Programs

Startup Accelerator (currently accepting applications for 2019!)

An 8-week program beginning February 2019.

Our annual Accelerator program is a fast track for full-time founders in Philadelphia. In addition to providing founders with the knowledge and tools they need to grow their businesses, we pair each Accelerator company with an experienced mentor to help guide the way during the program and beyond.

The program concludes with PSL Pitches, a celebratory event that gives each startup the opportunity to tell their story, pitch their business, and share what’s next for building their company in Philly. While PSL Pitches is the culmination event to our annual Accelerator, it is only the beginning for these passionate founders and their promising startups.


How do I apply?

First, take some time to read and digest the information below to gain a better understanding of how the program operates. FAQs are listed below!

Next, submit your application for a chance to be considered. Please note there is a $20 application fee to apply.

Finally, hang tight! Applications will be open until October 5th 2018. We will be in touch with next steps then!



Testimonials

2018

The network of mentors and other entrepreneurs that I have built as a result of the accelerator has given me more clarity and confidence on how to best approach all the challenges that lie ahead for our team. My gratitude for PSL’s contribution to my company’s future success is immeasurable. – Luis Gamardo, Co-Founder of Besto

I thought the ability to get to know other startups in the program intimately was invaluable. Being new in the Philly tech scene, forming connections with other entrepreneurs and co-founders is really special (and helpful!) and I thought the diversity and energy of the other startups was really electric.  – Carolyn Horner, Co-Founder of Jenzy

The opportunity to pitch was amazing (and terrifying in a good way), as was the list of speakers. I learned so much with every speaker, especially because each were willing to chat via email/phone/coffee afterwards to answer more in depth questions. – Eve Ackerley, Co-Founder of Jenzy

The accelerator was invaluable for our team, being new to Philly’s startup scene. The programming helped us work through early-stage discovery and plugged us into people and resources that advanced our business faster in a few weeks than we could have done on our own. Most impactful, though, is the continued energy, support, and championing that we’ve continued to receive from industry and community leaders long after the accelerator’s conclusion. – Erin Houston, Co-Founder of Wearwell

Our mentor was just the absolute best. He really helped us to work through issues and how to frame our business. – Greg Donworth, Co-Founder of WeGardn

Many thanks to Jaclyn and PSL for a great program. We were particularly helped by the focus on making our presentation more of a story, and how best to tell it. I feel this really came through on the Pitches event. – Phil Heifetz, CEO & Founder of Saturn Care

There are two main factors that stand out when I think about the benefits of the PSL accelerator. The first being the amazing connections we were able to make to leaders in the Philly tech scene and the second is the support system of the other founders who were facing similar obstacles as us. These two things have been a huge benefit for us in the months following the program. – Austin Cinalli, Co-Founder and COO of NativX

I received a ton of value from the PSL accelerator in the forms of getting a great mentor, receiving critical feedback on my investment pitch, and building a deeper network with founders in the same startup phase. – Bruce Marable, Employee Cycle


2017

The Accelerator was an awesome group of founders and mentors working together. In collaboration with the PSL team, we identified a sales strategy that increased our MRR by 500%. We still use this strategy today. –Jeremy Peskin, CEO of Borderwise

The previous Fishbox pricing model wasn’t working. Because my mentor had experience with the same issue at his current company, he recommended a change that simplified things. That update led to a 20% increase in MRR. –Napoleon Suarez, CEO of Fishbox

The PSL Accelerator made me accountable, on a weekly basis, to work towards a goal that was designed to improve and grow my business. PSL is an amazing and supportive community to be a part of. – Debbie Schwartz, CEO of College Money Search

We launched our product half way through the Accelerator. We got the opportunity to speak with investors and receive strategic insights, and more importantly we made connections with the rest of the Accelerator companies! – Danish Dhamani, CEO of Orai

The PSL Accelerator was and will continue to be one of the greatest catalysts of our organization’s growth. The in-depth exposure to local and far-reaching entrepreneurs and financiers offered perspective, encouragement, and best approaches. – Mark Switaj, CEO of Roundtrip


FAQ’s

Q: How much time each week will I spend on accelerator-related activities?
A: You’ll spend two hours on educational programming each week and one hour with your team’s mentor every week. The rest of the time is spent building your company.

Q: How many companies will be accepted into the program?
A: 10

Q: Do I have to give up any equity?
A: Nope.

Q: What is the cost to participate?
A: We aim to keep our programs & events accessible to early-stage startups and founders. This 8-week program is just $400 per startup! Payment plan options are available. Ex. You can pay half the amount once accepted and the other half by Feb 2019!

Q: Will we receive any funding?
A: Not from the accelerator; however, you will develop strategies and tactics for pitching to investors. The program also includes a demo day where teams will meet with and pitch to local investors and potential customers.

Q: What type of curriculum will you cover in the program?
A: Goal-setting and Tracking Metrics, Market Research, Customer Discovery, Product Mapping & Design, Product Marketing & Launch, Business Modeling and Lean Thinking, Financial Modeling, Business Operations, Diversity and Inclusion, Traction and Growth, Team Building, Fundraising Pitch Preparation and Story-Telling…just to name a few 😉

Q: Will you sign an NDA? How do I know you won’t steal my idea?
A: Just like other accelerators and VC firms, we do not sign NDAs. We will respect the confidentiality of your venture / idea.

Q: We’ve been working on our startup for a while. Is the accelerator appropriate for us?
A: We are happy to work with more established startups. In fact, you are required to have a product or at least an MVP that’s ready to market and iterate on. Have additional thoughts on this question? Reach out to engage@phillystartupleaders.org.

Q: Do I have to be in the Philly area?
A: Yes, all of the programming will take place in Philly, and we don’t have a way for people to participate remotely.

Q: Does our company need to be incorporated?
A: Not yet!

Q: Where will the events take place?
A: Center City, Philadelphia

Q: Do I need co-founders?
A: If accepted, we allow up to two founders to participate. If it’s just you, that is okay too!

Q: What is the timeline of the program?
A: The application window is open for the month of September. October and November is application review, in-person interviews, and final company selections. Accepted companies will be introduced during our annual Founder Factory in early December. The program begins in February 2019.

Still have questions? No problem. Contact us at engage@phillystartupleaders.org.

Submit your application for the 2019 Startup Accelerator!

*Please note there is a $20 application fee to apply.

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