Q.WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ETS ACCELERATE PROGRAM COHORT 1 AND THE TRADITIONAL LEARNLAUNCH BOOST PROGRAM?
A. ETS Accelerate is a new accelerator program launched by ETS in collaboration with LearnLaunch. The ETS Accelerate Cohort 1 is a new theme based program. Companies who have solutions which tackle problems in these theme based areas are encouraged to apply. While many aspects of the Boost program will be included in ETS Accelerate Cohort 1, such as access to the LearnLaunch world class program, mentors, milestone funding, investors and alumni network, a few key differences are:
- Themes – focus will be around companies focusing on solving problems in the education to work arena (Skills for a New Economy) as well as ones focused on English Language Learning.
- Select In kind services provided by ETS will be afforded to companies who participate in Cohort 1. These include capabilities, assessments, grant seeking services, mentors, and more.
- A dedicated ETS team assigned to the cohort to explore potential business development opportunities.
LearnLaunch Accelerator is bringing the best-in-class accelerator techniques and supports to this program. Companies that participate will be a part of the extended LearnLaunch family and will, also, receive some additional focused supports.
Q. WHO IS ETS?
A. ETS is a not-for-profit research and assessment organization. Our mission is to advance quality and equity in education by providing fair and valid assessments, research and related services. Our products and services measure knowledge and skills, promote learning and performance, and support education and professional development for all people worldwide.
Q. DO I HAVE TO ATTEND THE PROGRAM IN PERSON?
A. Yes, all of our programs are residential. We require at least one co-founder to attend the “entirety” of the program. Usually the CEO attends and either brings or includes other senior management/co-founders in specific calls or meetings.
If you’re unable or anticipate being unable to make any specific portion of the program, don’t worry, just let us know. We understand that it may not be possible to be residential for the entire program. The expectation is that you’ll be able to make most of the programming, most of the week. Don’t self-select out before talking with us about your restrictions.
Q. HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE NEXT PROGRAM?
Q. WILL YOU HELP ME RAISE MORE FUNDS?
A. Our goal is to make companies fundraising ready within a few months of leaving the program. Founders need to understand which investors will be a fit and how to approach them. We do not find fundraising for early stage edtech companies to be easy. However, we will be helping each company find the most persuasive way to communicate to both financial and impact investors.
Q. IS THERE ACCESS TO ADDITIONAL FUNDING BEYOND INITIAL AND FOLLOW ON FUNDING?
A. ETS Accelerate does not commit to invest in companies outside of the two tranches of program funding. Companies in the portfolio have access to the initial capital and follow on funding. Beyond our funding, we help identify and connect with the right later stage investors. ETS may, at its sole discretion, choose to make additional direct investments in companies. ETS will also support searching for grant opportunities for companies in Cohort 1.
LearnLaunch does not invest capital in any companies who do not go through on of LearnLaunch Accelerator standard programs which are open-to-all edtech companies. The LearnLaunch Accelerator next Boost Program will be open for applications in October and program will be in the spring.
Q. DOES MY COMPANY FALL INTO THE EDTECH CATEGORY?
A. We accept a variety of companies in the education technology space focused on early education, K-12, higher education, and workforce edtech.
For the ETS Accelerate Program, we’re accepting all types of Edtech companies that fit within the Skills for a New Economy and English Language Learning themes.
Q. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ETS ACCELERATE PROGRAM, LEARNLAUNCH ACCELERATOR & LEARNLAUNCH INSTITUTE?
A. ETS Accelerate Programs and the LearnLaunch Accelerator are managed in the same way by the same people. Both are accelerator programs for edtech companies that are selected through a rigorous application process. ETS Accelerate Program is focused on specific themes with the first being skills for a new economy and English language learning. LearnLaunch Accelerator does not focus on themes but instead accepts all kinds of edtech companies. LearnLaunch Institute is a non-profit, which focuses on connecting and supporting Boston’s edtech community. It offers classes, peer group learning, conferences, networking opportunities and other educational services to all individuals and organizations seeking to work with educators, students and families to enable the growth and success of the edtech and learning ecosystem. LearnLaunch Institute is at www.learnlaunch.org
Q. WHEN ARE YOU RUNNING YOUR NEXT PROGRAM?
A. We’re currently accepting applications for ETS Accelate Cohort 1 now. Companies selected need to address one of the special themes by focusing on English Language Learning or Skills for a New Economy. This program will run Fall 2019, from September 17 – December 13. You can learn more here.
The program after ETS Accelerate Cohort 1 will be open-to-all edtech companies, LearnLaunch Accelerator Boost Program with applications open in October and program in the spring.
