How does Fledge compare to other accelerators?
There are thousands of incubators and accelerators around the world. They all promise to help. They all look and sound similar. The reality is that its far easier to make a good looking website than an accelerator truly useful to its participants. The best programs in the world include a well-tested curriculum, a broad and deep mentor network, and have built a reputation for excellence.
How can you know that Fledge is better than the others? Don’t ask us, ask a neutral third party that benchmarks the programs. See the results of the Social Innovation Benchmark.
What makes Fledge different?
First and foremost is our focus on investing in mission-driven for-profit companies. We invest in each company invited into our program, and with that expect to help our graduates for the next 10 years, not just for 10 weeks.
Second, those 10 weeks are even more intense than other programs. The weeks include an MBA-level class in Entrepreneurship, a flood of mentors, and weeks of training on story telling and public speaking. It’s far more intense than anyone ever imagines possible, and yet our fledglings rave about the benefits from all that work.
What do we look for at Fledge?
We receive a lot of applications for each session. Unfortunately, our time and space is limited, and thus we pick the teams we believe best fit the following criteria. That said, your odds are zero unless you apply, and we pride ourselves on providing feedback to every team that completes the application.
We’ll help all we can to get your idea polished for and into the market, but ultimately we count on you to push it forward through all the hurdles in starting a business. Thus first and foremost, we’re looking for dedicated entrepreneurs, who are “all in” in this effort, who work well together as a team.
“Together”, as the best practices from accelerators all say that companies need at least a team of two to be successful. If you are alone, seek a co-founder or build out a team of volunteers/employees before applying. Or apply today asking for feedback, which can help improve your odds of finding a teammate.
How does your startup make the world better? Does it save lives? Improve the environment? Strengthen a community? Alleviate poverty? Bring financial services to the unbanked? Bring food to the hungry? Home the homeless?
Does it do this via business or charity? Fledge is a for-profit, seeking to help impactful for-profit companies (or nonprofits which embrace customer revenues as the sole source of funding).
If you plan is to share a percentage of profits from an otherwise non-impactful business, you need not apply. If your business model is buy one-give one, we’re not a good fit. The only business model we like is where the mission is embedded within the product or service, such that doing business (a.k.a. making sales) directly has an impact.
Your idea needs a viable path to profitability. We are not looking for the next Instagram or WhatsApp or any other app that can’t earn revenues, or whose only potential revenue is from advertising.
Who will pay you for your product or service? How many of those potential customers exist? How expensive will it be to find them and close the sales? How long can you afford to try and reach them?
Are they looking for a solution like yours, or oblivious to the problem you are solving?
Fledge invests in all our participants. $15,000-€20,000, depending on the city. We expect to see that money back (and more), and to do that we need our graduates to grow, to at least serve an entire city, if not multiple cities, a whole country, or a whole region.
Plus we want to see billions of lives impactful by the fledglings, and to reach that goal we need graduates that reach millions of customers.
Does my idea fit Fledge?
Probably. If you’ve made it this far into the web site, then your idea is probably a fit. To be sure, fill out the contact us form, tell us a bit about your idea, and we’ll tell you whether you should apply. Or better yet, if applications are open, take the time to fill out an application, and if it’s a good fit, we’ll get back to you with follow-up questions. If it’s not a fit, you’ll have the basic answers to apply to the next program.
Can I send my business plan or pitch deck before applying?
Sorry, but no. We receive hundreds of applications per year. Digging through hundreds of business plans and pitches to find answer to our questions is to difficult and time consuming. What we promise is that if you fill out an application, we’ll read it. And if we have other questions, we’ll ask them. We’re serious about finding the best teams and ideas, and spend time talking to the teams that take the application seriously.
When should I apply?
As soon as possible. Waiting for the deadline is not the ideal strategy, as your application will get far more attention and thought in the month or two before the deadline than the day of or after. If we see an outstanding application before the deadline, we may choose to accept the team early, leaving fewer slots for the latter applicants.
What are my odds of getting invited?
Incredibly low. Single digit percentage low. About the same odds as applying to the most competitive universities. None the less, the odds are zero if you do not apply.
Should I reapply if I was rejected previously?
Absolutely! Persistence is a positive trait when it comes to entrepreneurship. The current record stands at four applications before being invited to attend, and multiple fledglings applied three times before seeing an acceptance. Apply again and tell us what’s new.
Do I need to relocate?
For Fledge, you’ll not need to relocate permanently, but for the duration of the program, at least one team member needs to be working at Fledge, preferably at least two. Part of the reasoning behind the cash investment is to provide some of the funding to make this possible.
Do I need to be a US Citizen or form a US company (or do that in any of our countries)?
No and no (and no). Fledge is open to citizens from anywhere in the world, who are able to travel to host city. As for your company, you are free to incorporate and operate your company from your home country after the program completes.
The same goes for the other countries where we operate, with the one exception being the IMPACT StartUp Visa Program in Vancouver, which specifically is about moving entrepreneurs to Canada.
Do I need to be be fluent in English? or Spanish, Italian, Catalan, etc?
No, but comfort with English will help. You are welcome to fill out the application in any language that Google can translate. However, the bulk of the curriculum is in English and the majority of the mentors speak English.
I Have more questions!
Click on Contact Us above and ask us anything.