The 2013 VilCap/VentureWell – Louisville Agriculture and Cleantech Accelerator is a program designed to equip entrepreneurs utilizing technology and innovative solutions to some of the worlds most pressing agriculture, energy and environmental concerns. The accelerator, Village Capital’s 19th program worldwide, is designed to provide opportunity to high-potential startups that deliver more than just an attractive bottom line. The experience, global networks, and capital resources of Village Capital and VentureWell, and other program partners: Blue Sky, Invested Development, Sustainable America, and Radicle Capital, will be utilized to prepare companies for investment and increase investor exposure.
The accelerator consists of a cohort of 14 for-profit, commercially scalable companies operating in one (or more) of the following 2 verticals:
- Clean technology / energy
The program includes three skills-based workshops focused on training entrepreneurs to assume an “investor lens”, and culminates with $100,000 pre-committed investment, to be made with a twist: the investment decision is in the hands of the entrepreneurs. The first workshop starts on June 26 and end at the Idea Festival between 24 and 27 September. During this time, the program will provide infrastructure, business and investment related mentoring to the cohort, selected from over 100 of the worlds top agriculture and cleantech startups recruited for the program.
Throughout the program, participating enterprises engage in a constructive and fully transparent ranking process, designed to provide entrepreneurs with feedback and accountability systems designed to build investment ready businesses. After the final rank, the top two companies receive investment, and YES, the investment decision is solely placed in the hands of the entrepreneurs themselves!
Session 1: June 26-29,
Session 2: July 28-31
Session 3: September 22-24 followed by joint workshops in partnership with the IdeaFestival conference starting on September 24.
The three workshops are as follows:
1. Entrepreneur and Team (Inside the enterprise – supply / design)
2. Product market fit (Outside the enterprise – demand / needs)
3. Lens of the investor (Shared value – results / aspirations)
Within these workshops, sessions include the following topics:
- “Lens of the investor”: Outline of program
- Value proposition
- Value chain
- Time prioritization & responsibilities of being a CEO
- Customer validation
- The art of storytelling in fundraising and customer acquisition
- Developing and maintaining a personal brand for founders
- Marketing for startups
- Sales and negotiations
- A Customer Forum featuring potential customers and industry experts
- Building a team to reach scale
- Creating a solid financial plan
- Market positioning
- Investor panel for investment criteria
- How to prepare for investment
- Resources for start-ups
- Measuring your impact and the value and importance of social impact metrics
- Final peer review session and peer evaluation
- Final Pitchfest / Venture Forum
Between each workshop, enterprises set milestones and hold each other accountable through online meetings and reporting software. There is a heavy emphasis on progress and execution over pitches and promises. Programatic activities are predominantly skills-based with all assignments designed to build processes and structures enterprises should be putting in place to construct robust and scalable businesses.