We at NextView are positively pumped to announce that we’re bringing back our Everyday Economy Virtual Accelerator Program. Happy New Year, indeed! This cohort will be our third accelerator program and a return to our “Everyday Economy” theme. After completing two virtual cohorts during the height of this neverending pandemic (whew), we’ve taken some time to digest, reflect, discuss, and iterate. We have major learnings we’re planning to improve upon and major success stories we’re planning to replicate… does your company have what it takes to accelerate?!
With two successful accelerators under our belts, we’ve proven that going back to basics with smaller cohort sizes and zero demo days works. We’ve also proven that giving new, underrepresented, and geographically diverse founders a dedicated, hands-on chance leads to follow-on funding and additional accelerator success across the board. We’re running our new and improved accelerator program back, we’re doubling our offering and raising the valuation cap (hello $400K), and we’d love for you and your team to apply. See nuts & bolts section below for more details.
Why we started the program in the first place
When we broadcasted our first accelerator program back in April of 2020, we were looking to answer two questions:
- What happens when you strip the concept of an “accelerator” down to its original structures and frameworks?
- What happens when you give new, underrepresented, and geographically diverse founders a real chance during a time of economic uncertainty?
In our initial blog post, we outlined our decision to step away from the universally accepted architecture of what an accelerator “should” look like. I’m sure you’re familiar with the setup… performative, end-of-program demo days that are meant to somehow wrap the experience up in a bow… gigantic, unfamiliar cohort groups that are somehow meant to feel like close-knit communities… the list goes on and on. And as demo days increase and cohort sizes expand, accelerator programs continue to move further from their pre-seed catalyst origins in favor of existing traction that’s optimized for follow-on funding hit rates. The NextView accelerator has not and will not subscribe to the aforementioned model. Our program goes back to basics in the most important, effective, and meaningful ways: weekly one-on-one time with partners, hands-on mentorship from experienced advisors, small and selective cohort sizes, and zero demo days or distracting demo day prep involved. We chatted with some NextView founders to get a sense of how this distilled design worked for their teams. Here are a few unprompted quotes from accelerator alums to help better illustrate:
“The journey of every startup is so different. I liked that there was no organized demo day at the end of the program.” – Lillian, ShelfLife
“I loved that it was such a small cohort. This smaller size allowed for lots of attention from the full NextView team. We had the ability to work with all of the partners, which proved to be a very helpful opportunity” – Victor, Allay Health
In that same original blog post, we also outlined the unfortunate phenomenon that occurs when the market collapses: capital tends to flow towards founders with established VC relationships and away from folks who may be equally talented but are several steps removed from investor networks. This particularly hurts first-time founders, founders from underrepresented backgrounds, and founders in non-core geographies. It’s no secret that YC’s most recent demo day boasted diversity stats that were disappointing and disheartening. The need for accelerators that include a broader set of teams has never been more obvious, and it’s something NextView has prioritized in our very own. We’re proud to say that more than 50% of the NextView accelerator alumni identify as underrepresented founders, and this diversity of racial, gender, and geographic experience is something we’re committed to replicating in our next cohort.
Why we’re running it back: hint, hint… it’s working
Not to toot our own horn buuuuttttt… our dedicated approach is working. The notable alumni able to secure substantial funding success from VCs like Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund, and Softbank include ShelfLife (ordering marketplace for food & beverage brands – $3M Seed round), Jambb (NFT crypto platform for video content – $3.5M Seed round), and Lula (insurance API infrastructure – $18M Series A).
Important to note that we do not view follow-on funding as the only signal of success. The NextView accelerator program focuses on companies that are so early in their lifecycles that acceptance into traditional accelerators is a victory as well. Previous cohorts’ examples include Comet Health (virtual physical therapy – next step to Y Combinator) and Benchmark Labs (micro-climate weather forecasting – next step to Techstars).
Startups pioneering the future of remote work
No startup relocation, temporary or permanent, is necessary or requested for NextView’s 100% virtual accelerator program. This model has produced a wide array of geographic diversity at a national scale, which we are aiming to replicate in the upcoming cohort. See some alumni locations below:
Lula: Miami, Florida
Allay Health: Seattle, Washington
Jambb: Boston, Massachusetts
Higher: Birmingham, Alabama
ShelfLife: New York, New York
Benchmark Labs: San Diego, California
Comet Health: San Francisco, California
New & improved: more money, le$$ problem$
Alright, we’ve bragged about the first two cohorts enough (jk, jk). But truthfully, I wanted to take some time to also talk about how the upcoming program will be different in comparison to the previous two. To start, we’re making a few structural programming changes: more time with more partners, more time with peer teams, more time with NextView Accelerator alumni and founders, etc. All these shifts will be positive for our future founders, and we’re all really pumped about each and every iteration, but I would argue that the biggest, most impactful change to come, literally and figuratively, is the deal itself. We’re upping our offering from $200K to $400K and raising the valuation cap upon acceptance into the program. This deal is multiples more capital and a higher cap than the leading accelerators.
“Why the increase in capital? Because we believe in these teams and devote a lot of energy towards their success, so it makes sense to arm them with more resources. Also, this further relieves the pressure of need to manufacture a pitch and ‘traction’ for a demo day three months after funding.” – Rob Go, Partner
To wrap things up, I’d like to finish where we started by returning to the two initial questions we asked ourselves at the beginning of this whole journey: what happens when you go “back to basics” within an accelerator program and you deliberately broaden the scope of founders and companies for inclusion? The answer, quite simply, is this: a whole lot of success. We are proud of the founders who have trusted us to help bring their visions to life, we are honored we had the opportunity to walk side-by-side with their fantastic teams, and we are looking forward to doing the same with our next cohort of exceptional entrepreneurs.
Interested in accelerating with us?! To learn more about NextView’s Everyday Economy Virtual Accelerator, read on below/see here for additional information. If you feel our program is the right fit for you and your company, don’t be shy… apply! Applications are officially open ⬇️
Accelerator Nuts & Bolts
Who you are
- Pre-seed & seed-stage startup teams who could benefit from capital and engaged, hands-on mentorship from the NextView partnership & extended advisor network.
- Consumer and SaaS B2B companies located anywhere, but should be focused on redesigning the Everyday Economy within the U.S. market.
Who we are
Everyone in the NextView partnership has deep operating experience as founders and operators scaling high-growth internet companies (e.g. LinkedIn, PayPal, eBay, Blue Apron). Being hands-on investors is part of our core. Check out our team page to learn more about your future primary and secondary partners.
The culmination of this accelerator program isn’t a demo day or a big show. Instead, the sole goal of the program is results, namely:
- Demonstrably advancing a startup towards true product-market fit
- Further capitalizing the company for success
We’re upping our offering! All startups receive $400K for 10% of the company upon acceptance into the program. We will leverage the standard YC post-money SAFE document with a valuation cap and no discount. There will be 6-8 startup teams in this cohort.
In addition to weekly meetings with primary partners and monthly meetings with secondary partners, we’re carving out dedicated partnerless time for our cohort, allowing teams the space to connect with their peers on a deeper, more impactful level than before. We’re also including facilitated, hands-on mentorship from experienced advisors, tactical experts, and portfolio founders. Our structured sessions will focus on fundraising, product, customer acquisition, as well as other important pre-seed topics.
This accelerator program is entirely virtual from application, to selection, to participation – no startup relocation, temporary or permanent, is necessary or requested.
Applications are open through February 14, 2022. We will send final acceptance offers on March 9th, with interviews happening in between. The program will kick off the week of March 28th and will wrap in mid June.
To read additional information about our upcoming accelerator program, see here.