St. John’s-based startup hub Genesis has launched a new, intermediate-level accelerator to fill a gap between its Evolution program for early-stage companies and its Enterprise program for more advanced startups.
Dubbed Evolution+, the new accelerator eschews a cohort model in favour of rolling acceptance and graduation, with each company taking from one to six months to complete the program.
“Essentially, Evolution is for idea validation, and Enterprise is our incubator to help ventures grow,” said Evolution+ Program Lead Alex Batten in an interview. “But we identified that there was a gap in-between that we wanted to address. And that is Evolution+.”
The original Evolution program is an eight-week crash course in topics that include identifying a target market, finding revenue streams and connecting with potential early-adopters. The more advanced Enterprise program, meanwhile, is a three-year incubator and mentorship service.
“The idea is that, if they need any less [time], they're probably ready to go right into Enterprise,” said Batten, speaking of companies coming out of the original Evolution program. She added that companies needing more time and those companies are ideal for Evolution+.
The Evolution+ curriculum covers topics including how to refine a startup’s value proposition, the incorporation process, hiring a team and negotiating shareholder agreements.
Participating companies can choose from two different presentation formats: an in-person version at Genesis’s Johnson Innovation Station in downtown St. John’s, and a virtual offering. The in-person iteration also includes access to co-working space.
Batten’s team started onboarding companies last week and has so far signed up three businesses for the in-person accelerator and one remote company. She expects to have about six companies in the program at any given time, and about 19 or 20 ventures participating over the course of a year.
Whether a company is eligible to participate is decided on a case-by-case basis, but in general, Batten said her team is looking for startups that have already validated their product idea and are showing some signs of gaining traction in growing their business. They also need to have completed either Evolution or a similar accelerator.
“The hope is that -- because we will have this program to better set ventures up from the beginning -- ventures moving into Enterprise will be even more established and will have even higher growth during the Enterprise program,” said Batten.