Max Stenbeck Venture Equity Program

The Max Stenbeck Venture Equity Program helps NYU founders who are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion learn the fundamentals of fundraising. Participants partake in a series of four workshops to assess whether venture funding is a fit for their startup and gain knowledge to navigate the fundraising process successfully. Applications for the next cohort of the Max Stenbeck Venture Equity Program will open in the Fall '24 semester.

  • What You Can Expect From the Program

    The Max Stenbeck Venture Equity program will help founders understand the different types of funding, fundraising best practices, and spell out the mechanics of receiving investment capital. Workshops and panels will be led by venture-backed entrepreneurs, investors, and startup lawyers. Both during and after the program, participants will have the opportunity to meet investors and other advisors through office hours and coaching. 

    When/where will it take place? 

    The program is held from approximately 4-6pm ET on Nov. 1, Nov. 8, Nov. 29, & Dec. 6. Participants (the CEO or founder in charge of fundraising for the venture) are expected to attend ALL sessions. 

    Schedule and topics (subject to change): 

    • Nov. 1 - Investor Landscape: From Accelerator programs offering money, Friends & Family, Angels, Venture Capital firms, and non-equity funding alternatives
    • Nov. 8 - Fundraising Process: Investor fit, raise amount and terms, materials to create, putting a funnel together, soft-circling and closing
    • Nov. 29 - Storytelling, Soft Skills & Biases: Storytelling frameworks,  investor meeting expectations, investor updates, unconscious & conscious biases
    • Dec. 6 - Investor Diligence Process: Closing a round, diligence, terms and data rooms

    Other benefits: 

    Participants are invited to participate in coaching sessions with members of NYU’s Innovation Venture Fund team, as well as office hours with external investors and VC-backed entrepreneurs to get feedback on their pitches and the investment process.

    Who leads the workshops/lectures? 

    The workshops/panels are led by the NYU’s Innovation Venture Fund team, startup lawyers, VCs, and venture-backed founders. Last year, speakers included the founders of of Ephemeral Tattoo, MyWellbeing, HealthBoxed, Funnel Leasing, Statespace (Aimlab), Mighty, She Matters and GigFinesse, investors from 500 StartupsTechstars, 2048 Ventures, HearstLab, Alumni Ventures and Flat World Partners, and legal guidance from Brown Rudnick.


  • Who It’s For

    The program is designed for founders building scalable ventures who are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in entrepreneurship and who are new to the fundraising process from VC/institutional investors. The program is built for venture founders that have early indications of product/market fit and will be ready to raise funding in the next 6 months. If you have raised an angel or friends & family round and want to get ready to pitch to institutional venture capitalists, this program is also for you.

    In addition, ventures are evaluated based on the following criteria:

    • NYU Status: Open to ventures with at least one founder who is a current NYU student, faculty, staff member, or researcher OR recent alumni (within 2 years of graduating from NYU)
    • Scalability of Venture: For highly scalable, differentiated, for-profit ventures. The program is NOT open to those working on lifestyle ventures, such as agencies, consulting practices, brick and mortar retail, real estate, etc. 
    • Sector of Venture: The program is for ventures across varied sectors including software, hardware, biotech, social ventures (for profit/scalable), consumer products and more. 
    • Stage of Venture: The program is for those who may be in a position to fundraise within six months of the program’s conclusion. Thus, ventures should have a working product (in beta is acceptable), have demonstrated proof of demand (or ideally first paying customers), a validated initial revenue model, and have a vision for a path to scalability.
    • Stage: Venture founders should have conducted rigorous customer discovery to validate problem-solution fit, and be able to provide evidence of demand through early customers/sales/pilots.
    • Suggested Prerequisites: Founders should have an existing MVP/Beta that they're actively testing/piloting with customers. Alumni of our Tech Venture Program and Startup Accelerator Program will receive extra consideration. If you have not completed any of these programs but are still interested in applying to the program, please sign up for a coaching appointment so we can get to know your venture before you apply.

    All ventures meeting these criteria are eligible to apply to the program. Those ventures run by women, non-binary, Black, LatinX and LGBTQ+ founders are encouraged to apply.

    Ventures at an earlier stage are highly encouraged to apply for a Startup Bootcamp (for students) or Tech Venture Workshop (for full time faculty/PhD/researchers) to take the first steps toward validating the needs of their future customers and designing the right solution to fit their needs.

  • FAQ

    Do I have to identify as an underrepresented founder in entrepreneurship to apply, or to be selected for the program?

    No. We seek to build a diverse, inclusive cohort of founders, and we welcome applications from those who demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in entrepreneurship regardless of individual background or identity.  Among other factors related to the venture itself, every application will be assessed on the strength of the applicant’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, which will be evaluated based on the responses to application questions about whether the venture helps foster DE&I initiatives, or whether the founders have personally demonstrated a commitment to DE&I through their actions and goals.

    Will the Max Stenbeck Venture Equity program be held next semester or next year?


    Do I need to complete the Startup Sprint, Summer Launchpad, NSF I-Corps, or Female Founders Fellowship prior to applying for the Program?

    No. If you haven't completed any of these programs but are interested in applying, please sign up for a coaching appointment here so we can get to know your venture better.

    I graduated over a year ago from NYU. Can I still apply for the program?

    Yes. Alumni who graduated within two years of the application deadline (Oct. 2, 2023) and/or who successfully demonstrate that they started their venture while studying at NYU are welcome to apply. 


    I’m a student from an international NYU campus. Am I eligible to apply for the program?

    Yes! But discussions will focus on the funding ecosystem within the United States only.

    How many ventures will be selected to participate in the program?

    We anticipate selecting between 8-15 ventures being selected.

    If we’re selected, who from our team should attend the workshops?

    At a minimum, the founder responsible for fundraising (typically the CEO) should attend ALL sessions.

    Will we have to complete any work/assignments during the program?

    No - no official “homework” will be due during the workshops, other than some suggested readings. However, we would highly recommend you start to put some of the learnings into action (building your investor funnel list, intro emails, pitch decks etc.) and leverage coaching and office hours during the program to go over your materials.

  • Honoring Max Stenbeck's Legacy

    The Max Stenbeck Venture Equity Program honors the life and legacy of entrepreneur and philanthropist Max Stenbeck. Max Stenbeck was a passionate believer in technology for good, as well as an advocate for equal opportunities and the rights of vulnerable children. The Max Stenbeck Charitable Trust continues to give back in his legacy, including through the generous support of the Max Stenbeck Venture Equity Program at NYU.