SheSpoke Suits

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Startup Sprint

Startup Sprints are two-week programs that teach and support aspiring NYU entrepreneur teams to transform their ideas and inventions into businesses. Whether you are an NYU graduate student, undergrad, or staff member, a Startup Sprint will challenge you to deepen your understanding of your customers and to cater your business idea to their needs—we call this "problem-solution fit". During the program, your team will have access to expert startup coaches who will help guide you through this process. You will also be provided with skills-building workshops, grant funding, peer support from your cohort of startup teams, and more!   

Past participants have called the Startup Sprints "transformative and groundbreaking," garnering a 9.6/10 average net promoter score from over 200 past participants! Program alum have been accepted into Y-Combinator, have won the NYU Berkley Center's Entrepreneurs Challenge, and have been gone onto participate in the NYU Summer Launchpad program.

Startup Sprints are held in the winter and in the summer when regular classes are not in session. Participants from any NYU global site (and their co-founders) are welcome to apply. 

The next Startup Sprint will start on Tuesday, June 1st and end on Friday, June 11th, and the 2021 program will be held virtually so all Global NYU community members are welcome to apply! Sign up for a MANDATORY info session below, to learn more about the program. If you can't make any of the info sessions please email to receive a recording of the info session. Applications will be due Monday, March 22nd at 6pm ESTFor a copy of the questions asked in the application, click here.


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  • Info Sessions

    Watching an info session is mandatory prior to applying.

  • Tell Me More

    The program runs all day each weekday, Tuesday, June 1st through Friday, June 11th, and the 2021 program will be held virtually so all Global NYU community members are welcome to apply! . PLEASE NOTE: This program is NOT for credit. However, (just like a startup) it REQUIRES a full-time commitment during the program.

    Applications for the 2021 Summer Sprint are due on March 22nd at 6pm EST. Apply to the program today:

    What You Can Expect

    Teams can expect to start off running with:

    • Coaching: Led by the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute's own team of startup experts, you will meet willing and knowledgeable coaches who will push the limits of your business idea and challenge you to become the best founder you can be.
    • Workshops: Led by experts from theInstitute and the NYC startup community. You and your team will learn through a hands-on approach, and immediately apply what you learn.
    • Founder talks: Learn from those who have been in your shoes. Derive insights from their stories and ask them all your questions!
    • Customers: Get to know your target customers by “getting out of the building” and talking directly to prospective users, buyers and partners. We expect you to lead at least 50 interviews during the course of the program (and some past teams have done over 100 in past Sprints!).
    • Connections: You will meet with venture capitalists, learn about accelerators, and more.
    • Experimentation: You will learn how to create and run experiments to inform your prototypes and minimum viable products (MVPs).
    • Global Community: Work alongside (and learn from!) a diverse community of NYU startup founders around the world, who are going through this process just like you!
    Selection Criteria

    We give strong preference to teams who have completed a Startup Bootcamp at the Leslie eLab. Apply to a Startup Bootcamp today to let us get to know you!

    A few additional criteria about your team will determine the final selection:

    • Timing: We give preference to teams with at least 1 team member who plans to graduate within the next two years.
    • STEM:  We give some preference to teams with STEM-centered solutions (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
    • Coaching & Bootcamp: We prefer to accept teams who have received coaching from the Entrepreneurial Institute team (sign up for a coaching appointment here) AND preference to teams who have completed a Startup Bootcamp at the Leslie eLab. Apply to a Startup Bootcamp today to let us get to know you (and so you can get to know us)!
    • Team Fit: Does your team have the skills and background to build and launch what you plan to create?
    • Program Fit: Are at least two members of the founding team ready and willing to work hard and interview 50 prospective customers during the two-week program (and to making this a full time commitment during that period)? Are you clearly open to coaching, community and learning?

    We also consider your answers the following questions about your venture, with a strong preference for teams who have validated their approach through first person, customer discovery interviews and and customer traction:

    • Problem Identification: Are you solving a meaningful problem and how well does your team understand the problem you hope to solve and the initial target customer segment you plan to focus on with your venture?
    • Idea & Competition: What is your idea and is it novel and/or a radical improvement over existing solutions?
    • Milestones: What progress on your venture have you made so far - what have you done/created?
    • Scalability: Does your venture have the ability to scale? What might be the potential impact and/or market opportunity of your venture at scale?
    Benefits You'll Receive

    Each team will receive funding and perks to put toward their business venture, including:

