Frequently Asked Questions
We know we're a completely different model and we like that.
Here are some common questions founders ask us:
How much funding do Gearbox companies receive?
Corporate startup engagement pilots vary significantly. Oftentimes it is between the corporation and the startup to come to term specifics -- although typically, Gearbox, as intermediaries, advises our Corporate Members to, at a minimum, replicate the value of what would be seen in an accelerator and/or small seed round time-consuming promote a clear benefit to engaging.
However, later stage startups with highly sought after technology could likely see a very substantial bump in their bottom line.
In addition, these earlier stage engagements generally increase the valuation of a startup, refine their product/market fit and align with a large organization that becomes a valued customer or technology partner.
What does Gearbox receive if I'm accepted?
If a startup is accepted into our program, they are required to sign the following documentation before meeting with the corporation and their respective Gearbox liaison:
So... you said between .25% and 5% equity. How is that calculated?
Generally, the equity is based on the stage of the company using the following table:
We believe that most entrepreneur support organizations don't take the milestones of the startup, and their founders into consideration when accepting them into their program at a flat figure, regardless of the startup's progress. With this tiered structure -- our aim is to change that.
We believe accelerators take too much from a startup and provide them with too little -- our aim is to challenge that too.
Additionally, a corporate-startup engagement often circumvents the need for an accelerator and increases the probability of additional funding rounds, partnerships and acquisition targets.
Oooh. An investment option? Tell me more.
In the event of a successfully completed pilot, we provide the corporate Fellowship Member who has engaged with the startup first-right-of-refusal on exercising our investment option. This creates an incentive for both the corporation and the startup to continue growing, scaling and partnering.
If the corporate Fellowship Member decides to pass, Gearbox may then invest as an individual or syndication. This provides the startup team with the fastest opportunity to raise capital -- a time-consuming endeavor that doesn't always lead to the most favorable terms.
Exchange of equity -- does that mean I lose any control?
Gearbox does not ask, imply, nor make you sign anything that would allow (us) as an entity to make (or force) decisions about your company. This includes voting rights, priveledges and/or board seats.
If we get involved it's because we believe in what you're doing and would like for you to continue doing it. We may, from time to time, provide you with, let's call it... constructive criticism or guidance but that's only because we've seen firsthand what works and what doesn't with startups and growth.
Even in the event of this occurrence, you're still free to nod along and then go do as you like.
Why does Gearbox want equity in my company?
We've been around the block more times than the garbage man.
We know that a vehicle which allows a startup to receive...
(and doing so at a faster rate of scale than anything else out there) is a tremendous value to both the startup and corporate partners.
Gearbox provides its startups with one of the most innovative options to start, scale and stay financially healthy. With skin in the game, we're now motivated to make introductions to key connections, provide mentorship, perks, and guidance while helping with any other aspects throughout the rest of the entrepreneurial journey.
Doing the math: Most accelerators take 10% or more. Seed rounds generally take 20% or more. A-rounds take 20% or more. All of which are time-consuming, never guaranteed, difficult to close and generally don't provide added benefits beyond a capital injection.
Meaning: None of which has created any true value to the company's bottom line unless the founders make good use of what comes next.
At Gearbox, you're already on your way -- faster, with more value and equity.
What kind of companies are a good fit for Gearbox?
Our Corporate members are looking for strategic alignment with their innovation, R&D, new business, product offerings, core challenges, and technology needs. The vast majority of startups are scored using our proprietary algorithm, VentuRank based on a specific set of criteria submitted to us by our corporate partner(s) during the formation of the casting calls.
However, we do love hearing from startups who know they have something great -- if they could only get it in front of <X> corporation, even if it doesn't come up to snuff in our scoring metrics for a specific casting call.
If you think this is you, apply.
When something pops, you'll be notified. Additionally, our smart application gateway allows you to submit your reasoning for applying based on how your startup could benefit a specific corporation.
Strong advice: Do your homework and contribute thoughtfully to this section. Don't make assumptions on what corporations are planning and don't hard sell based on what other corporations are doing in the space. Answer honestly. We'll find your fit if its out there.
Is my startup too <large, small, early>?
Typically, Gearbox is a fantastic resource for early-stage startups with an excellent foundation that are looking for additional funding mechanisms and partnerships to help with scale and growth.
However, we do often hear from and see applications from Series A and even Series B startups that are looking to engage with a significant corporate partner.
After applying, I'm thinking about <emailing, engaging, tweeting, connecting with/harassing> someone involved in Gearbox in order to get them excited about what I'm working on. Is that a good idea?
It won't add any additional favor to your application. We strongly advise all of the startups interested in being in the Gearbox program to work hard on the application to ensure thoughtful, concise and honest answers.
We rely on the data provided by you in order to not only make our decisions but also for our AI score, measure and validate them based on the criteria set forth by our corporate members. There is no amount of money in the world that would make us alter your scores, so please don't ask.
Do I have to be in a specific city in order to participate?
Quick answer: That depends.
Slow answer: Each corporate Member sets different criteria for the startups with which they would prefer to engage.
Each one of these items has a weighted adjustment to the application.
If, for example, a startup scores extremely high on the rest of the application -- based on the interests of the Member, then it could still outweigh the point detriment to those who are not, or are unwilling to, be more nomadic to pursue a specific opportunity.
If yes, do I have to stay in said city after the program is complete?
No. You're free to do whatever you like.
As is fairly standard with opportunities such as incubators, accelerators and enterprise academies, startups tend to stay or go based on opportunity.
We aim to assist in anything we can do to give you the highest chances of success, and if that means staying here, we would love that -- if it doesn't, we're still your fans.
What if I'm not selected?
Don't worry. If you have something fresh, you will probably show up on our radar again.
The startups that don't make it through to the next round are generally given the option of remaining in our pool of startups for future opportunities -- and we have a lot of them. It is highly advisable that you select this option.
Our pairing algorithm will find you when you're a good fit. We're continually adding new avenues for startups to gain more and more opportunities.
Do you offer <mentor, intern, volunteer> opportunities?
Yes. Check out the careers page from time-to-time and subscribe to our newsletter which frequently broadcasts such things.
If you're kind of a big deal, know startups backward and forwards, and you want to lend your time to some of our startups, get in touch using careers@Gearbox.AI.
What if I have other questions?
Send us an email: Contact@Gearbox.AI with the subject line FAQ, I Still Have A Question so we know that you've made it to the end of this document.
What if all my questions have been answered?
What are you waiting for? Join here.
There's no obligation unless we find you a match and you find the terms to be a good idea.
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