It’s a good day for accelerators. Earlier today we covered a nifty virtual startup accelerator called StartupPlays, which has partnered with veteran entrepreneurs and mentors to convert their experience into targeted, actionable guides to help startups build their businesses.
The startup provides an alternative approach to some of the more well-established startup incubators and accelerators out there, like Y Combinator, TechStars, 500 Startups, Founder Institute, and DreamIt — to name a few. These accelerators provide excellent opportunities and resources for their founding teams, with mentorship from experts, and far-reaching alumni and investor networks. Of course, investments can run $25,000 or less and can require founders to fork over up to 10 percent of the company in return for admission.
Today, serial entrepreneurs and mentors Chris Heivly and Dave Neal are kicking off the re-launch of their North Carolina-based startup accelerator, Triangle Startup Factory, in the hopes of providing entrepreneurs with a founder-friendly option for accelerating their early-stage tech businesses. To make Triangle Startup Factory an appealing alternative, the accelerator will run two three-month-long programs over the next four years.
Each batch will consist of five to seven startups, and founding teams will receive a $50,000 capital investment upon being accepted, the cost of which will be 7.5 percent equity going to the accelerator. But, perhaps the best part of the news for founders is that Triangle is promising an additional $20,000 to $150,000 in convertible notes to each startup that completes its three-month program. Where the startups fall within that range will be up to the Triangle leadership team, but it means that your startup could come out of the program with as much as $200,000 in pocket — not bad for 7.5 percent.
Triangle isn’t putting many limitations on the types of startups that can apply (nor geographic restrictions), though it will be focusing on consumer web and mobile, and Triangle Founder Chris Heivly tells me that they won’t be accepting pharma, biotech, medical devices — or rock bands. Sorry, Slash.
As part of its program, the Triangle Startup Factory will be offering its founding teams access to 75 local and national experts, advisors and mentors, some of whom include Robbie Allen of StatSheet, Taylor Mingos of Shoeboxed, James Avery of Adzerk, former Sequoia Partner Tom McMurray, and more. And, hey, Durham, North Carolina, where the accelerator is headquartered, is part of the so-called Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill “Research Triangle”, which includes Duke University, UNC, and NC State. Thus, it’s home to some great resources, and is an up-and-coming entrepreneurial hub in its own right.
In terms of background, beginning in 2008, Washington DC venture capital firm LaunchBox Digital saw some buzz around their newly launched early-stage startup accelerator. TechCrunch covered their first few batches, as well as a number of the companies that emerged from LaunchBox’s accelerator. In 2009, LaunchBox approached the young Triangle Startup Factory about working together, and not long after the two merged their operations. After running a successful session in 2010, the joint accelerator petered out, and LaunchBox went back to focusing on its own venture investments.
Thus, Heivly and Neal have decided to re-launch TSF in hopes of building it back into a reputed accelerator that can compete with the big boys. The accelerator is currently accepting applications for its first session, with the proposed deadline of February 12th. However, their site is not live yet, though it should be by the weekend. The first session will begin March 19th and continue through May, at which point Triangle will be holding its “Demo Day”.
Want to learn more? Check TSF out at home here.