Startup Studio: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does FedTech look for in an applicant?
A: We welcome diverse applicants who are ready to continue their entrepreneurship journey or take a step into the world of entrepreneurship, without the initial risk of leaving your day job, paying any fees, or giving up any equity. Most prior participants have been employed full-time over the course of this program, but must be willing and able to commit to the workshops, team meetings and mentorship sessions of this program which typically occur during the week on evenings and occasional weekends.
People of all races, genders, religions, abilities, and identities are highly encouraged to apply. We welcome all to apply for, thrive within, and grow from our programming.
Technologists: A competitive technical applicant has deep technical experience in a technology vertical(s). Although not required, a relevant PhD is generally a plus for deep tech startups along with 5+ years of industry experience. This role is for a future CTO or VP of R&D.
Business Experts: A competitive business applicant (non-technical) typically has experience in the business aspects of the vertical (i.e. business development, operations, marketing, fundraising, strategy). Although not required, an MBA or prior operating experience in a startup is preferred, along with 5+ years of experience. This role is for a future CEO, COO, CMO, or VP of Sales.
Career Shifters, Veterans, & Re-Entrants to the Workforce: Individuals who are looking to step out and explore new career pathways are encouraged to apply for the Startup Studio Programs.
Q: What are the potential outcomes for me if I participate?
A: There's a lot of great potential outcomes if you participate, but here are the top three we consistently hear from our alumni.
Dive into deep tech. As a program participant, you and your team will get a deep insight into a technology vertical and work with inventors, subject matter experts, and potential customers.
Learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You will learn the most critical elements of building a startup from the ground up: from customer discovery to pitching, you will walk away with skills that will benefit you on any professional path. Some participants in our program go on to formally incorporate, grow their teams, raise funding, and sell into various markets (including government, businesses, and consumers).
Expand your network. Our network of entrepreneurs, coaches, technologists, strategists, and investors will enrich your connections for your entrepreneurial journey in our cohort and beyond.
Q: What kind of technologies will I be paired with?
A: The FedTech team is constantly sourcing emerging technologies from across the many labs, research centers, and universities across the country. The technologies included in our programs can greatly vary in nature (maturity, vertical, etc.). That said, the general eligibility criteria sourced for our programs are as follows:
Inventor Availability: The inventor must have indicated availability for the program kickoff and approximately one hour per week to assist their team.
Technology Availability: There are no outstanding licenses or discussions currently ongoing for licenses. If the technology is licensed already, it must be, at a minimum, partially exclusive and show promise for other fields of use.
Technology Maturity: We like to see at least a lab-scale prototype developed to show a level of validation. This is generally speaking a Technological Readiness Level (a measurement system to assess the maturity of technologies) minimum of 3.
Feasibility: Is this technology at a stage, or in a market, where a startup could reasonably be expected to succeed?
Some of the common technology verticals include, but are not limited to: Energy, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Cybersecurity, Healthcare, Aerospace, Automotive, Advanced Manufacturing, and Telecommunications.
Q: How mature is the technology?
It depends! The slate of available technologies and their Technological Readiness Level (TRL) varies. Some technologies have the potential to be commercialized in months while others may require a year or more to be market-ready. There is no “easy” button.
Q: What is the time commitment?
A: The expectation for the program is that each team member will be able to spend ~20 hours per week. This is per team member, however, the actual time may vary by week and is not a hard requirement that must be met but is rather a general guideline. It is also important to note that a large portion of the first few weeks of the program includes conducting customer interviews which are typically during the weekdays.
Q: Can I apply by myself or do I need to apply with a team?
A: You are welcome to apply as an individual or as a team. If you want to apply with other colleagues, please note that you will each need to fill out an application and note in your application that you'd like to be considered together.
Q: Will I receive funding if I go through this program?
Participants of these programs and resulting spin-off companies are able to participate in the program at no cost and zero equity taken from a resulting venture but do not receive any direct funding.
Some participants form companies around the technologies they are paired with through our programs. Those companies may go on to raise funding via grants, competitions, and private or public investments. These funding pursuits are left solely to the discretion of the founding team and may receive strategic support from the FedTech team when exploring these options.
Q: How much does it cost if I’m selected for the program?
There are no costs to participate in Startup Studio programs. FedTech does not take equity before, during, or after participation.
Q: Who owns the technology?
Until a license has been secured between a company and the lab where the technology was developed, ownership of the IP belongs to the lab of origin. FedTech program participants who have identified technology use cases built a viable go-to-market strategy and incorporated as a company will receive guidance on pursuing different pathways to licensing the IP.
Q: What is the application process like and when will I know if I’m accepted?
The first step of the application process is to submit an application form, after which you will be invited to complete a video interview. This allows us to get to know you, your background, and your potential fit for one of our Startup Studio programs. Once your written and video application has been reviewed (approximately two-three weeks after submission), you will receive an email confirmation about your progression to the next stage of the process. At this stage, you will receive more specific information about the program you are being considered for, dates, and logistics. Each program has its own set of unique curated technologies.
Q: I have my own idea and/or startup. Can I still apply?
FedTech Startup Studios are designed for participants to explore company formation around the technologies they are paired with. They are not an incubator for external ideas or companies. However, many successful participants have previous startup experience, and we welcome all entrepreneurs to bring their unique perspectives and experience levels to the program.