FAQ

What is an accelerator?

Startup accelerators support growth-driven companies through education, mentorship, and financing. An accelerator program is a fixed-term, cohort-based program. The experience is aimed at accelerating the life cycle of young innovative companies, compressing years’ worth of “learning-by-doing” into just a few months time.

Does Valley Ventures take equity?

No, we do not take equity in accelerator ventures.

If it’s free to participate in the Valley Ventures accelerator, where is the catch?

Valley Ventures is funded by an i6 innovation grant from the EDA (Economic Development Administration) and a grant from the California Energy Commission. As a result, we are able to offer the accelerator program at no cost to participating ventures. Also, there is no application fee, or any other hidden fees. Valley Ventures will provide some meals and refreshments during workshops; however, participating ventures are to cover costs for most dinners and lodging.

What is the time commitment?

The founder(s) or team will have to be present for the in-person workshops and events over the three month time period. In addition, assignments are worked on between workshops.

I have heard about the WET Center and BlueTechValley, but do not know what they are and how they are associated with Valley Ventures.

WET Center: The WET Center is an incubator for startups focused on the water, agricultural, and energy markets. Valley Ventures is an affiliate of the WET Center which provides various resources for the program, including company contacts and office space.

BlueTechValley: With an extensive network of partners, BlueTechValley (BTV) provides a variety of resources throughout the state of California. Services include consultation on technology viability, commercialization, securing grants, business model mapping, and third-party testing. Valley Ventures is the accelerator component of BlueTechValley.

Will you sign an NDA? How do I know you won’t steal my idea?

No, we won’t sign an NDA. The informal commitment to secrecy here at Valley Ventures should be sufficient. While we encourage our founders to share the value their technology brings, we would suggest keeping key intellectual components undisclosed.

I’m a founder with two ventures. Can I submit two applications?

Sure. Just submit two different applications. Only one will be selected for the cohort, though.

Why didn’t you accept our application?

There could be a variety of factors involving our decision not to accept an application. We normally provide feedback to an applicant on why their venture was not selected. If not, feel free to follow up with our team.

Our team has already been working on our venture for a while. Is Valley Ventures appropriate for us?

We work with a large array of ventures experiencing different stages of growth. Some ventures are pre-revenue with a prototype ready to commercialize, while other ventures already have around USD$1M in annual revenue. Ultimately, we encourage all ventures to apply, and then we can have an honest conversation about their involvement in the program.

Our venture has already taken some funding. Can we still apply?

Sure. Whether you are looking for further investment or shifting focus to generating revenue, we would encourage your venture to apply.

Our venture doesn’t really need any investment. Does it still make sense to apply?

More than half of the startups we accept don’t need investment. Our focus as an accelerator is primarily on the growth of our ventures through driving revenue, which in turn can increase investment viability.

What if our venture needs a sizable investment?

We consider all companies, regardless of the size of their needed investment.

Do you only accept startups that operate in the water, agricultural, and energy space?

Yes. Valley Ventures may open up to more industries later, but for now, we are following this guideline fairly strictly.

Can a single person apply or does it have to be a team?

Valley Ventures will accept single founders, but our advice remains that one-person startups are tough, and you’re more likely to succeed with a co-founder or team.

I have a great idea for a startup, but I’m not technical. Will you still accept me?

Valley Ventures will consider accepting your venture, but your chances are much better if you find yourself a technical cofounder. Also, we typically only accept ventures as early as having a product that has gone through testing and is very close to commercialization. If you are currently at the research stage and could use additional resources, we would suggest contacting BlueTechValley@csufresno.edu or  BlueTechValley.

Can our venture join Valley Ventures without moving to Fresno, CA?

Yes, the only dates a team needs to be physically present is during workshop dates and required events. You can find those dates for the next cohort on our website underneath schedule. There are plenty of events and opportunities that will be presented in addition to required dates, but those optional events will be clearly labeled as optional.

Do our team members have to be US citizens?

No, as long as you can get here for the required dates, you should qualify.

If our venture doesn’t want to be in the program, will you give us advice?

We can sometimes provide some general advice, but our resources and time will be directed towards companies that are accepted into the program. We would suggest contacting BlueTechValley@csufresno.edu or BlueTechValley for general inquiries.

I’m visiting the Central Valley. Can I come check out Valley Ventures?

Valley Ventures operates out of several locations, including our partner incubator, the WET Center, on the Fresno State campus. While we don’t have one specific location, we can coordinate a tour of our facilities and explain more about our program and services.

I’m starting a venture. Can I meet with Valley Ventures?

Sometimes we can setup a meeting; but generally, we would suggest starting with BlueTechValley for earlier stage ventures.

Will someone from Valley Ventures review my startup idea?

If we have the time, we usually provide feedback to the ventures that apply. If Valley Ventures is not able to review your venture and provide feedback, BlueTechValley can assist with this process.

Can you recommend other investors who might be interested in our venture if we are not in Valley Ventures?

No. When we refer someone to an investor, we’re also recommending them. We can’t recommend ventures we haven’t gotten to know through our program.

I’d like Valley Ventures to publicize my product/service among the portfolio companies.

Valley Ventures will only publicize companies that have entered and gone through the accelerator program. While Valley Ventures only represents accepted ventures, our incubator affiliate, the WET Center, offers memberships for companies looking to publicize their product/services through the WET Center community.

Will you still accept late applications?

Late applications are those submitted after the application deadlines. If you submit an application after the deadline, your application is automatically tagged as “late”, but will receive consideration if space permits or for the next cohort.