A startup Accelerator is a program that gives developing companies and aspiring entrepreneurs access to mentorship, investors and other support to help them become investable and grow rapidly. Companies that use business accelerators are typically technology-based start-ups that have moved beyond the ideation stage and are now ready to attract customers and investors.
BRIIA provides a structured curriculum which enables founders to transform an early product into a viable business. The Program is packed with learning, experience, mentorship by top leaders, speakers, and networking. It culminates with an Investor Day where founders pitch directly to investors, partners, and the entrepreneurial community.
We accept data science/ML/AI/NLP/Deep Learning-powered software companies. In other words, we are looking for companies where the core product or service uses unique insights from a data set in the product/service that is sold to customers. We look for companies that can have national or worldwide reach and where the market is substantial. Specifically, we don't accept biotechnology companies, restaurants, consultancies, or other local service or retail oriented companies.
We will choose passionate founders who are proposing products that solve real problems or create meaningful innovations. For us, it's about the team. We're less likely to accept single founder companies because we know that it takes a strong team to work through the Accelerator Program. The best things you can do to strengthen your application are:
- Round out your team with awesome business, technical, and other necessary skills
- Have a prototype or product and reference it in the application
- Show us you've really thought about your business and that you've actually gotten off your butt to do something about it
- Demonstrate early "customer traction or provide data points to validate your core assumptions
- Have formed a "C" corporation (we strongly recommend a Delaware corporation)
- Have a clean cap table
- Submit your application early so we have plenty of time to review it and ask questions
The Program provides an awesome experience to propel your company from prototype to fundability in 12 weeks. Some studies liken programs like ours to packing 12 to 18 months of experience into 3 months! You should ask the founders that have been through the Program and check out what they have to say about their experiences here. Most will tell you that the Program exceeded their expectations!
Beyond that, here is the full list of all the things we include in the Program:
- Acceleration in a 12-week BRIIA program with intense, hands-on mentorship from BRIIA Mentors and industry experts
- Connections to the BRIIA Network of founders, investors and mentors
- Perks worth over $500,000 (including credits on Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Bizspark, IBM Cloud and Sendgrid)
- Access to the accelerators, mentors and perks of the Global Accelerator Network
- Investor Day and other investor connections
- Access to BRIIA resources for life
During the 12 weeks, we get together every Monday from 3 - 8:30pm for a workshop where we cover two to three topics. We provide dinner for the workshops. During each Monday workshop, serial entrepreneurs, industry luminaries, university professors, authors, and mentors share their early-stage company-building wisdom and often provide tools and/or a chance for you to apply that knowledge immediately to your business.
We also set aside Thursdays as a mid-sprint Review and day for Office Hours. During this time BRIIA's mentors are available to meet with you. On Thursdays and Fridays, you will meet for a 1:1 with Les to do a mid-sprint check-in.
Each week is a sprint. Sprint goals are set for the following workshop where progress is reviewed. We do a lot of pitching and company-building in a short amount of time!
We assume that some smart people helped you build your prototype and maybe are already working on turning that into a usable product. In the application process, we'll want to understand how you are using Artificial Intelligence in the creation of your product. As a result, you should largely rely on the technical skills on your team - and not BRIIA - to develop your product. The workshops and Accelerator program will focus on the company-building and category-building aspects of being an AI-powered company. That said, we do include several workshops that focus on your Data Strategy and take a contemporary look at the latest in AI. The program includes:
- 12 weeks with a peer group of companies creating AI/ML products/services
- Free Google/Amazon/IBM AI tools and hardware
- Discounted NVidia hardware
- Focused workshops on AI trends, data privacy, cybersecurity as needed
Admittance to the Accelerator Program is by application only. If admitted, there is no out-of-pocket cost to the entrepreneur and team for the 12-week program, or mentoring. You will also have full access to all of the in-kind benefits that our partners and sponsors provide to admitted companies.
Soon after the end of the three-month program, we'll organize an Investor Day where angel investors and venture capitalists will check out your technology and listen to your pitch. We'll coach you so you're as effective as possible, and do everything we can do to help you acquire follow on funding. As a value to you, we are continuously meeting with VCs and investors in and out of the Tri-Valley region. If you are well-prepared, we will do our best to connect you with the right sources of capital.
Probably not. We expect to evaluate and accept companies with prototypes as well as fully developed products. We can still help them with their business model, introductions, financing, AI, and more. It also depends on a number of factors including the product/service, the market, the program and the business strategy.
However, your company may be too early. We don't currently plan to accept founders in the Accelerator program with no more than an idea or companies that do not have a prototype.
No. The mentors are dedicated to helping the companies that we select. Please don't bombard them with emails.
