Ten years, more than 100 programs
Our team at Village Capital has supported more seed-stage, impact-driven startups than any other incubator or accelerator in the world. We've worked with 1,400 entrepreneurs from 28 countries, and we continue to run more than a dozen accelerators, forums and bootcamps each year.
Learn more about those programs — and how you can apply — below.
“The Village Capital model is unique. We got to know our peer entrepreneurs by giving and receiving feedback on every aspect of each others’ business models. These are smart people who run their own businesses in our industry. While we never thought we ‘had time’ for an accelerator, it turns out to have been one of the best things we’ve done.”
Step one: Defining the problem statement
As Albert Einstein (supposedly) said, "If I had only one hour to solve a problem, I would spend up to two-thirds of the time attempting to define what the problem is.”
Unlike other accelerators that focus on a specific city or community, we use a “problem-based approach”. That means before we run any program, we identify a problem in the world and form a hypothesis around how innovation can help alleviate it. Past programs have focused on hardware solutions for smallholder farmers in East Africa; healthcare solutions for aging Baby Boomers in the US; and civic technology tools in India.
To do this, we convene an intentionally diverse Advisory Board for every program that includes investors, entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and often academics and activists who can speak to the challenges at hand.
Step two: Recruitment
Next, we start an application process that is open to any and all entrepreneurs.
Village Capital has the largest network of any organization in the field of impact investing, and we use our deep network to find entrepreneurs that are typically in investor blindspots. Our team conducts deep due diligence on each applicant, that includes research, direct interviews and input from the program's Advisory Board. For a traditional program, we select 10-12 companies that show strong promise of building a sustainable and impactful business.
Visit our Current Programs page to find out if your startup is eligible for one of our upcoming programs.
Step three: The Accelerator
Our accelerator programs are laser-focused on investment-readiness.
Programs range from one-day forums to 12-day accelerators spread out over three different workshops, but each one is organized around helping entrepreneurs communicate their visions to the investors and partners who can help bring their idea to scale.
At the end of each program, the entrepreneurs assess each other's companies in an open and transparent process based on several investment criteria, including Team and Product-Market Fit. The two startups ranked highest by their peers receive grant funding or seed capital.
“At Village Capital’s accelerator we received help from the best. We learned from mentors that you would usually have to pay to meet. We grew our contacts, got press attention and attracted investment opportunities. Our customer segmentation was never sharper. Our unit economics were projected to the last cent. Our value proposition was as polished as a lieutenant’s shoe. By the end, we no longer who cared who wins. We knew who wins: we all do.”