RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Startups, including those that are still pre-revenue, have a new opportunity for funding, mentoring and support from a recently launched accelerator that is seeking applications from firms in the Triangle.
Pax Momentum recently decided to expand its reach across Mid-Atlantic states to include RTP area companies.
Two cohorts of 10 companies each are set to be chosen a year. Those firms selected will participate in an eight-week program that is primarily conducted virtually. Three in-person “summits” are acquired, according to Pax.
Three spots are set aside for cleantech ventures.
Deadline to apply for the first cohort is June 1.
The founder is Matt Hanson, who has achieved a $110 million exit through the sale of Segovia, a satellite venture he co-founded and sold. He’s also been a board member on several startups, including NS8 and Urgent.ly. He’s invested in other companies as an angel backer, and 10 of this firms had made what Pax calls “successful investments.” Hanson also is Principal at Blu Venture Investors. His son, Jack, is one of the Pax cofounders.
“I’ve enjoyed the excitement and satisfaction of helping young companies expand, innovate, create jobs, and generate wealth,” Hanson says.
Hanson says he plans to “soon announce several additional successful founders and investors to work with the inaugural cohort. These are individuals with remarkable success in launching companies and/or investing in lucrative startups. The headliners and I will work hands-on with each company in our program to share our experiences and challenge the most vital aspects of the young companies.”
The startup program includes training, mentoring and validation.
Q&A with cofounder
Spencer Bankhead, a cofoudner of Pax, recently spoke with WRAL TechWire about the program, selection criteria, and much more.
- Why are you entering NC?
North Carolina has a burgeoning startup scene and a really collaborative spirit that complements Pax’s culture. Our conversations with major players in NC, like Cofounders Capital, the CED, Bull City Ventures, and NC IDEA confirmed our belief that startups in NC needed more access to capital and mentorship resources earlier. Pax fills this need by complementing a 50k investment with an intensive, 8-week program.
- Where are you be based?
We are “based” out of Washington, D.C., but are very location flexible and only require participants to be present for the summit days (only one or two of which will be in D.C.)
At these summits, participants will hear from seasoned founders and work in small groups. The groups will consist of the headliners, their peers and experienced investors.
Key building blocks, like value proposition, go to market plans, and product market/fit will be stress tested. For serious entrepreneurs, the process will be exhausting and painful.
The optional virtual weekly classes will cover a variety of topics entrepreneurs need to know. Some members of the cohort will already understand how to read a balance sheet or what goes into an employee equity plan, for example.
Successful founders and investors know that revenue is the metric that matters, so we emphasize and over emphasize practical skills for landing and retaining customers.
- What are the selection criteria?
More than anything, we want great people. Strong credentials might include previous startup experience (as one of the first 20 employees, for example); work experience demonstrating deep market understanding; advanced degrees; and a history of thoughtfully and persistently working through tough problems.
As a minimum, each company should have at least two co-founders dedicated full time to the project. We love B2B, especially Cyber, FinTech, AI, CleanTech, e-commerce, and Telecom. Still, Pax Momentum is an accelerator for all industries!
- How are you financed?
Financing will come from Matt and a small group of carefully selected Angels. The investors will be expected to provide not only capital, but also a reasonable amount of hand-on involvement. Our cohort will benefit as investors share their experiences, and challenge the most vital aspects of the young companies.