We will likely receive many applications for each cohort, which is why we have an application process. Systematically emailing some or all of our mentors in order to try to influence them before being accepted into the program will hurt you more than it will help you (because they'll complain about it to us).
At the moment, we are a virtual organization so we don't have an office for you to swing by. Even if we did, this is not a good example of persistence on your part and it will negatively influence your application. We are happy to meet with you in-person or online, so please contact us instead and make an appointment.
Yes and no. The CEO of each company accepted into the Accelerator Program is expected to be attend our workshops from 3pm until 8:30pm every Monday. CEOs are required to attend ALL of the Monday workshops without substitution. Our program is designed to be highly interactive - between participants and the expert leading the workshop, as well as between founders in the program. We do not have a "participate remotely" program at this time. One or two key individuals (co-founders?) from your company are also welcome to attend the workshops, but not as a substitute for the CEO.
Each founder is also expected to meet with Les each week on Thursday. Initially these meetings are in person. Occasionally, they may be conducted remotely.
BRIIA is a major commitment, and we expect CEO/founders to be focused on the BRIIA program (and, of course, building your business) and not participating in multiple accelerators at the same time. Our only focus is on helping you build a great company and each weekly workshop and check-in often builds on the previous week. That's why it's so important to make sure you block this time. However, it's your company, you call the shots.
No. It's your company, so grow your company wherever you want to. When you are making that decision, don't forget about the value of maintaining close proximity to the local network and connections you've tapped into during the program. We also think there are tremendous advantages to establishing business in the Tri-Valley!
Yes. Anyone from anywhere can apply. If accepted, however, you have to be legally in the U.S. during the program.
No. At present, we do not have the resources to help navigate the various rules, etc. though we may be able to refer you to those who can. If required, we will be able to provide a supporting letter about your attendance in the Accelerator Program.
While we don't reject applications just because they have a single founder, it does make things exponentially more difficult for you. We look for great, balanced teams who have a full range of skills and, ideally, have worked together before. We strongly advise you to seek co-founders who balance your skillset. For example, if you're a strong developer, you might consider adding someone with business and/or marketing experience. If you're a great business evangelist with no developer, it's very unlikely we'll accept you into the program, so go find a rock star developer to join you.
We suggest attending your local tech meetups, and engage in a healthy dose of networking. You might also try online services to find a co-founder. That said, you need to build a relationship with whomever you find and that will take time. Consider waiting until our next cohort if you don't currently have a strong co-founder.
That's up to you - we don't provide a place to live. If you're accepted into BRIIA, we will do our best to help you sort out the options and familiarize you with the region.
We do our best to avoid accepting competitive companies into the same cohort. However, as the network of BRIIA companies grows, it is possible that there will be competitive companies in the broader BRIIA network of Accelerator alumni. In the event there is a company in the BRIIA portfolio that's competitive, we work tirelessly to ensure there is no exchange of sensitive data.
No. Moreover, we try to eliminate all forms of subconscious, unintentional and intentional bias from our selections. We believe that entrepreneurship is a state of mind!
We try our best to notify applicants at least 3 weeks before the program starts.
All applications close at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (or Daylight time, if in effect) on the date indicated on our application page.
Nope. Just fill out the online application - that's all we need. In fact, we don't want to see your business plan if you have one.
Check the schedule on the website for details. Once you have submitted, you can't edit the fields. That's okay! You can always add notes, video URLs, and progress details in the notes section.
It's your company, so you'll be hard at work on your product, your company and your category. You are free to work anywhere you prefer. During our workshops, we'll invite guest experts to come and talk about a topic. Following these talks, entrepreneurs in the Program will work with each other and with these experts to turn concepts into actions.
In general though, you'll be working on your product/company/category each day, just like all of the other founders in the program. We don't tell you what to do or when, but we create an environment that is conducive to helping your startup every day. And we'll make sure you have lots of experienced people around to help you.
We're certainly not in the business of stealing ideas, and we treat application data as confidential information. Each year, we will see many applications and some of them include similar ideas. For this and other practical reasons, please don't ask us to sign an NDA.
Our application does not ask for your "secret sauce" and there is no reason you have to disclose this to us if you're not comfortable doing so. We hope that our reputation speaks for itself on this topic.
Yes. We think it's best not to outsource your core product or service, but it obviously works in some cases. We're happy to consider any application. Just remember that we're primarily focused on the team.
See our alumni page.
Public transportation is very easy and is free when you are part of any BRIIA program. BRIIA is located within Bishop Ranch in San Ramon California. There is regular and direct bus service from Bishop Ranch to BART (electric rail service connecting the entire Bay Area) in Walnut Creek and Dublin. In addition, there is bus service to the ACE train in Pleasanton (connecting the San Jose area and the Central Valley). Click here to check out the details.
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