How do I apply?
If I am a finalist living outside the Pioneer Valley, will you pay for my travel?
No, we do not reimburse any interview-related travel expenses.
What types of companies can apply?
While we leave ourselves open to great entrepreneurs with transformative ideas, we have some general guidelines around company focus.
Kayon Accelerator ("Accelerator") companies are technology companies, or companies with a significant technology component, since those are the companies we can help the most. We look for companies with large addressable markets that are best able to take full advantage of U.S. market opportunities as a starting point to successfully enter the market for their product, service or application.
Most Accelerator companies will be software or software-related in some way, and may be either B-to-B or B-to-C-focused. Our interests are as diverse as your ideas: Big Data, Internet, Mobile, FinTech, SaaS, E-Commerce, Local, Media, Marketing, Ad Tech, Education, Fashion Tech, Real Estate, Logistics, Medical and many more. We are looking to you to wow us with anything technology-related that you think is cool. We consider all the business questions around the product business concept and market size. In the end, we want to know if yours is a great team and the right team for your product and business.
My startup is not located in Amherst. Can I still apply for a spot with the Kayon Accelerator?
Absolutely. We are looking for the most promising business ideas, and we know those come from all over. Once accepted to the program, all Accelerator companies are then required to relocate to Amherst for the entire four-month program.
My startup is not based in the United States. Are we eligible to apply for a spot with the Kayon Accelerator?
Yes! We are looking for promising business ideas to serve and disrupt a diverse cross section of industries. Whether you’re based in Santiago, London, Mumbai or – anywhere else, we encourage you to apply. Once accepted to the program, all Accelerator companies are then required to relocate to Amherst for the entire four-month program. Additionally, each accepted company is responsible for determining and independently obtaining any work visas that may be required.
Our startup is based outside the United States and none of us are U.S. citizens/residents. Are we eligible to apply for a spot with the Kayon Accelerator?
Yes, but you are responsible for determining and independently obtaining any work visas that may be required, as above. Basically, if you can get "over the wall", you're welcome to join us here.
Am I required to locate my company in your space?
Yes. We would like your company’s key leadership working out of our location on Amity Street during the four-month program. For our model, we’ve found that’s the best way for companies to move fastest, though we frown on actually sleeping in the office.
Are you looking for a particular stage company?
We have no specific stage requirements, but most companies will have assembled a team and developed an initial product. Many have early customers and revenue. We don’t reject companies just for being earlier than that, but we need to see the team has made a real commitment to the company and a clear vision for its future.
Do you require a certain number of founders?
No. It’s your company. That said, our bias is for two to four person teams, which is based on our experience for the optimal combination of “small enough to move quickly but large enough for idea sharing.” Startups are difficult to do alone and we discourage solo founders.
Do I have to be technical to apply?
We have a strong preference for technical co-founders. While we don’t require startups to have engineering founders, we are looking for companies that can make substantial progress on their product during the course of our four-month program. Companies with at least one technical co-founder are better able to implement at least some product changes and improvements without hiring additional resources.
Will you find me a technical co-founder?
That would be outside of our standard practice, as the chemistry of a team is critical. Throwing together a business person and an engineer during an Accelerator program without knowing if they are able to work well together doesn’t make a lot of sense to us.
If my company has already received funding can we apply?
Yes, we accept companies that have already raised funding.
What if we just want your help and not your funding?
Although some startups don’t require funding as their primary need, all Accelerator companies will receive funding as part of their acceptance into the program. We are investors and want all the startups in the Accelerator to have the same basic relationship with us.
How much does the Kayon Accelerator invest in each company?
We invest $30,000 in each company selected. We don’t vary the amount per founder. We invest in the company directly and the founders decide how to use the funds. In exchange, we receive 8% common stock in your company. It aligns us with the same economics that you as founders have.
In addition to this financial investment, our companies are immersed in our mentor-driven program. This, we believe, is priceless. We also provide four months’ free office space, free hosting credits with several major cloud providers, legal, finance, accounting and other business services.
What does the Kayon Accelerator do for me?
The Accelerator gives you a chance to grow your business with the help of our operating partners and mentors. All this support can’t make your company successful; that’s your job. But we are with you every step of the way, aligning you with our dream team of experts to help with your many challenges —product, functional or industry-related. We have assembled the most experienced group of entrepreneurial experts in NYC (and many out of our home base at NYU’s Berkley Innovation Lab), Boston and Amherst-area, all of whom are on deck to help solve every type of operating and strategic problem startups encounter. The Accelerator's partners are committed, passionate members of the New York, Boston and Western Massachusetts tech communities. As entrepreneurs with decades of experience in business, technology and early-stage venture capital; we have successfully founded, built, run, sold and financed businesses.
What are the benefits that each Kayon Accelerator company gets as a part of the program?
Here are some of the benefits that our partners and sponsors provide to each ERA company:
- Up to $120,000 in cloud hosting credits from IBM
- $25k in webhosting credits from LeaseWeb
- $24k in webhosting credits with Rackspace
- $50k in payment processing credits from Braintree (a PayPal company)
- $1,000 in helpdesk credits from Zendesk
- 6 months of free Voice Over IP PBX hosting
- Discounted pricing from TriNet Benefits Provider
- Free banking account and perks package from Silicon Valley Bank
- Free immigration legal services for international teams
- Free & discounted legal services for Green startups
- Additional free and discounted products & services from SendGrid, LiveChat, GoSquared, InVision, LegalZoom, Positionly, HubSpot, Clever Tap, Shopify, Segment, Intercom, PipeDrive, Podio, Balsalmiq, PBWorks, Gigster, HotJar, GItHub, Codacy, 99d
- Partner Concierge Service offering free & discounted services that keep you productive on the go from American Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, SurfAir, Novotel, The Standard, HotelStorm, Sixt, Avis, ZipCar, Budget, EDSpace, BlankSpaces, The DEC, The Yard, WeWork, NextSpace, Roam, Astrolabs, Laofi, TechSpace
What if I need more money? Will I get it during Demo Day?
We recognize most startups in the Accelerator program will eventually require additional investment. We’ve created a network of stellar investors, both angels and VCs. You’ll have a chance to interact with many of these individuals during the program; we’ll connect you to the investors most appropriate for your company.
On Demo Day, you get the opportunity to present your company to many qualified investors—angels, super-angels and VCs. We can’t guarantee you’ll raise money, of course, but we can tell you that investors who are looking for the most promising new startups in the Pioneer Valley will hear your pitch.
Do you invest in companies after the Accelerator Program?
We like nothing more than investing in our alumni as they grow. We generally don’t lead or price rounds but we do look forward to following-on once your seed round is put together.
Do you sign NDAs?
We don’t. Much like VC firms, we hear too many ideas and see too many pitches to sign NDAs. That said, we are committed to respecting the confidentiality of the information you submit to us during the application process and will not share it outside of the Accelerator team. We know how hard you work on your ideas.
How is the Kayon Accelerator connected to Kayon Partners?
The Kayon Accelerator emerged from Kayon Partners. The Accelerator represents Kayon Partners' keen interest in the entrepreneurial spirit that is rapidly evolving in the Western Massachusetts area, specifically here in the Pioneer Valley.
We want to hear from you! Please get in touch for more information.