What is Growlab?
Founded in 2011, the Vancouver/San Francisco startup accelerator focuses on consumer internet, social gaming, mobile, and cloud services. By leveraging extensive networks rooted in Vancouver, BC and San Francisco GrowLab help companies grow quickly. Growlab is designed to connect entrepreneurs with funding, and mentorship from a global network of successful startup veterans and investors.
What are the perks of applying to Growlab?
All the companies will get access to a deep talent pool of mentors and investors from around the world with close access to the founders and team. This is like being part of a family, only this time the gatherings are a little nerdier. Half of the battle with starting a new company is not wasting time making the same mistakes that are easily avoided. We help you focus on building a great company. All companies will also receive office space with desks and chairs for up to six people at 128 West Hastings. It includes internet, utilities, coffee and occasionally a beer gets abandoned in the fridge which you can call dibs on.
How does the application process work?
Applications will be accepted up until the deadline. Applicants we are most interested in will be contacted by phone for an initial screening. Some applicants will be asked for further written follow up. A final group of applicants will be asked to be in Vancouver for face-to-face interviews (or via Skype). The selection committee will then shortlist 5 to 7 companies to be accepted into the next cohort approximately one month before the program starts.
How much funding do companies receive?
Up to $25,000 Canadian Dollars at the start of the program. Every team will get at least $20,000 depending on the number of founders. Up to an additional $5,000 can be awarded depending on the size and location of the founding team as well as valuation or other factors.
Do companies receive other sources of funding?
Successful 5 companies will receive up to $150,000 in the form of a convertible note from BDC. We help you understand how to negotiate and get the most from your capital raise on entrepreneur friendly terms. This will provide very low pain and risk capital to ensure that our companies have financial runway and don’t become get stuck.
What % of the company does GrowLab take?
Depending on the number of founders it can be between 5 – 9% in common shares. No liquidation preference. Your success is our success.
Who are the GrowLab founders and what kind of experience do they bring to the table?
The GrowLab founders are prominent Canadian and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors. To learn more about them, check out The Team.
How is GrowLab connected to Silicon Valley?
Our founders and mentors either live in, invest in, have sold and worked with many people in Silicon Valley. We’ve been around a long time and collectively can reach anyone that needs to be found.
Do you focus on specific types of startups?
Internet based including mobile, social gaming, e-commerce, SAAS, enabling technologies, companies with strong product discipline and the ability to engage large groups of passionate users.
Who are the mentors?
We have handpicked our mentors based on their expertise in specific fields. We want to ensure that you get the best advice throughout the program that will ultimately help you succeed and we are extremely confident that our mentors will do just that. Take a look at our Mentor page.
My startup is already established, has a product, employees and even revenue. Can you still help me?
Yes. Apply to GrowLab and we can negotiate the specific details. With our experience and connections we get you where you need to be – fast!
Do we have to send a business plan?
No, business plans are not needed to start a company. But you better have a clear idea of what you want to build. We will help you hone and improve your concept in the program. By the end of the program you will have a solid pitch deck and understanding of what we will be building together.
I am not sure if I should apply… who can I talk to to see if I am the right fit?
Feel free to hound or track down any of the founders through Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. We’ll be happy to have a closer look before you apply. Don’t be scare to just apply though, what’s the worst that could happen?
What stage should do you expect my company to be in at the end of the four months?
The program will focus heavily on Agile development processes and the concept of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). By the end of the program we expect you to have boiled your business or product down to its core components, build them, launch them and begin to integrate feedback from potential and actual customers. Revenue should be a real possibility if not reality.
Do I need to be Canadian in order to apply? Will you get us Visas if we’re not?
No, you don’t have to a Canadian in order to apply. We can help with the Visa process, which is very open in Canada and it’s much simpler than the US process. The Canadian government is very supportive of the startup community, evident from the soon-to-be-launched Startup Visa Canada program.
Should I be concerned about the protection of my intellectual property?
We will treat your information with respect and confidentiality. We are honorable people. However, for obvious reasons, we can’t sign NDAs or make any guarantees that we are not already invested in, considering investing in or otherwise working with a competitive or potentially competitive enterprise. If you are concerned that your startup’s idea is the best ever and top secret, then apply fast and convince us to participate!
I’m a sole founder and not technical! What are my chances of being accepted?
You should find some technical co-founders. The success of your people will be built on people that can sit down and build things, not just people that can talk about it.
Is there a maximum number of team members that you allow into the program?
No, but you will have a limited amount of space in the GrowLab office. Any more than six will be tight!
Do you organize any networking events during the program and who will be there?
Absolutely, every week we have special guest speakers coming in and many of groups in the community will host them as well.
Do I have to live in Vancouver throughout the entire program?
Yes. Our program is very hands-on and you will be meeting with GrowLab founders and mentors regularly.
Does GrowLab find us a place to live?
No. While we will provide you with guidance to find a place to stay, you’re mostly on your own with this one.