Is Beta Boom an accelerator?
We did start out as an accelerator. However, we soon found that it was unduly disruptive for the startup teams that we funded to move their entire founding team to participate in our program. Moreover, we found it ridiculous that startups have to wait up to six months to get funding and start working with our team. If the startup is ready for investment and to work with our team, why wait?
At the same time, what worked really well was the unparalleled support that our team provided to the startup founders in our portfolio. We typically work one full day per week with each team as an extension of their team. Another practice that proved effective was working in sprints and having consistent gatherings where we bring together all of our startups teams. Finally, our personalized approach to making connections to investors, strategic partners, and even customers was a game-changer for the startups that we backed.
In the end, we decided that we wanted to provide unparalleled support for our startups while giving them the flexibility to work where they can be most successful and on a timeline that makes the most sense for both them and for Beta Boom.
Officially, Beta Boom is a high-touch seed fund making investments of $100K in the best startups in emerging tech hubs (those outside of Silicon Valley, NYC, and Boston). However, you can think of us as a hybrid fund providing the connections of an accelerator, the intensive support of a lab, and the flexibility of a seed fund.
(If you think of a good, pithy term to describe this, email us!)
How does Beta Boom work?
If we decide to invest in your startup, we will essentially become an extension of your founding team for three months or longer you’d like us to continue to support you. If you want a hands-off investor, we are not right for you.
We will start out by learning about your business, team, challenges, and strengths. Then we will create a rough plan intended to grow your startup rapidly. Then we will work in week-long sprints with your team as we march toward your goals. Each week starts with sprint planning and ends with a sprint review where we evaluate progress and make course-corrections. Plus, your assigned managing partner will spend one day per week working alongside your founding team on areas such as improving product-market fit, optimizing go-to-market or your sales process, recruiting key hires, preparing for follow-on investment, etc.
Four times per year, all of the startups in our portfolio get together to learn from each other during a retreat in Silicon Valley. Plus, those teams that are ready to go for seed investment meet with our venture capital and angel investor partners.
Who can apply for investment?
Our primary mandate (requirement) is that your startup is based outside of Silicon Valley, NYC, or Boston. We’re very strict about this rule. We also try really hard to encourage groups that have been underserved by traditional venture capital to apply for investment. We believe that tech entrepreneurship sees no boundaries and those founders from emerging tech hubs, women, people of color, immigrants, and more experienced founders are just as likely to build hugely successful and impactful tech companies. Having said that, we do not invest in or reject anyone based on their gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or creed. Simply put, we are interested in investing in outstanding startups in emerging tech hubs no matter what is the makeup of their team.
What does it take to get investment from Beta Boom?
We evaluate startups on a number of criteria and there is no “secret sauce” to getting accepted into Beta Boom. You will increase your chances of getting in by making a convincing case that:
- Your team has the right skills to develop an amazing solution and build a world-class company.
- You have an outstanding resolve and are incredibly resourceful.
- You have amazing initiative and follow-through.
- You are either solving a real, widescale problem or addressing a pressing need.
- You know the market and your competitors better than anyone else.
- You have an ambitious but plausible plan for growing your customer base and team.
- You have meaningful traction at whatever stage you are.
There are too many factors that play into our decision-making process to list here, but by making a convincing case for the factors above, you will give yourself a good shot.
Do you have to have customers or revenue to apply to Beta Boom?
While we certainly have a preference for teams with revenue or significant user numbers, it’s not a deal-breaker if you are not that far along. As we mentioned, there are a number of factors that we consider as we evaluate applications. If you have an amazing, highly technical team and a brilliant idea, we might be interested in having you on board even if all you have is a prototype.
How does the application process work?
The process starts with a written application that founder teams submit online. We evaluate applications each week and usually send out a follow-up within two weeks. If we think that your startup is a good fit for investment from Beta Boom, we will schedule a follow-up conversation with the founding team.
Is Beta Boom open to founders outside of the United States?
We certainly welcome founders from other countries to apply. However, we cannot guarantee or help with getting a travel or work visa for the U.S. Another thing to note is that there are a number of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program. A complete list of countries can be found at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visa-waiver-program.html