Ascend Energy & Mobility Accelerator 2023 Application Guidelines

About the Ascend Energy & Mobility Accelerator, powered by VentureWell, TechTown Detroit, and DOE’s EPIC Prize

VentureWell is seeking 10 pre-seed stage energy & mobility startups located in Michigan to participate in a 6-week hybrid program that prepares startups for the partnerships and investment necessary to launch their venture. Participants will attend 5 weeks of virtual workshops starting in mid-August and wrap with a final in-person session in September.


VentureWell will select 10 energy & mobility startups based in Michigan. Startups should be in the pre-seed stage and have completed some work on customer discovery and product-market fit.

Applicants should have:

Team identified & startup formed. First-time founders with management team and key roles identified. Preference for no one-person teams or for teams with at least key advisors and roles identified. Incorporated as a legal entity by the beginning of the program or intending to incorporate in the near future.

Early market validation. An innovation with a clear, positive impact that solves a real problem felt by customers, and has a compelling value proposition. Clearly articulated assessment of how your technology will have a positive impact on America’s clean energy future.

Technology and intellectual property (IP). Technology Readiness Level of 3 (proof of concept) or beyond and clear potential for IP creation.

Active fundraising. Pre-seed, has not yet raised institutional equity financing (accelerator and friends/family contributions are okay).

Startup location. Based on the program requirements, applicants should have a Michigan-based key founder or team lead.

Commitment. Management team—including the CEO or founders—should commit to the full program. The CEO must serve as the main point of contact and should attend all sessions. Meeting participation is required in all parts of this hybrid program, including the virtual portion (August 22-September 22, 2023) and the in-person portion (September 26-27, 2023, in Detroit, Michigan).

Program cost. We are able to keep fees low thanks to the generous support of the Department of Energy EPIC prize and have waived registration fees. Startups are responsible for their own transport and accommodation costs for the in-person portion of the program in Detroit.

How To Apply

Required Materials:

1) Cover Email
Clearly indicate that, if accepted, you can commit members of the startup’s executive leadership for the entirety of the program. At minimum, the individual acting as CEO should be attending. This is required in order to get the most out of program activities and to build a strong, interactive cohort.

2) Brief Executive Summary
You may use this template ( Address all areas in the template, but edit the formatting to suit your brand. Elaborate in the Technical Summary as needed. (Maximum 2 pages.)

3) One-Page Technical Summary, Including:
The startup’s product or service, and how it works; stage of development and testing, and next steps for achieving subsequent technical milestones; current IP status and next steps; and diagrams or photos with a summary of any high-level data that demonstrates that the technology works.

4) Your Current Investor Pitch Deck


Click “Apply Now” in the sidebar, and submit your materials via our application portal.

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