Almaworks is Columbia University's startup accelerator for Columbia student entrepreneurs. We take no equity and aim to help early-stage startups run by student entrepreneurs achieve significant, sustainable growth.
The program lasts for an intensive 8 weeks. Each week consists of 3 hour sessions on Fridays from 3pm to 6pm. While there is no typical Friday session, over the course of the program, teams will participate in workshops, attend office hours with mentors, hear from speakers and alumni, and connect with the extended CORE and Almaworks community. Students are also expected to be working on their startups throughout the program, and maintain good relationships with the Almaworks organizers and mentors.
You'll get direct access to some of the best startup mentors around. These include entrepreneurs who have built multimillion dollar businesses as well as startup growth experts, venture capitalists, and accountants and lawyers specializing in serving early stage startups. These mentors give personalized advice through weekly office hours. Check out our full list of mentors here.
You'll gain expert knowledge on the skills to fast-track your startup's growth. Throughout the program, we will bring in experts on the fields of design, product/growth hacking, and funding to conduct workshops. You'll also be paired with an Almaworks organizer that will help tailor the resources we offer to your startup's specific needs.
You'll be surrounded by a great community. Gaining initial traction is often one of the most challenging roadblocks for startups. We offer an environment of supportive founders working on their own early-stage startups and weekly meetings to address potential challenges many early-stage startups face.
You'll get help with market validation. Almaworks caters to startups that count college students as their primary audience and has organized an enthusiastic pool of college students to try out products and give feedback to startups in the program. Almaworks is also directly plugged into the Columbia University college community through its parent organization CORE, the largest student-run organization on campus. We'll work with you to connect to the Columbia community through CORE's media outlets.
You don't have to tolerate cardboard pizza. We offer non-pizza food at every meeting. Yeah, we know. It's pretty revolutionary.
The program is free. We do not take any equity in your startup and you have full ownership of your startup IP. As of now we also do not provide funding, but we help jumpstart you for the $250,000 Columbia Venture Competition, which will occur in Spring 2018.
Applications are due October 2nd. Startups applying should have:
- 2-4 founders, at least half of whom should currently be an undergraduate, graduate, or recent alumni of Columbia University (at most two years out of school). Dropouts of college-age will be considered.
- A burning passion for the product and at least some domain expertise
- A desire to prioritize growth over everything else for eight weeks (especially schoolwork).
- At least some progress with market validation and efforts to find initial product market fit
Products with a target audience of college/university students will benefit more from our resources.