About the program
Thank you for your interest in the Techstars Founder Catalyst Program in partnership with J.P. Morgan. The Techstars Founder Catalyst program provides women with startup education, mentorship, and access to the Techstars network. The program will consist of 10 weeks of virtual masterclasses with a focus on pitch coaching and pitch deck development. Participants also have access to 1:1 mentoring through the Techstars network and peer networking opportunities. The program culminates in a virtual End of Program Showcase.
Note: there is no investment component to this program
Our Fall 2023 cohort will run from October 9th to December 15th. Apply by August 23, 2023 and early applications will be prioritized. After applications close, we’ll review applications for 3-4 weeks and spend time getting to know even more about your team, market, progress and idea. Our goal is to notify the final group of companies being accepted by September 18th.
The Program is a unique offering from Techstars and J.P. Morgan. Over a 10-week period, up to 30 selected founders will gain access to a curriculum designed to help propel their businesses forward, and to networking opportunities with speakers, mentors, and each other, providing a valuable community of supporters that are excited to help them succeed.
Why should founders participate in this program?
Founders will gain access to specific resources designed to help prepare them for the next big step with their early-stage company. These resources include live virtual expert instruction, access to thought leadership/articles, and coaching by experienced entrepreneurs. Founders also receive exclusive access to mentors and can book 1:1 meetings with subject matter experts. Finally, founders have the opportunity to network with other women founders throughout the program, growing their network and building lasting relationships with a supportive community.
Who is eligible for this program?
Companies that meet all of the following criteria are eligible for this program:
1. Companies that meet the definition of “women-owned” (a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) is defined as one that is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled on a daily basis by one or more individuals who identify as women or non-binary), including founders with disabilities
2. Companies based in the US
3. Companies that have raised less than $1M
4. For-profit companies
5. Companies that have not participated in previous Techstars Founder Catalyst Programs or Techstars Accelerators
What type of sessions are there during the program?
During the program, participants will gain access to weekly masterclasses designed to help them scale their businesses and navigate some of the unique challenges that women founders face. There will also be pitch coaching, pitch design, and 1:1 mentor sessions.
Where will the program be based?
This program will be delivered virtually to companies in the US. This means founders will be able to access it by leveraging tools including Zoom and Slack.
How many startups will be selected?
Up to 30 will be selected.
Will co-founders be allowed to participate in programming?
Co-founders may participate in some elements of the program. We have designed the program to be most engaging for selected founders. Although we know co-founders are a major part of your company's journey, we request they only attend social events (as appropriate).
When do Masterclasses and networking events take place? Is there an attendance requirement?
Masterclasses will generally take place Tuesdays and Thursdays and selected founders are expected to attend at least 80% of the Masterclasses in addition to submitting a full pitch for the End of Program Showcase to be considered a participant in the program. Virtual networking events will also take place for the duration of the program which founders are expected to attend.
How will you choose which startups to accept?
We will evaluate applications based on meeting basic eligibility requirements (owned by women, including founders with disabilities, raised less than $1M, based in the US), the quality of the team, traction to date, the market opportunity, and the idea itself. We also consider other factors such as the impact this program will have on the team, quality of any pitch videos submitted, and overall quality of the narratives submitted in the application form.
Do you have to be a woman to apply?
The program is designed to elevate, give business advice, and promote women founders and their businesses. Our definition of "woman" is the broadest possible and includes all founders identifying as women. The company may have co-founders that identify as men but must meet the definition of a “women-owned” company. A Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) is defined as one that is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled on a daily basis by one or more women, including founders with disabilities.
Do you have to be building a FinTech company?
No, the program is industry-agnostic. We are excited to help founders build their businesses across a range of industries under J.P. Morgan’s Technology and Disruptive commerce umbrella including Consumer and Internet Technology, Enterprise and Cloud Solutions, FinTech and Tech Services, Industrial and Applied Technology.
At what stage should a company be to apply?
Companies should have initial traction and product-market fit, but they don't need to have raised any funding or achieved any specific level of sales. We are looking for companies that have raised less than $1M.
Who is running the program?
The program is led by a Director at Techstars with executive sponsorship from J.P. Morgan. Throughout the program, participants will also gain access to other leadership from Techstars, subject matter experts at J.P. Morgan, and key stakeholders from both the J.P. Morgan and Techstars' networks.
Does the program cost anything? Will there be any requirement to exchange equity?
There is no cost to participate in the Founder Catalyst program. The Founder Catalyst program is distinct from the Techstars Accelerator and involves no direct investment or equity exchange. These programs are run free of charge to selected participants.
What is the time commitment?
Founders' total commitment is approximately 5-10 hours per week for 10 weeks. This varies depending on how many mentor meetings founders book each week. Example: 3 mentor meetings/week is common. Founders will also spend 3 hours in weekly masterclasses, an hour meeting with our Entrepreneur in Residence, an hour meeting with their peer group and with other founders in the cohort.
How does someone apply / who / how can they contact for more details?
Interested individuals apply here. Request additional information or send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not ready to apply? Answer a few short questions here, and we’ll be in touch with you on next steps.