PLEASE NOTE: This program is NOT for credit. However, (just like a startup) it REQUIRES full-time commitment during the program.
Get ready for a nine-week accelerator to help you set and meet your customer acquisition, product development, and team goals, and to launch your venture full-time. Each week the teams push to achieve key business milestones, to validate product-market fit, acquire customers, and solidify their business model. Summer Launchpad is deeply connected to New York City and the broader US entrepreneurial ecosystem (including from Boston and Silicon Valley), tapping mentors, coaches and potential investors who help teams accelerate from vision to scale. Here’s a preview of what’s in store:
- Investor Mentorship: Boardroom-style feedback from a personalized advisory council of VCs. See below for a list of some of the past program mentors.
- Entrepreneur Mentorship: 1:1 Mentorship with dedicated experienced entrepreneurs and subject matter experts, and weekly hands on guidance from the coaches at the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute.
- Guest Founder Talks: Talks from preeminent founders and Venture Capitalists. Recent speakers include Scott Harrison (CAS) founder of Charity: Water; Nobu Nakaguchi (Tisch) founder of Zola, Caren Maio (Gallatin) founder of Funnel Leasing, Rich Fulop (CAS, Stern) founder of Brooklinen, Ragy Thomas (Stern) founder of Sprinklr, Dennis Crowley (Tisch) founder of Foursquare, and Di-Ann Eisnor (Steinhardt) founder of Core and Neighborhood Start Fund.
- Workshops: Led by experts across the NYU and NYC startup communities, workshops teach relevant skills in finance and capital raising, customer acquisition, product development, business operations, and other topics selected to help you succeed in your venture.
- Customer Development: Get closer to product-market fit through customer validation by “Getting out of the Building” and talking directly to prospective users, customers, and partners.
- Accelerator and Investor Office Hours: Office hours with numerous later-stage accelerators, angel, and seed-stage investors throughout the program.
- Community: You’ll work alongside, learn from, and contribute to a community of NYU startup founders and fellow SLP participants.
- NYU-Yale Pitchoff: Six teams from NYU and Yale present to an audience of ~300 of their closest friends.
- Public Demo Day: All teams will have the opportunity to pitch in October at the NYU Demo Day to 500+ attendees, as the capstone to the NYU Entrepreneurs Festival.
- Friends and Family Demo Day: For select teams, this is an opportunity to pitch to angel investors, venture capitalists, and others.
First things first, make sure you’re committed to your startup full time (at least 40 hours per week) and available to participate in ALL program activities for the nine weeks. And remember, at least one co-founder must be an NYU student, faculty, staff, researcher, or postdoc!
Additional selection criteria includes:
- Attending an Info Session: We want to know you understand what you’re signing up for. Therefore, attendance at an info session is mandatory.
- Solving a Meaningful problem: Through customer discovery and other means, you must show that you’ve validated that the problem you’re solving has the potential to bring substantive, scalable, and tangible value to customers and other beneficiaries, with potential to scale value/impact to a large market/beneficiary sector.
- Problem-Solution Fit: You must be able to show that you've validated the problem for a specific customer segment, which has been identified through extensive customer discovery and validation. You should be able to show that the solution you've validated can solve the problem. Preference is given to teams with demonstrated customer traction (e.g. demonstrated demand via early sales/pre-sales and/or pilots testing your solution in the market).
- Proof of Concept/Prototype: We’ll look at your proof of concept and your plans for how you’ll take your solution to the next level to validate it with customers during Summer Launchpad (getting you to product-market fit).
- Milestones & Goals: We’ll consider the milestones you hope to achieve during and after Summer Launchpad, with consideration for how you believe the program will help you achieve your goals. HINT: The program predominantly focuses on the business aspects of your venture. While you will have time to build your solution during the summer, the majority of the time will focus on topics related to business model and customer development, sales, marketing, operations, finance and other business topics (though some product management, user testing and other topics may also be a focus). Be sure your interests align with these focus areas!
- Demonstrated Passion, Coachability, and Hustle! Last but not least, we want to see you’re the type of team who benefits from mentorship, coaching, and peer support (why else participate in a cohort-based accelerator?). And, we want to see that you have passion and hustle for the problem you’re solving! Therefore, it will greatly increase your chances of acceptance if you’ve participated in other mentorship-intensive programs led by the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and NYU partners, including Startup Sprints, Startup Bootcamps, Female Founders Fellowships, the InnoVention Competition, the Entrepreneurs Challenge, or intensive coaching through the Startup Coaching Program. If this doesn't describe your team, apply for a Startup Bootcamp or register for a coaching appointment today!
Each team will receive funding and perks to put toward their venture, including:
- Funding: $10,000 in zero-equity, non-dilutive grant funding toward your venture.
- Cloud Computing: $10,000 in Amazon Web Services credits for participation in the program.
- Coaching and Mentorship: Office hours with VCs, Angel Investors, and expert mentors.
- Legal Services: Pro-bono legal guidance from Brown Rudnick to help you incorporate the right way to kickstart your company.
- Accounting Services: Pro-bono accounting services.
- Access to Future Programs: Select teams will be invited to participate in the Ignite Fellowship, apply to the Female Founders Fellowship and Grant programs, as well as the Max Stenbeck Venture Equity Program, and will have opportunities to meet with later-stage accelerators and incubators to help grow their ventures after completion of Summer Launchpad. Select founders will also be invited to incubate their companies at NYU, as Founders in Residence at the Leslie eLab.
Open to teams of NYU entrepreneurs from any school or college, with a proof of concept/prototype and who has validated problem-solution fit. Highly scalable and differentiated ventures addressing ANY sector from ANY NYU school are welcome to apply, including scalable non-profit ventures. Other requirements and preferences for participating teams include:
- Progress via Coaching & Programs: Teams must have demonstrated they're making continued progress on their venture AND demonstrate they clearly benefit from coaching and support through participating in other earlier-stage startup programs. Those who have participated in frequent venture coaching, a Startup Bootcamp, the Female Founders Fellowship, and other intensive programs are much more likely to be considered for this competitive program. If you have not yet completed a Startup Sprint, you'll be asked to co-apply (same application) for the Sprint in addition to the Summer Launchpad (aka the Sprint is a pre-requisite to participate in Summer Launchpad unless the Directors of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute give your team express permission in advance of your application to forgo the Sprint). You still have time to participate in these pre-requisite programs and opportunities! Apply for a Startup Bootcamp and meet with a venture coach today so we can get to know you and your venture before your application.
Beyond this, ventures who apply to the program must meet the below requirements:
- Team: Startups with 2+ founders or team members able to participate full time. Only one founder has to be an NYU student or recent alumni (having graduated in 2022 or 2023).
- Graduation Year: Preference will be given to student teams who graduated in 2022 and 2023. Those graduating from NYU after 2023 are also welcome to apply, as well as staff and faculty members at NYU.
- Right Skillsets: Preference will be given to well-rounded, multi-disciplinary teams (i.e. representing multiple NYU schools!) whose skills match the venture they're creating and who are deeply passionate about the problem they're solving for their venture.
- Commitment: Teams must be committed to their startup full time (at least 40 hours per week) and able to participate in ALL program activities for the nine weeks (absences need to be disclosed in the application). Teams must be committed to launching their venture full time after the program.
- Buy-In: Understand the requirements of the program and have an openness to customer development and the work required by the program.
- Community-Minded: Demonstrated willingness to help other startup teams and interest in being part of a community.