Almaworks is Columbia University's startup accelerator for NYC student entrepreneurs. We take no equity and aim to help early-stage startups run by NYC student entrepreneurs achieve significant, sustainable growth.
The program lasts for an intensive 9 weeks. The Fall 2016 program revolves around mandatory weekly meetings every Friday 3pm to 6pm from September 30 to November 18 at the Columbia Design Studio, culminating in two demo days. The Friday meetings allow teams to discuss their problems with each other, check-in with advisors, and get feedback from various mentors. There will also be additional workshops and events throughout other weekdays. Teams are expected to be working on their projects on a daily basis throughout the duration of the accelerator.
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 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.
You'll get connected to investors. The accelerator culminates in a Demo Day that brings in attendees from across the Columbia and NYC startup communities, including angels, venture capitalists, and other investors. Throughout the accelerator, we will also occasionally make intros to investors that invest in the same verticals some of our startups are operating in.
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 2017.
Applications open up on August 25. Startups applying should have:
- 2-4 founders, at least half of whom should currently be an undergraduate, graduate, or recent alumni (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.