How do I apply? Do I need to submit a business plan?
Simply fill out our online application. No business plan required!
What is the Application deadline?
See our Schedules page.
What criteria will you use to decide which companies to invite?
As we review applications we are going to focus on the following questions:
- How BIG is the idea?
- How big is the market opportunity?
- Can you complete a prototype, beta or market-ready product within 3 months?
- Is the team comprised of bright, capable, enthusiastic people with whom we can work?
How is DreamIt different from Angel Investors and VC firms?
Most other funding sources have been moving upstream, looking for companies that have at least a beta/prototype, a business plan, and some structured idea where they are going. We are looking to become involved earlier then that. We are looking for great ideas and great people and will help develop great companies around them.
Does it have to be a web, software or IT idea?
No. We are interested in any idea that can be developed into a product in three months. While we anticipate that most of these ideas will be web, software and/or IT, we hope also to receive applications in physical sciences, medical devices and anything else where a product can be developed in three months.
How much will DreamIt invest in each company? What percentage of equity will DreamIt receive in return?
We will offer each selected company/team a stipend of between $10,000 and $25,000 ($5,000 plus $5,000 for each founding team member (up to four) who will be onsite for the program). In addition, each company will receive valuable service and counsel from top service providers, and priceless guidance from Mentors, advisors and other participants at no charge to the team/company. In return, we will receive a 6% passive equity stake in your company.
Can a person apply by himself/herself?
Yes, although we are more likely to accept company proposals from small teams as there is a lot to get done when starting a company. If we really like your idea and you apply by yourself, we may recommend other people to you who can join your team. However, your chances are best if you apply with a great idea AND a great team.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a company or an idea, but have exceptional technical, design, or business skills, you can apply for our Hacker or Strategist tracks. Many of our companies are looking for people to round out their teams. Students interested in internships should also use this application. See Applying as an Individual.
Can I submit more than one application?
Yes, if you have more than one idea. Please do not submit more than one application for the same idea.
What services will DreamIt provide?
Business talent, legal and accounting services and counsel Service Providers, Mentoring, office space, guidance from leading visionaries, seasoned entrepreneurs and investors, introduction to great business people and contacts to help you get to the next level. With the exception of direct, out-of-pocket expenses (such as software licenses and corporate filing fees), these services are provided at no cost to you. See here for more information about the program.
Where do I live and work during DreamIt?
We require that all funded team members live in the area (Austin, New York, or Philadelphia) during the duration of the program. You choose where to live, although we will help you find some good options. You choose where to work — be it a coffee shop, a museum, the ballpark, or the office space and common space that we will have available for you. However, we do ask that you come into the office for our Speaker Series, Managing Partner meetings and other team events.
What if I need more money to launch my company?
A key component of DreamIt is Demo Day. On Demo Day, you present your product and company to VCs, angel investors, private investors and other public and private funding sources. During DreamIt, you will work with a Mentor who can help you create and refine your pitch.
Will I get additional funding at Demo Day?
If you need it, we sure hope so but that will depend on how good your idea is, how much progress you have made, how impressive you are, and whether there is a fit with a particular investor or group. We will help you get ready (to the extent you want our help). We give you a stipend, help you create the right legal and accounting structures, provide you ongoing guidance and help you create and refine your presentation. Demo Day will be attended by a large variety of early stage investors and other funding sources. The rest is up to you.
In addition to Mentors and advisors I see you are accepting applications from Strategists and Hackers. Will I work with one of them?
We are accepting applications from top Strategists and top Hackers ( Applying as an Individual ) to help you build out either the business or technical sides of your team. If you need resources for your company, we can introduce you to people who we think might be a fit. Ultimately, it’s your company and you will decide if you want to add one of these people to your team.
What is expected of me?
We want you to stay focused and work hard to build your prototype or market-ready product. We also hope that you will be open to our ideas and suggestions. Other then that, we want you to enjoy starting your company!
Why are you doing this?
The founders of DreamIt have all started, built and successfully exited companies. We also are experienced early stage investors. We have seen capital moving upstream to more mature companies, while the cost of development is decreasing. This has created a gap in funding, resources, and guidance for great people with great ideas who would like to start a company. And if you create the next Google, our small, passive, non-voting stake in your company will be worth a lot of money and you will be worth much, much, much more. That would feel good all around.
Does it matter how old I am?
No (except that if you are under 18 you will need parental permission to participate). We care about your idea and your ability, but not your age. While we expect that most of our applicants will be between 18-30, great ideas happen at every age. Mozart started composing music when he was 4 years old. Shirley Temple was the top-grossing box-office star for four years before she turned 10. Joe Nuxhall pitched in the major leagues when he was 15, and Tara Lapinski won the Olympic Gold Medal at 15. Einstein published E = mc2 when he was 26. Jonas Salk develooped the polio vaccine in his late 30s. Picasso was 56 when he painted Guernica, and 86 when the Chicago Picasso was unveiled.
Does it matter where I am from?
We do not care where you are from as long as you legally can live in the city of your program during the three-month program tenure.
Will you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement?
No. We simply see too many ideas and too many companies to sign an NDA. While the more explicit you are about your idea the better we will be able to evaluate it, send us only as much information as you are comfortable disclosing. If you are selected for DreamIt, top lawyers will counsel you about how best to protect your intellectual property (among other things).