We at NextView Ventures are sensitive to the challenges which all startups face during these times brought upon us by the current Coronavirus crisis. As we have discussed elsewhere, the world of early stage investing is shifting from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) to FOLD (Fear Of Looking Dumb). Even though some of the most transformative tech companies are built during difficult economic periods, the aperture of VC funds tends to narrow during these times. The result is that 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 just as we were starting to see slightly greater representation from the ranks of venture backed founders.
At the same time, we’ve noticed a troubling trend, which is that interest in Accelerators apart from YC and some Techstars classes seems to have waned. Also, the focus of some accelerators has shifted from being true pre-seed catalysts to programs hyperfocused on follow-on funding hit rates (and thus looking for companies that already have traction). This seems problematic, and particularly a lost opportunity in this specific moment.
To address these issues directly, we at NextView are launching a new program focused on Accelerating the Everyday Economy. We believe that now is a time to invest in companies which will shape a brighter collective future, as founders combine software & creativity to drive change in the everyday lives of everyday people. The program will be 100% virtual for now, replacing the diffuse mentorship model of most programs with a focus on few companies that get much more hands-on engagement with the NextView partners and our close knit set of advisors.
Starting today, we will begin accepting our first cohort of startups into the program:
- WHO: Pre-Seed & Seed stage startups located anywhere focused on the U.S. market who could benefit from capital and engaged hands-on mentorship from the NextView partnership & extended advisor network. Consumer and SaaS B2B companies that use technology drive a brighter collective future for mass market end users, per our investment approach thesis.
- THE GOAL: The culmination of this accelerator program ISN’T a demo day or a big show. Instead, the sole goal with of the program is RESULTS, namely:
- Demonstrably advancing a startup towards true product-market fit.
- Further capitalizing the company for success.
- THE DEAL: All startups receive $200K for 8% 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.
- THE REAL DEAL: Unlike most accelerators in which participants are shepherded along a programmatic path within a large cohort of peer companies, the Everyday Economy Accelerator is about hands-on personalized engagement to push the company forward. For an initial three-month period all participant founders will be scheduled into weekly hands-on Zoom mentorship meetings with at least one NextView Partner to push strategic thinking, drive accountability, and provide access to the broader NextView network. Beyond scheduling product and go-to-market sessions with our Operator Guild members, who hail from companies like Slack, Wayfair, and HubSpot, we’re currently in the process of assembling an extended network of mentors for supplemental mentorship and business development.
- OUR BRAND PROMISE*: To avoid signaling issues, we intentionally will not lead the next round of financing for our accelerator participants. However, we will strive to work with all accelerator companies to shape the underlying business, craft the fundraising pitch, and make introductions for new downstream investors until the company is subsequently financed. Participants are empowered to market that we are willing to do at least our pro-rata in the next round.
- WHERE: This acceleration program is entirely virtual from application, to selection, to participation – no startup relocation, temporary or permanent, is necessary or requested.
- WHO WE ARE: Everyone on the NextView partnership has deep operating experience as founders and operators scaling high-growth internet companies (e.g. LinkedIn, PayPal, eBay, Blue Apron), and being hands-on investors is part of our core.
- THEMES: A few of the themes that the NextView Partners are currently thinking about are listed below, but we are open to all B2B and B2C companies that broadly fit our Everyday Economy focus:
- David: Consumer paid subscription business models, conversational & next-gen marketing, healthy living & eating
- Melody: Democratization of data analytics, next-gen commerce/commerce infrastructure, modern loneliness
- Rob: Second-order effects of COVID on Health tech, “peace of mind” business models, senior and child care, sustainability and climate
- Lee: Future of transportation (people & goods), sustainable commerce
- WHEN & HOW: Applications are open now until end of day May 11th and notifications to those companies for interview consideration will be shared within two weeks of closing.
* Of course, we can’t guarantee success. While each participant will receive access to the full compliment of preseed support we provide, variations are bound to exist among participants in how that support is utilized and the results it produces. Moreover, we may not be able to find suitable financing for a participant’s next round, and participants should not expect NextView to step into that breach.