CapitalFactory: Your startup gets $20k cash + 20 mentors for a summer

Help me spread the word about this program!

I’m a mentor and investor in CapitalFactory, a seed-stage startup mentorship program in Austin, TX. Each year we pick 5 companies to participate in a 10-week summer program which includes:

  • 20 real mentors
    Twenty entrepreneurs who have actually been in your shoes — creating companies from scratch, growing to millions in revenue, and often selling them. No posers, no one who was “there for the ride.” Here’s the list; see for yourself. You’ll get both one-on-one time and weekly group meetings.
  • $20,000 in cash
    You can spend it however you want — quit your day job, buy some ads, license technology, whatever you need. Where does the money come from? From the mentors themselves, personally.
  • $20,000 in free stuff
    Free legal services to set up agreements, contracts, and EULAs, free graphic design work to make a nice logo and website, free PR services for product announcements, free office space, free website hosting, free software, and more.
  • Present at Demo Day
    At the end of the program is “Demo Day,” where you get to pitch in front of 150 investors — both angels and VCs, both individuals and firms. Last year one of the five companies was funded by Demo Day — it can be that quick. Even if you’re not looking to raise money, it’s a great experience and personal networking event. Last year the keynote speaker was Mike Maples.

For more details, including the application process and a great 3-minute video which includes interviews from the 2009 companies, see the CapitalFactory home page.

We like to say we’re the #3 most popular seed-stage group after Y-Combinator and TechStars. Help me spread the word and keep us at #3!

Questions? Leave a comment.

15 responses to “CapitalFactory: Your startup gets $20k cash + 20 mentors for a summer”

  1. Hi Jason,

    Most likely you are involved with other mentors/investors..
    Do you know any similar initiatives in Vancouver BC, Canada?

    Maybe I should ask this question on

    Thank you,

    • CapitalFactory is in Austin, which means it has the Austin mentality which is more about profitable growth than trying to be the next Twitter or Reddit.

      YC tends to be big ideas that will eventually need “real” VC funding. Some CF companies get funding; some don’t, and some get Angel-only or “small VC” (like $600k for the first round, not $6m).

      We’re much closer to the likes of TechStars. I’m not sure our philosophy is terribly different from theirs.

    • Cool, here’s the straight answer: Yes you have a chance.

      What we’re looking for in terms of personnel is: All of the people who will be key to success are already in place. If it just takes one person to get the company going, great! That’s what I did at Smart Bear, and several other mentors too.

      What we don’t want is someone who says something like “I have a great idea and some people say they’ll buy it, but I need someone to code it up.” Or a lone coder where (a) they are unwilling/unable to do the requisite marketing/selling or (b) the business model is such that it will certainly require more bodies in order to work.

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