WHY Kayon Accelerator?

The Program

Kayon Accelerator ("Accelerator") combines seed capital, hands-on help and a great co-working location with an expert team to positively impact the trajectory of early-stage startups. The Accelerator runs two, four-month programs per year.

The Accelerator combines influential professional networks and resources from New York City and Boston with complementary resources that are here in the Pioneer Valley and Western Massachusetts. We know there is great talent here - that's why we're coming! Kayon is tapped into deep and strong mentor networks that include expert investors, technologists, product specialists, marketers, customer acquisition strategists, sales execs, and more, across all major industries. Accelerator companies are also given access to the right investors, sales prospects and partners.

What’s the Deal?

Located in the Amherst, Mass., the Accelerator provides participant companies with an intensive four-month program with the goal of helping early-stage companies progress rapidly into exciting, viable, venture-scalable businesses.

Each accepted company receives an initial $30,000 investment and the potential for follow-on funding from Kayon Partners. All accepted companies are required to locate in-house for the program’s duration in our Amity Street offices.

Kayon Accelerator companies also receive the partner and sponsor benefits listed below:

  • 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

A Week in the Life

A typical Accelerator week looks like this:

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  • Founder Speaker Series—NYC’s most successful business builders from entrepreneurs to VCs discuss topics ranging from how they built their companies from idea to exit to details about acquiring customers and investment strategies to trends and what they mean—or don’t mean.
  • Workshop Series—Outside experts cover wide-ranging and diverse specific relevant topic areas. Sample workshops include: Enterprise Sales Tools and Tactics, User Optimization and Testing, Data Science and Decision Making, Digital Marketing Best Practices by Channel, IP and Patent Filing, and more.
  • Fundraising Sessions—Kayon Partners lead sessions that cover funding categories, cap tables, understanding and preparing to meet your potential investors, tracking and follow-up meetings, investor decks, etc.
  • CTO Roundtable—problem solve with your cohort and other CTOs in the trenches
  • Mentor Meetings—Kayon's mentors, who have expertise in every imaginable functional area, are generous with their time and resources, available to advise our companies for the duration of our program.
  • Resident Expert Office Hours—consult with technologists and other pros on specific tactical issues you encounter.
  • KPI Review—You and your cohort track and discuss weekly progress together in a lively game show atmosphere that fosters teamwork.
  • Pitch Practice—practice, revise and refine your pitch; get feedback from your cohort, entrepreneurs and investors.
  • Open Door to Partners & Staff—Our partners and staff are always here to help build your business.

Mentorship

Mentorship is the heart of the Accelerator program.  These are expert entrepreneurs, investors, executives, and others who are often the path to our startups’ “firsts,” including: first customer, first outside employee, first outside investment, first marketing program. Apart from these “firsts,” Accelerator mentors work with our startups on areas like product engineering, building a sales funnel, user testing, hiring, SEO, Google analytics, branding, and more. Mentors in our program can help startups focus on the right metrics to help get to product market fit.  Through our deep mentor network, we connect you with the partners you need and provide you with critical access to the industries that comprise the New York opportunity.

During the first week of the program, you are matched with a lead mentor, who helps you achieve key milestones, and works with you through the entire program.

Fundraising

It takes real capital to build a real business, so you will need to raise money—and most likely, more money. Fundraising is complicated and frustrating; we provide you with the support and resources to needed to navigate the process—from valuation and timing to presenting your investor message and creating your deck to scheduling and tracking meetings and evaluating the right/appropriate financial partners for your business.

Events

The Accelerator kicks off every class with a launch event, where our companies meet mentors in an intimate setting. We give you the opportunity to bond with your fellow founders and Accelerator operating partners and staff at happy hours and a mid-program investor pitch night.

Demo Day

Our program officially ends with Demo Day— a high-profile coming out party to Kayon's community of investors from New York, Boston and Western Massachusetts and the wider investor ecosystem. Demo Day is an invitation-only event where accredited investors get the opportunity to see and meet with our companies. Each startup presents their business in what many of our founders have called the most meaningful and exciting moments of their professional career.

The weeks preceding Demo Day are intense and focused.  Founders are assigned a professional presentation coach to help hone their story. We hold practice sessions where founders are drilled on every aspect of their presentation—until it’s ready for prime time.

After the Program: We are your Partners

We are investors for the long-haul and the official program is just the beginning. We stay actively involved with your company as it grows, helping our founders build lasting businesses. Whether it’s a new product roll-out, a major partnership or your next round of funding, the Kayon Accelerator and its network are there to help you succeed.