Accelerating Startup Partnership and Investment Readiness

startups prepare for investment and strategic partnerships with aspire

ASPIRE is an intensive week-long workshop that prepares startups for the investments and partnerships necessary to launch their ventures. Mentors-in-residence work alongside startups to simulate due diligence conversations and integrate feedback into materials in real time.

Read the ASPIRE guidelines here.

Startups: Must be Committed and Competitive!

  • Engaged Mentorship. You will work with stellar mentors over a series of dedicated days that have experience investing or partnering with startups like yours.
  • Network Building. Learn from your peers and share your experiences with a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs who are facing similar challenges.
  • Clear Milestones & Ask. Startups will leave with a clear articulation of their investment needs, including the investment ask and planned milestones for the round.
  • Due Diligence Deal Room. Spend time creating and refining investor materials to use during the fundraising process. Invest your time and energy into work product for a deal room, not a demo day pitch.
  • Stress Tests. We push your boundaries with real world stress tests – actual startup disaster scenarios.

Do you qualify?

For each cohort, VentureWell selects 10-15 dedicated science and engineering based startups from across the nation that are launching high-impact inventions. Please review individual program RFPs for sector-specific requirements in the right column under “next ASPIRE program”. To learn more about the ASPIRE program click here.

  • Impact inventions. Innovation has a clear impact on people or the planet, solves a real problem felt by customers, and has a compelling value proposition.
  • Experience with lean startup. Validated customer segments & initial evidence of product market fit.
  • Startup formed. Incorporated as a legal entity by the beginning of the program.
  • Team identified. Management team and key roles identified and secured.
  • Commitment. Members of the management team (maximum 3) can commit to the full 5 days of  the workshop. The startup is your full-time focus.
  • Intellectual property. Assigned to the company or a clear pathway to the license.
  • Beyond proof of concept. Initial prototype developed, pilot studies / field trials underway.
  • Actively fundraising. Company has raised at least $25K (grants or equity) and is preparing for a round of equity investment within 12 months.

Mentors: Why be a mentor for ASPIRE?

  • Engage with entrepreneurs over multiple days.
  • Network with like-minded peers and share experiences with a cohort entrepreneurs.
  • Witness early-stage deal opportunities and real-world stress tests.

Sign up to be an ASPIRE mentor. 

Partners: Bring ASPIRE to your region!

We partner with regional entrepreneurship ecosystem players to enhance the startup support in their region. 

  • Network Development: Leverage the VentureWell global network of science and technology innovators, funders, and industry partners, and our 20+ years of experience turning inventors into entrepreneurs.
  • Investment Opportunities: Enhance the quality of investable opportunities available in your community and shine the spotlight on your local startups.
  • Convene + Collaboration: Convene local players with common goals and identify areas for additional collaboration.
  • Show Off Your Ecosystem: Bring investors and mentors who spend their time on the coasts into the heart of your community where innovation is happening.

Learn more here.

Impact numbers

  • 93% of participants from 2015-2016 are still working on their ventures
  • 78% of participants in 2015-2016 reported they have made major pivots or improvements
  • Companies that participated in 2015-2017 have raised $15M+ collectively

Questions? Please contact Christina Tamer.

ASPIRE is presented through the generous support of The Lemelson Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

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