  • Finalists notified: April 20th 1st via email
  • Finalist interviews with selection committee: April 24-25th
  • Final teams notified: April 26th
  • Accelerator begins: Week of May 29th
  • Accelerator ends: Week of Aug 11th

Fall 2016 Accelerator

  • Tentative application close date: Early September
  • Tentative accelerator: Early December

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 evenings and weekends.

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.

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