How is the accelerator structured within Harmony Labs?
The accelerator operates from within a limited liability company (LLC) owned and operated solely by the Harmony Labs 501(c)3. This structure is increasingly common in social development work, because it isolates risk and liability, while ensuring that the LLC’s activities serve at all times the same charitable purposes and mission.
Am I right for your accelerator program?
We’re looking for media tech startups that are generating datasets, methods, tools or predictive models that help us realize our mission: namely, to understand media influence at scale, and to experiment with using media to support an open, resilient democratic society. We have a slightly different focus for each of our open calls, based on input from our community.
Generally, we don’t consider startups that don’t have at least one technical entrepreneur or someone working on the startup full-time. We don’t like startups that are still in the idea stage, without having done any product prototyping or user validation. And all the startups we support need to be excited about participating in an accelerator cohort and the Harmony Labs community.
What do you mean by “early-stage”?
Startups that have knowledge and experience in their domain, a working prototype or a launched product or service. Basically, you’re past the idea stage and ready to hit the ground running, either launching your MVP or fine-tuning your product-market fit. Because we keep cohorts small, we’re able to customize our program to accommodate a range of startup stages.
How big is each cohort?
Not more than five startups, generally with no more than three people from each startup participating.
What do you expect in return for investment?
A small amount of equity and a license on the datasets, methods, tools or predictive models generated by startups. This license will be used for noncommercial research and experimentation within the Harmony Labs network, and never in any way that negatively impacts the competitiveness of the companies we support. As equity investors, we're committed to these companies' long-term sustainability and success.
What should startups expect to leave with?
Because our program is fully customized to participating startups, outcomes vary widely. In general, though, startups can at least expect to leave with: 24-month revenue model and investor-ready financials; in-depth customer research and testing; investor ready pitch deck and demo; 12-month customer acquisition strategy; KPI measurement and tracking; and data evaluation and data management infrastructure. In addition, founders will have gained relationships with potential charter clients from the Harmony Labs community, as well as potential partners and investors.
Can non-profits participate in your accelerator?
Non-profits and mission-driven projects could also be a good fit for our accelerator, insofar as they’re adopting a product-oriented approach to fulfilling their missions.
Do startups need to be local?
Full-time residence in NYC is preferred throughout the accelerator program, but virtual participation is not out of the question for the right startup. We do require teams to participate in-person for certain portions of the program, for instance, two longer two-week stints and two three-day retreats.
Can companies and investors participate in the accelerator?
Absolutely. Just contact us to start a conversation.