The Tufts Venture Accelerator is an 11-week-long venture accelerator that provides structure, accountability, educational experiences and more that helps entrepreneurs who are building a venture make rapid progress throughout the summer. Participants will be guided through all the key stages of venture creation, from defining their market and customer to developing and testing a solution with a go-to-market strategy and pricing architecture, to building out their financials and planning their next steps regarding financing, team and company building.
In 2021 we will be offering two editions for our summer accelerator:
The Full-Time Edition
The Full-Time Edition is available to an elite group of eligible Tufts students, recent alumni (within 12 months), faculty and staff who are committed to working on their ventures full time as their only professional focus for the summer. Participants enjoy an intimate and personalized experience, with weekly 1×1 coaching, dedicated mentor matching, pop-up educational workshops, peer coaching, leadership development, fireside chats with guest speakers, opportunities to network via open AMA sessions and more. Participants will also enjoy full access to our experimental self-guided accountability platform and curated educational content. Lastly, participants will be invited to the Tufts Venture Accelerator 2021 Slack Workspace.
The Self-Guided Edition
The Self-Guided Edition offers accountability and educational support for entrepreneurs who do not meet eligibility requirements for the Full-Time Edition. Participants may have graduated more than 12 months ago, or they may be working on their venture on a part-time basis – but still need structured support to keep themselves accountable. Participants may access our experimental self-guided accountability platform and curated educational content. They will receive weekly suggestions, content and resources. Participants may also join community-wide AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) sessions and a subset of workshops and speaker events. They will also be invited to the Tufts Venture Accelerator 2021 Slack Workspace.
Participants for both editions will enjoy the same easy-to-follow weekly structure that will help them keep themselves accountable and make steady progress. They will also enjoy peer support and build a strong community within the 2021 cohort.
In addition, participants of the Full-Time Edition will enjoy 1×1 coaching and mentoring, dramatically expand their professional networks, apply for modest venture awards and leverage startup perks to advance their businesses, and grow personally and professionally while building and growing their ventures.
What you need to know about the Tufts Venture Accelerator
- Program duration: June 1 – August 12, 2021
- Info Sessions: March 8, 2021 @ 12pm • March 9, 2021 @ 6pm
- Applications open: March 8, 2021
- Deadline: March 26, 2021
- Interviews: Week of April 12, 2021
- Notifications sent: Week of April 19, 2021
- Acceptance commitment: Within 48 hours of acceptance
What’s new this year?
- The accelerator has been extended to 11 weeks (up from 10 weeks)
- We will offer two editions: The Full Time Edition and the Self-Guided Edition
- For the Full-Time Edition: We will front load the educational component with an entrepreneurship bootcamp and transition into a coaching-centric experience throughout the summer for a fully customized acceleration experience
- For the Self-Guided Edition: We will be providing weekly suggestions, self-guided curated educational content and access to the weekly AMA sessions that are open to the public.
Will we meet remotely or in-person for the Full-Time Edition?
- For now, we expect the Full-Time Edition to be delivered remotely via Zoom, Slack, Miro and other on-line collaboration platforms.
- As the COVID situation unfolds, we may transition to a hybrid or in-person experience according to guidance from the CDC, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and from Tufts University.
Who’s eligible for the Full-Time Edition?
- Teams of 2-5 (No solo teams)
- Applicants must have actively participating executive or founding team members in major roles who are one, or more, of the following: Matriculated Tufts undergraduate or graduate student; full time postdoc, research fellow or resident; faculty, staff or current researcher; recently graduated alumni (graduated within the last 12 months)
- Applicants must not have raised more than $250,000 combined in grants, fellowships, convertible notes, SAFE notes, equity-based financing or other funding sources as of the application deadline
- Applicants must not have already participated in the Venture Accelerator with the same venture
- Applicants must be committed to working on their venture full time over the summer
- Applicants must commit to attending all mandatory programming
Can Non-Tufts team members participant in the Full-Time Edition?
Non-Tufts team members may be part of the venture’s management team and may participate in the accelerator. However, the Tufts team member(s) are expected to:
- Be the driving force behind the venture
- Have an ongoing active role in the day-to-day operations of the venture
- Hold an executive role in the founding management team of the venture
Will there be a unified application process for both editions?
- The Full-Time Edition and the Self-Guided Edition will be run under a unified application process.
- Applicants will select one of the two editions based on their interest and eligibility.
- Applicants who have applied to the $100k New Ventures Competition may elect to use their competition entry in lieu of completing a new application.
- Applicants who apply to the Self-Guided Edition will be automatically enrolled.
- Applicants for the Full Time Edition will be considered via a screening and interview process (see Application and Selection Process section for details).
What is the application process for the Full-Time Edition?
- Applicants will complete an application that will provide them with an option to reuse their $100k application if they applied to both programs
- A subset of applicants may be invited to a 15 minute interview
- Teams will be selected based on our assessment of whether our specific program design is a good match for the team’s needs and the venture’s stage of development
- All applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by the week of April 19, 2021
Is there any funding or startup perks for participants of the Full-Time Edition?
Once accepted into the program, teams may apply for venture awards of up to $5000 from our experimental venture awards program.
While all Tufts entrepreneurs may enjoy the startup perks that are open to public, accelerator participants may be eligible to receive additional select startup perks for business systems, IT systems and more.
What are the conditions for the Full-Time Edition?
Startup team members who apply and are accepted into the Full-Time Edition of the Tufts Venture Accelerator must agree to the following conditions:
- Participants must agree to attend and participate in all coaching and programming events offered as part of the program, including the mid-term and final team check-in’s, unless unable to for reasons connected to startup as confirmed by the Startup Coach.
- Participants must agree to adhere to the standards of academic integrity and Tufts community citizenship as outlined in University policies and Code of Conduct (see uss.tufts.edu/studentaffairs/ for details).
- Participants must agree to notify the Program Lead immediately if no longer able to agree to any of the above requirements. Violation of any of the requirements may result in the repayment of venture award funds and/or ineligibility for such funds in the future.