    • Funding: $1,000 at the start of the program and eligibility for up to $1,000 in follow-on funding (for select teams). All funding is offered in the form of reimbursement for customer discovery and prototyping-related expenses.
    • Perks: $5,000 in Amazon Web Services credits
    • Legal Advice: Legal advice from Fenwick & West LLP
    • Coaching: Dedicated coaching with members of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute coaching team
    • Preferred Office Hours: With VCs, accountants and Entrepreneurs in Residence, after the program - perks ONLY available to Sprint, Ignite Fellowship and Summer Launchpad participants
    • Summer Launchpad Interview: At least one team will be invited to apply early for and potentially to be accepted early into the NYU Summer Launchpad nine-week long accelerator.
    • Preferred Review for Female Founders Fellowship: Sprint participants who are demonstrating support for female founders and women's empowerment, will be poised to participate in the new Female Founders Fellowship after their successful completion of the program. Visit the NYU Female Founders Fellowship website to learn more.
    Who It's For

    The Startup Sprint is open to teams with at least NYU student (grad or undergrad), faculty or researcher founder from any NYU school or college, with an idea, invention and/or early mock-up or prototype of their product or service. Preference will be given to teams with at least one STEM co-founder who is female, first generation to college, BIPOC or another underrepresented minority in tech/startups.

    • Team: Your team should consist of 2 or more entrepreneurs able to participate full time in the program, with at least 1 team member currently at NYU.
    • Commitment: You must be committed to your startup full-time (40+ hours per week) for the duration of the two-week program. You must also be passionate about the problem you hope to solve, with the expectation that you’ll continue to work on your startup after the program ends.
    • Buy-In: You understand the requirements of the program and are open to the possibility of pivoting your idea based on feedback from potential customers—we call this customer development.
    • Hustle: Show us that your team has what it takes to start a startup by meeting with us for a coaching appointment and attending a Startup Bootcamp at the Leslie eLab in advance of applying. Taking these actions will show us your commitment and passion, and will greatly increase your chances of getting into the program. Get started today!


  • FAQ - Startup Sprint
    Is this program only for NYU students? No. Teams may apply if at least one core team mate is a current student, faculty, researcher, or staff member - however other members of your team may have no NYU affiliation. International NYU students are also welcome and encouraged to apply. Faculty and researcher led teams may also be interested in the Technology Venture Workshop, held each semester but they are also welcome to participate in these two-week Startup Sprints alongside students (and many faculty have done so in the past).


    How many teams apply and are selected for each Startup Sprint? We typically receive 80+ applications for each Startup Sprint, and select about 14 teams for each cohort. Since the application process is competitive, we strongly advise meeting with a coach AND applying to a Startup Bootcamp to let us get to know your team first. This way, you can stand out from the competition.

    What are the basic requirements to be considered? Teams must have two or more founders able to participate full time in the Startup Sprint. At least one founder must be a current student, faculty, researcher, or staff member at the time of application. All participating team members must be committed to their startup full-time during the length of the program, and should be willing to listen to and learn from coaches and customers.

    What types of ventures do you accept? The Startup Sprint is intended for all types of startups which have high-growth potential, including non-profits. Whether focused on social innovation, software, medical devices, physical products, hardware, or other areas, all are welcome to apply!

    Do I, or my team members, have to attend an info session to apply? Yes. Info session attendance is mandatory. If you aren't able to make any of the info session dates, please email to request access to the info session video recording.

    When and where does it take place? The program runs from Tuesday-Friday from June 1-11th, 2021 (all day M-F), virtually. All participating team members are expected to attend ALL program activities.

    We've already taken some funding. Can we still apply? Yes.

    I have another class during this period. Can I still apply? Two or more founding team members must be committed to their startup and able to participate in the Startup Sprint full-time during the program.

    Our team has two venture ideas, can we submit multiple applications? Yes. However, if your team is selected for the program, we expect you to be fully committed to the one venture you are selected to participate with.

    What's the timeline for the application process? We review applications the week following the application deadline. Then, we invite select teams to interview (10-15 minutes). If you are selected for an interview, you'll be notified of your team's acceptance by the following week after. Select teams may be requested to participate in a Startup Bootcamp before a final acceptance determination can be made. The entire process takes about 3 weeks.

    Who will review my application? Senior members of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute team and NYU Innovation Venture Fund review all applications and lead all interviews. At least three members of the Institute team review each application to ensure a diversity of opinions are considered. Personally identifiable information within applications will not be shared with any external parties for any reason, in accordance with University policy and federal regulations (FERPA).

    Do you give feedback on application results? Typically, we do not give specific feedback on applications. However, we’d be happy to meet with your team to give more general feedback and guidance about your startup through our coaching program.

    If I applied to a Startup Sprint in the past and was not accepted, can I apply again? Yes we highly encourage repeat applicants, but will expect to see progress made on your venture since your prior application. Many teams who have participated in the program submitted multiple times before being accepted (as the program has about a 15% acceptance rate).

    Do you have an offline version of the application questions to review? Yes! Please click here for a copy of the application questions, which are identical to those you'll have to submit via the official Qualtrics application.

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