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TechLaunch is New Jersey’s technology accelerator that facilitates the commercialization of innovative technologies and ideas by transforming them into successful business models. Through our intense 16-week LaunchPad program, we provide seed funding, mentoring from industry experts, extensive business training, advisory services and culminate with Demo Day presentations to an audience of qualified investors. Learn more about us by visiting our About page.
We are primarily looking for technology companies with a unique idea, even if right now that idea is scrawled on the back of a bar napkin. If you can put together a top-notch team and develop the product within the 16-week LaunchPad program, we want you to apply.
We expect many companies will be internet-, mobile- or software-based, if for no other reason than they have the best chance of building/adapting a viable product and business in 16 weeks. All companies should have the following characteristics:
Must be a technology company. We’re looking for those focused on social media, gaming, and e-commerce, and we're very interested in applications that support key NJ industries such as Communications, Media, Biotech, Manufacturing, Health Care, Pharma/Life Sciences or Transportation. These are the people we can help the most. If you can get your product ready for Demo Day, we’re interested.
At least 2 full-time co-founders. Going it alone is tremendously difficult, so we prefer a team to share the burden. Bringing diverse skills is also key, which goes beyond just the programming and engineering aspects. Business, finance, sales and marketing acumen is important for any startup. Also, we need your company to be your first priority, which entails being in our offices regularly to take advantage of the available resources and training.
Technical resources. We can provide access to technical support, but a tech lead is crucial. We will consider those who outsource development if you can prove your ability to adapt and build your product in time for Demo Day.
Know your space. It is critical that you have some experience if you hope to innovate and differentiate, especially in today’s competitive global marketplace. If you’re already founded or been involved in a startup too, great, but that isn’t a prerequisite.
Passion. Don’t necessarily have the experience? We’ll still consider you if you’re passionate about your product or your market. Some of the most successful startups were founded by individuals who hadn’t done it before. Show us why you’re passionate, regardless of your experience. Remember, we’re investing in you as much as in your idea.
Team players. Getting the most out of our program means working well with others, and we’re not just talking about your other co-founders. We foster an environment of collaboration, and work hard to provide individuals and resources to help you succeed. Being open to new ideas is paramount, and a willingness to share your ideas with others in the program will help everyone involved.
Our LaunchPad accelerator program is 16 weeks. Learning from our inaugural year which featured a 12-week schedule, we feel strongly that a few extra weeks can go a long way and have adjusted our schedule to make the program even better! This will give teams some extra time to digest and integrate the various lessons learned throughout the program. We’re also thrilled to have the collaboration of Montclair State University as the setting for our accelerator. Beyond the great facilities, we’re able to provide an energetic environment that fosters true collaboration. The University is behind our effort to continue building the NJ Tech community, and you will have an opportunity to engage faculty and students as you develop your business. Whether you’re looking for help troubleshooting technical challenges, test your product with a closed user-group of target customers to gather focus-group feedback, or even get additional support from interns, the university setting is the perfect place for any entrepreneur. Did we mention we have living space available? Where else can you arrange a 4-month residence complete with 24/7 services and amenities? Not saying it’s not out there somewhere, but we make it easy for you to focus on building your startup even if you don’t live in the immediate area.
Refer to this schedule for upcoming program details.
We’ll provide working space, internet access, mentor/speaker expenses and other miscellaneous perks. The rest, including travel, food and living expenses, is up to you.
Each company will receive between $20,000 and $25,000 of seed capital throughout the duration of the program in return for 8-10% of equity in the company. We don’t vary the capital based on number of founders. The point is, we want a vested interest in your success, and work hard to earn it by providing the resources to help you succeed. We’ll also be opening our vast network up to you to help ensure you get access to continued funding and revenue-generating customers wherever possible.
Not a problem at all. We base our selections of our application questionnaire, which covers many elements typically found in a business plan. You should thoroughly think through your plan, but part of what we’ll offer is guidance in building a true business plan that will catch investors’ eyes. Having said that, if you do have a business plan ready it will help demonstrate your level of commitment to your company. Couldn't hurt you.
Applications will be reviewed by our screening committee, which consist of industry experts, Angels and VCs. Once finalists are selected, each will have an in-person interview prior to the ultimate selection for the LaunchPad program.
The program will be held at Montclair State University (MSU), just 14 miles from New York City and easily accessible by mass transit and major highways. For the duration of the program, each startup will have co-working, Wi-Fi, optional living space*, access to lecture halls and other facilities. Our investor conference and Demo Day will be held at MSU’s state-of-the-art conference center. *Living facilities available for a fee
Field trips to outside companies, regular guest speakers, weekly dinners and pitch practice, weekly interaction with Angels and VCs, networking opportunities, marketing support and, arguably most important, continued encouragement and coaching.
Yes. We expect all companies to be local for the 16 weeks and to attend all scheduled weekly events. This leaves you plenty of time to build the product, but if we’re going to add any value we need you here. That said, you’re free to work wherever you want. We think you’ll want to use the office space we provide quite often as there you’ll be working alongside other energized entrepreneurs like yourself. This really proved beneficial to the other portfolio companies, and you never know when a mentor may just drop by unannounced. Happens quite a bit, actually.
No. We cannot commit to signing an NDA for every idea we consider. We simply have too much access to ideas that are similar, especially during the application process. While we won’t sign any paperwork, we do commit to maintaining the utmost confidentiality with your idea. We can’t be successful and continue to find new ideas unless we strictly abide by this principal.
No, we are looking for passionate people with great ideas. Experience in your field is a plus, even if you’ve never been in a startup. It’s likely your lack of startup experience is a key reason why you’re applying.
New Jersey is an ideal place to build and grow your company for so many reasons, including continued proximity to the mentors and investors who may continue to be involved long after you leave the LaunchPad. But to be clear, this is your company and you can take it wherever you want once the program is finished. With a thriving technology ecosystem, we think you’ll find the resources and access you need right here in NJ—not to mention a short drive to the Jersey Shore when you need to unwind!
Have more questions? Please contact us.