Apply to Make in LA
Fall 2019 Cohort (#6)
Make in LA is accepting applications from startups for the Fall 2019 funding cycle (cohort #6). It will take place in Los Angeles from mid August through mid December 2019.
On March 5th at 12pm PT, we’ll host a live chat so you can meet our team and we can answer your questions. Join at https://zoom.us/j/367184777
If you want to apply, please submit your application online by 9pm PT on May 15. Startups that submit early have a small advantage because we have more time to read their applications. We will not take applications beyond the deadline – so please submit on time!
Cohort 6 Timeline:
Feb 14, 2019 – Application Go Live
March 5th, 12pm PT – Live chat info session (link: https://zoom.us/j/367184777)
May 15, 11:59pm – Application Close
July 8-12 – Pre-accelerator in Los Angeles (Required; Travel Will Be Reimbursed)
July 16 – Cohort 6 Offers Go Out
July 19 – Cohort 6 Acceptances Due
August 19 – Cohort 6 Kick Off
December 14, 2019 – Cohort 6 Ends
Frequently Asked Questions by Applicants:
What kinds of companies are we looking for?
We’ll look at any industry but we are particularly excited by sectors like food tech/ag tech, healthcare and biotech, mobility and aerospace, industry 4.0 and advanced manufacturing, infrastructure innovation across Latin America, and cleantech and materials. If you’re building a company in one of these, we’ll smile extra big as we review your application.
Does Make in LA accept international applicants?
Yes, excellent entrepreneurs are found globally. International founders, please note: if your company is already incorporated as a non-United States company, to participate in our program you will need to convert your foreign company into a United States corporation (usually with a foreign subsidiary). While lawyers will drive this process, it will require a significant effort on your part.
When will I know if I am accepted into the program?
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and will contact you to schedule a personal interview with your team (in person or via Zoom). By June 30th, we will invite the top 10 startups to Los Angeles to participate in a one week pre-accelerator intensive July 8 to July 12, 2019. We will reimburse reasonable travel and lodging expenses so you can make the time investment in ensuring this is the right program for you and we can do the same.
Do I need to relocate to Los Angeles?
If we invest in your startup, your company’s founding team is expected to move to Los Angeles from August-December 2019. You can of course relocate the company afterward if you want, but LA is a good place for a startup to be. While you’re in LA, you will have access to our 35k sq ft innovation lab. We have a makerspace onsite as well as members who can support you with prototyping. We also have meeting rooms you can reserve to meet with mentors or guests. Other perks include 24/7 access, free wifi, free coffee, cold brew, and kombucha and free ample parking.
Does Make in LA provide housing and pay for travel?
We do pay for housing and travel for the pre-accelerator program in July. For the full program from August to December, we do not provide housing nor do we cover travel from your home to Los Angeles. Some of our portfolio companies have used their initial investment to pay for housing/travel and you should speak with your accountant if you are considering doing this. Since we are selective and short term we do not yet have the clout to offer special discounts in the region. Luckily, the region around Make in LA is cheaper than Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach.
How much do you invest?
We offer a two-tiered investment. Startups begin the program with an initial investment of $100k and may qualify in the program for an additional $500k.
What is the 4-month program like?
During our program, we will bombard you with resources. Each week, we’ll host lunch with VC so you can develop a catalog of investment lenses. We’ll also host weekly dinner with a hardware CEO sessions so you can compare notes and hear from folks who are just a bit ahead of you. We have weekly 1:1 office hours where you can meet with our partners and brainstorm or ask for help. This is your time. Make it count!
Do you have a Demo Day?
We do not host demo days. Instead, we work with you to develop your fundraising strategy and then help you execute it by leveraging our network. We find it to be more efficient and effective.
What support to you offer after the program?
Your relationship with MiLA will outlive the program. Once the 4 months are over, we will continue to support you in any way you need.
I do not have a co-founder. Will that prevent me from getting into Make in LA?
Solo founders at accelerators need to be uber coachable and mentally ambidextrous. It is far too easy to dismiss a view point when you are solo, and having someone you trust in the room able to bounce ideas off will help accelerate your growth. Additionally, having a technical co-founder (electrical engineer, hardware hacker, python coder, etc) on-site will allow you to move even quicker as you are testing your prototypes in market. If you are solo, try to go to places where you can find a strong co-founder, but do not settle just to apply to a program. Co-founder splits happen often and will kill your business, plus waste our time and capital. Be patient, but be proactive.
What exactly do you mean by Hardware?
We look for technologies that have some level of advancement. We are not fashion experts and we look for technology over style. For example, if you came to us with a motorcycle helmet with a plaid pattern and trucker hat brim, we would avert our gaze. However, if you tell us that the plaid pattern was because of some magical textile that can reduce weight, improve breathability, and save lives, we will dig a little deeper. Also, you should own the idea and hold the IP. If you only have a license to use this plaid magical textile in the US, or in only the helmet market, we are most likely not a fit.
Does Make in LA put a valuation on my business?
No we do not. Bringing on an accelerator works much like bringing on an employee. Though we make an investment, the investment we make and equity we receive does not impact valuation.
We have done a business model canvas and have product/market fit. Are we too far along for your program?
Probably not. Many early stage startups think they have product/market fit. Very few do. Too often, we see an early stage company chase the wrong idea for too long. In the first month of the program, our experts and partners will “stress test” your product/market fit, after which there is a high likelihood that you will be a little bit closer to fit. No matter how hard we work in the first few months, we realize that true product/market fit will be determined by your customers once you have brought your product to market. Also, we have seen that course correcting early and often requires a leader who is confident yet not stubborn.
We did a crowdfunding campaign and/or are in revenue. Are we too far along for your program?
We can see many cases where we are the right choice for companies in that position and we can add value. If you need to scale or launch new products, there is certainly value in applying. We are happy to discuss your unique case via email or at a Retooling Friday.
Does Make in LA help with fundraising?
We are long term investors in your business and it is in our best interest to make sure you succeed. While we can support the fundraising effort, we take a collaborative approach in finding the entrepreneur/investor fit.
I already have a contract manufacturer on board. Does the NEO Tech relationship force me into a new CM?
NEO Tech is rarely the right fit for companies coming through Make in LA. We anticipate 2% of companies in the program becoming customers of NEO Tech within the first 18 months after acceptance into the program. NEO Tech works more often with mature businesses and is extremely selective about working with startups.
Make in LA works with founders who are eager to build a business that will change the world. If you have a prototype and want to bring it to life, join us in Los Angeles this summer.
You and your team came up with a brilliant idea. Innovative. You took your napkin drawing and turned it into an invention. You know this product will have fans, perhaps people will even use the term “Love” in association with your invention, and you just need to find the road to get it into people’s hands. The road ahead is full of obstacles that you wish to avoid. You may not have the money or connections. You may not know how to evaluate a manufacturing partner. However, you are passionate that this product needs to exist and you will stop at nothing to see it come to life.
We fast track the time to market in a number of ways. For early stage hardware companies who make the cut, you can expect a deposit of up to $75,000 in your bank account on day one. By the end of the four month program, you should be ready to do a more robust fundraising round. We also intend to place follow-on investments in businesses that have graduated and thrived.
After the application period closes, we need a few weeks to evaluate your application. We look to see if you and your team have the passion and grit to bring this idea through to market and beyond. Are you willing to learn? Are you willing to focus on this business in our space for 4 months? Is your product scalable, fundable, innovative, and improvable? Do people say wow when they hear your idea?