Q. I AM INTERESTED IN THE PROGRAM BUT HAVE RAISED SUBSTANTIAL FUNDING AND HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TERMS. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
A. Our typical program terms are $20K for 6% Common Stock when you enter the program with the opportunity to receive up to $50k in follow on funding (typically a convertible note).
However, if you’re interested in the program and but have raised a priced round already, we will consider updating the terms to those of your current term sheet or similar. You should contact us directly so we can discuss options and determine if you’re eligible for a term change. You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. WHAT ARE THE PROGRAM TERMS?
A. We have a unique funding method that focuses our fund’s capital on success-based milestones. When companies enter the ETS Accelerate Program, they receive $20k for 6%, common stock.
During the program, we set scaling milestones (you can find more about milestones in a subsequent question) and six months after setting milestones, we re-evaluate progress against those milestones and will invest up to another $50k (typically in a Convertible note or SAFE). The total possible investment for companies in the ETS Accelerate Program is $70k.
There are lots of other benefits from the ETS Accelerate Program which are unique to Cohort 1.
Q. WHAT ARE MILESTONES AND HOW DO YOU SET THEM AND EVALUATE THEM?
A. Milestones are company-specific goals that we set to help guide and focus each company during and following the program. We use the weeks leading up to the program and the first month or so of the program as a way of deep diving on your business to better understand where you’re at, what you need, and what’s realistic in terms of growth for the next 6 months.
We work with companies to have them set 5-7 stretch milestones including Revenue, Fundraising, Hiring, Impact, Product and more. We then spend the subsequent 6 months after signing milestones surrounding your company with the mentors, partners, services, to help you hit each goal.
At the 6 month mark, we sit down and review the work you’ve done.
We then make an additional investment decision, with the expectation that if you hit 100% of your milestones you receive 100% of the $50k potential investment.
Q. HOW LARGE DOES MY TEAM HAVE TO BE TO APPLY?
A. There are no constraints on team size, but generally companies that apply have 2-15 team members.
Q. IF WE HAVE ALREADY TAKEN SOME FUNDING, CAN WE STILL APPLY?
A. Yes, companies that already have some funding may apply. If accepted, the equity terms may need to be adjusted. We have had very large start-up firms apply if they are entering a new market or field. One company had $millions in revenue in their home country but were very early in the US.
Q. ARE THERE DEMO DAYS?
A. Yes. Typically Demo Days take place at the LearnLaunch Institute’s Annual Across Boundaries Conference in January or February of each year. We also offer a variety of other pitch/showcase opportunities throughout the year. For the ETS Accelerate Cohort 1 class, there will be a special day during the November onsite for which companies can pitch to innovation leaders of ETS.
Q. WHERE DOES THE PROGRAM TAKE PLACE?
A. Our next program will take place residentially in both Boston and New Jersey. It is required for participants to attend all parts of the program (if you have a week or two that conflict, let us know and we can work around those weeks). Team members unable to attend in person can attend classes remotely.
Q. CAN YOU PROVIDE MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE ACCELERATOR PROGRAM?
A. Currently we’re accepting applications for Cohort 1 of the ETS Accelerate Program.
After that LearnLaunch Accelerator will open for a Boost Program.
Q. DO YOU COVER THE COST OF LIVING IN BOSTON and PRINCETON?
A. Typically, companies cover all transportation and living costs in Boston. We have people and resources available to point you in the right direction of appropriate, short-term housing in Boston but it is ultimately handled by you. Housing in Princeton will be covered and we will be supporting some lower cost transportation to get there.
For those that choose to fly in and out some weeks for the program, we recommend AirBnB. For those who plan to stay for the duration (which is encouraged), we suggest finding a monthly housing option.
*NOTE: housing in Boston is VERY difficult. We recommend searching for and securing housing as soon as you know you’re attending the program.
For the ETS Accelerate Program, you will need to find housing in Boston for the final two weeks of September and the full month of October. Your housing costs will be covered by ETS for the onsite November portion of the program based in New Jersey.
The month of December, you can select your location and/or work remotely.
Q. DO YOU WORK WITH INTERNATIONAL COMPANIES? IF SO DO YOU HELP WITH VISAS AND RELOCATION?
A. We definitely accept international companies (5 of our 9 companies from the LearnLaunch Boost program were international!). For companies interested in the program, it’s important to know that it is residential and the onus is on you to take care of any necessary visa requirements.
We do have suggested service providers, program alums, or mentors to speak with if you need help. Fundraising in the US usually requires a US corporation. Additional corporate form requirements are available on request.
Q. OUR COMPANY IS A NON-PROFIT. CAN WE APPLY?
A. Yes, all companies in the edtech industry are welcome to apply.
Q. CAN I APPLY IF I DON’T HAVE A PROTOTYPE?
A. It is not a requirement to have a prototype or beta, but your application will be stronger if you do. It is rare for us to accept a company that is just an idea.