In the 10 or so days that our website has been open for applications, the most frequently asked question is:
What do you look for in your first screen of applications?
Answer: The first things we look for are: idea quality; team capability; and founder commitment.
Idea quality: StartFast has assembled an amazing group of mentors and our funding comes from private investors who are seeking high growth opportunities. Both groups are making the commitment believing that their money and time will be well spent. Ideas that are unlikely to inspire the interest of our mentors are also unlikely to be successful in getting follow-on investor interest and/or customer adoption. We are looking for ideas that have the potential to create disruptive change and unlock significant economic opportunities. Period.
Team capability: StartFast is a three month program and expectations of founding teams are high. We expect teams to build a product, validate with users, and repeat until they get it right. At the same time, they will have to create a business model, test with customers, tweak or pivot until they get it right. For starters, it is more than a one-person job. Our mentors will provide lots of suggestions and feedback, and we will have specialists available to help with specific design or coding tasks. However, the core team should have the technical ability and business confidence to execute successfully on both the product and business tracks. The best way for us to gauge whether teams can perform is if they apply early, then provide ongoing updates during the application period to reinforce their superiority with concrete achievements.
Founder commitment: Last, but not least, our expectation is that founders applying to StartFast work on the startup full-time. This may be the only non-negotiable requirement and stems from our experience as seed investors. Our expectation is that teams will be in Syracuse for the duration of the program, but we do not have any constraints on where you take the business after graduation.