L-Spark: Ottawa’s New Incubator and Accelerator
WHY L-SPARK? – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OUR INNOVATIVE INCUBATOR AND ACCELERATORPosted on
You asked, and we answered! Here are answers to the most important questions about L-SPARK and what we are striving to do:
WHY L-SPARK ?
L-SPARK is a facilitator that has partnered with leading Venture Capital groups in Canada to build fundable deal flow. There are plenty of reasons why we have setup L-SPARK, the strongest reasons are:
- The Passion we have for Startups and, in particular, the Enterprise Software space
- The loss of quality talent that moves south of the border and never returns
- Venture Capital firms losing high quality deal flow that moves south of the border
- A number of strategic partners that strive to grow, but need external innovation to do so
- The need to create world class companies in Canada and a Startup ecosystem.
WHY AN INCUBATOR AND AN ACCELERATOR?
We fail if we don’t deliver fundable dealflow to both our Venture Capital groups and Strategic Partners that surround L-SPARK.
We have setup two (2) distinct programs, the incubator and the accelerator.
The incubator was created to collaborate with academic research and startups to build a high quality dealflow of enterprise focused ideas. The incubator will be a “filter” of enterprise ideas that we can validate and accelerate to be fundable companies. The incubator goal is to deliver seed fundable companies.
The accelerator was created to select a more “mature” set of companies that will be guided through a rigorous mentoring process and be a feeder for the deal flow the Venture Capital firms. The accelerator goal is to deliver series A fundable companies.
THE FOCUS AND PROCESS OF MENTORING
We focus on the B2B segment, and more specifically enterprise software, focusing on cloud computing software, virtualized applications, and, most often, those offering their products using a SaaS revenue model.
In defining this focus, we have also defined the type of mentors and advisors we are surrounding our startups with. These are serial entrepreneurs or experienced operators in global corporations operating in the enterprise software industry. We couple this with a goal-oriented approach to helping the startups, and a strong accountability that is expected from both the entrepreneurs and the mentors. Lastly, the incubator is four (4) months long, and the accelerator is nine (9) months long. We call this Focused and high-touch mentoring.
ACCELERATING GOING TO MARKET
The most challenging area for many startups is to present their ideas and products to the right audience, and be sufficiently visible to gain feedback. To accelerate this process, we are surrounding our entrepreneurs and pairing them with leading enterprised focused corporations in the market, who are committing to providing such access to their industry during the session and beyond.
Most accelerators, incubators and the ecosystem in general is not able to provide adequate funding and hence many of the startups fail because they were “10 minutes” away from raising that Round A. We created L-SPARK to properly “seed” fund many of the startups using a well defined formula presented to the Venture Capital groups. This also creates a higher probabilty of getting that Round A, as all the VCs that have participated in the accelerator program are all alligned and know the startups.
L-SPARK is the facilitator between startups and Venture Capital groups. We pave the way to hand over the startups to the VCs in a smooth fashion and ready for Series A funding.
We may not have all the answers, but we are confident that we have a promising formula for the success of our startups.
PROGRAM MILESTONES FOR THE ACCELERATOR
Six (6) startups will be selected and we have established a “gate” process to receive seed funding:
- Upon start of session: All 6 Startups Receive $90,000
- Month three (3): 3 out of 6 Startups Receive $60,000
- Month six (6): 2 out of 6 Startups Receive $60,000 each
- Month nine (9), Final Round: 2 out of 6 Startups Receive $150,000 each
*All 6 startups will pitch at DEMO DAY
PROGRAM MILESTONES FOR THE INCUBATOR
Eight (8) startups will be selected. Funding will include:
- Upon start of session: All 8 Startups Receive $40,000 each
- Upon Graduation (4 month down the road): Top 3 Startups Receive $40,000 each
L-SPARK will be accepting applications to its first Accelerator LSA-1 session from startups and entrepreneurs across Canada until October 16, 2014.
L-SPARK’s first Incubator session is set to launch later this year with a call for applications tentatively set to open in November.
For more information or to apply to L-SPARK visit: www.l-spark.com