WERCBench Labs Frequently Asked Questions
if I apply, will you protect my intellectual property?
We’re not in the business of stealing ideas and we treat application data as confidential information. Each year, we see a lot of applications and many of them include similar ideas. For this - and other practical reasons - please don’t ask us to sign an NDA. Our application does not ask for your “secret sauce” and you don’t have to disclose it to us if you’re not comfortable doing so.
How much funding do wercbench labs accelerator companies receive?
You will receive a $20,000 investment; $10,000 at the start of the program and $10,000 upon successful completion. You will also have access to our newly remodeled space, which includes 802.11g encrypted Wi-Fi, VOIP phone system, wired ethernet, conference rooms with polycam and web conferencing and you own dedicated workspace. The connections and advice you’ll receive by starting your company and developing your technology in our space have immeasurable value.
What kinds of companies do you fund?
We are interested in startups and early stage companies in the fields of energy, power, controls, ar/vr, robotics drones, internet-of-things, and 3D printing. We’re also looking for companies with the potential for national or worldwide reach. Your company must have a core team of engineers, scientists, or programmers to be considered. We are interested in builders who want to develop their technology into a product and business.
When will I hear back about my application?
We notify applicants as soon as possible about their acceptance into the program.
Will WERCBench labs accelerator take any ownership of my business?
WERCBench Labs Accelerator will never ask for ownership in your business. We use Royalty Based Financing, which requires you to repay us at a set amount if you earn revenue.
When is the deadline to apply and what’s the overall timeline?
WERCBench Labs Accelerator only accepts applications during open application periods only and runs two cohorts per year. Please don’t send us business plans when the application period is closed. There are limited spots in each cohort and startups are accepted based on the quality of their applications. Selected teams will be interviews by our outside selection committee. We suggest completing the “How to Build Startup” lecture startup series on Udacity.com to get a head start for the program.
is my company “too far along” to apply to WERCBench Labs Accelerator?
Probably not. We’ve mentored companies with fully developed products and we’ve helped them with business models, introductions, financing, and more. Furthermore, nothing is too early. We are also accepting companies with no more than an idea and dream, as long as they have a team of builders at their core.
What will a typical day be like for a WERCBench Labs Accelerator founder?
It’s your company, so you’ll be hard at work on your product. On a weekly basis, we’ll organize workshops and meeting with our mentors/advisors. We’ll also expect many of the mentors to drop into the office at various times throughout the program. In general, you’ll be working on your startup each day, just like other participants. We have developed a lean business startup process based on Steve Bank’s seminal work. There will be milestones and deliverables to reach, and we’ll make sure you have the tools to successfully complete our accelerator
is there a demo day at the end of the program?
Yes. There will be a demo day where each team will have the opportunity to pitch their company to industry leaders, investors, media and other community members.
can I apply if our company or founders are not US Citizens? can you help with visa and immigration issues?
Yes. You do have to be legally in the U.S. during the program, of course. Once accepted, we can assist with legal and immigration issues by leveraging our contacts and networks. We cannot help with such issues in advance of acceptance.
do you offer internships?
Yes, just send us a message that you’re interested.
What else does WERCBench Labs accelerator provide?
In addition to our world-class mentors and teaching team, we provide access to design services, state-of-the-art FabLabs, prototyping, and testing facilities. We also have space available for you to grow your company, 10 MW inbound power to lab test and certify industrial-scale hardware and product development lab space.
i’m a single founder. can I get accepted into WERCBench labs accelerator, or do you only look for teams?
While we don’t reject applications just because they have a single founder, it does make things more difficult. Because we are focused on building things, we prefer you have a well-rounded team of builders, software developers, technicians, etc.
Where will we live while we’re there?
That’s up to you — we don’t provide a place to live but can suggest resources for you.
how do you choose which companies to accept into the program and fund?
WERCBench Labs Accelerator has a selection committee comprised of entrepreneurs, investors, subject matter experts, and industry professionals. We like to work with great founders who propose startups that solve real problems or create meaningful innovations. For us, it’s about the team and your work ethic. The best things you can do to strengthen your application are: (1) round out your team with the skills needed to build your idea; (2) make progress on your prototype or product and reference it in the application; and (3) show us deep insights about your business.
do I have to be On-site for the entire of the Three-month program?
No. It’s your company so you can come and go as you see fit, but WERCBench Labs is a major commitment and we require you to be primarily based at the Energy Innovation Center during the program. This allows you to take advantage of the numerous learning opportunities, networking and coaching that will be provided.