Ignite Fellowship

A selective program for startups founded by current NYU students, researchers, and faculty across all disciplines that have committed to a venture concept, formed a team, and begun developing their business.

Is your team serious about its ambitions? Find out how you can accelerate venture formation. Ignite fellows have exclusive or priority access to:

  • Personal coaching through Blackstone LaunchPad and office hours with seasoned entrepreneurs, startup experts, executives, and investors
  • Startup skills workshops, expert lunch and learns, and social events
  • A supportive multidisciplinary community of fellow NYU founders to learn from and share best practices with
  • Funding, discounts, unique press opportunities, and other perks
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  • What Is Ignite Fellowship?

    What are the benefits?

    NYU does not take equity in your venture for participating in Ignite Fellowship. Any intellectual property developed is your own unless you have a pre-existing obligation to assign rights to the University.

    Ignite fellows receive monthly coaching sessions to set goals, identify challenges, and work toward solutions with additional support from an extensive network of experienced founders, investors, executives, and experts in:

    • Finance: managing cash flow, invoicing, taxes, etc.
    • Legal: incorporation, founder’s agreements, IP, etc.
    • Operations: benefits, compliance, payroll, etc.
    • Technology: architecture, best practices, tools, etc.
    • Fundraising: non-dilutive, angels, venture capital, etc.
    • Regulatory: HIPAA, 510-K, NDA, etc.

    Founders attend exclusive weekly talks, lunch and learns, and skill workshops led by seasoned entrepreneurs, startup experts, and angel & venture capital investors on:

    • Developing a Repeatable & Scalable Business Model
    • Identifying your Initial Target Market/Customers
    • Differentiating from Competitors
    • Testing Minimum Viable Products
    • Validating your Go-to-Market Strategy
    • Tracking Metrics that Matter
    • Securing Capital to Grow your Business

    Sponsored social events, small group discussions, and collaborative space in the Leslie eLab provide a supportive community for Ignite fellows to share best practices, tackle common challenges to network, and get to know each other.

    Ignite fellows also benefit from priority consideration for the NYU Prototyping Fund, NYU Summer Launchpad, VC Pitchfest, press opportunities, and service provider discounts.

    What are the requirements?

    No prior entrepreneurial experience is necessary. Any team pursuing ventures in any sector, including social ventures, at any stage of development can apply for consideration if the team is:

    1. Comprised of committed NYU founders: Teams may include non-NYU founders, but must include a majority of current NYU students, faculty, or researchers (from any NYU school or college). NYU founders must have significant equity in the venture and active operational roles.
    2. Committed to customer development: Founders are expected to regularly “get out of the building” to test their hypotheses by engaging potential users, purchasers, and partners for feedback on all elements of their business model.
    3. Capable of executing: Teams must possess the technical ability, determination, and hustle to quickly test, iterate and execute toward a viable business model.
    4. Community-centric: Teams are expected to help each other tackle common challenges, actively contribute to the community, and attend community-building events.

    A prototype is not necessary to be considered for Ignite Fellowship, but can be used to demonstrate the feasibility and technical competence. Strong preference is given to teams that clearly articulate their business model by completing a Business Model Canvas.

    What is the application deadline?

    High potential teams are accepted into Ignite Fellowship on a rolling basis each semester. Teams that apply to Ignite Fellowship, but are not initially accepted, can reapply after addressing any concerns in their application.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Does our venture need to be a tech startup?
    No, any team that meets the eligibility requirements outlined above can apply for Ignite Fellowship.

    Does our company need to be “venture backable”?
    Teams are eligible for Ignite Fellowship even if there are no plans to raise outside capital.

    How big should our team be?
    Ideally teams should consist of no less than two and no more than four founders. Anything more than four becomes unwieldy at the early stages of startup development.

    What if one of our team members leaves our venture?
    Teams must notify the Entrepreneurial Institute staff of any major changes in their venture, especially changes in team composition.

    What if I am a solo founder?
    Only teams of two or more founders are eligible as they tend to better manage the rigors of early-stage venture formation.

    Can we still apply if we are alumni?
    Teams may include alumni and non-NYU affiliated members, but must be comprised of a majority of current NYU student, researcher, or faculty founders.

    What if we apply and don’t get in?
    You can work with the Entrepreneurial Institute team to address any concerns with your application and apply again.

    How long can we stay in Ignite Fellowship?
    Teams may continue to participate in Ignite Fellowship as long as they meet the eligibility requirements and are actively progressing in the development of their venture to the satisfaction of the Entrepreneurial Institute staff.

    Do we need to incorporate or form a separate legal entity before we apply to Ignite Fellowship?
    No, incorporation can wait until it is absolutely necessary. The Entrepreneurial Institute team can help determine when that is and make introductions to startup lawyers who can help.

    Do we receive class credit for participating in Ignite Fellowship?
    No, Ignite Fellowship does not grant class credit to participants.

    Is Ignite Fellowship different from Blackstone LaunchPad?
    Blackstone LaunchPad at NYU provides access to a network of entrepreneurs, venture coaches and industry experts. The venture coaches that support Ignite Fellows will be drawn from the Blackstone LaunchPad network.

    Is Ignite Fellowship different from Summer Launchpad?
    NYU Summer Launchpad is a ten-week summer accelerator program for teams of graduating NYU students working on their ventures full-time. Graduating Ignite fellows will be given priority consideration when applying for Summer Launchpad.