What types of businesses is the Nike+ Accelerator focusing on?
The Nike+ Accelerator is for technology-oriented companies whose businesses can connect to our Nike+ APIs and development tools. The focus is to allow companies to leverage the Nike+ platform and products to build companies and offerings that inspire and assist people to live more active lifestyles.
How are the final 10 companies chosen? What are the criteria?
The Nike+ Accelerator is looking for focused, well-rounded teams with strong, thoughtful ideas.
What role is Nike going to play in the Nike+ Accelerator and what commitment has Nike made?
Nike is funding the Nike+ Accelerator program, and has partnered with TechStars to help deliver a high quality experience. In addition, Nike is providing top mentors from the Nike+ team to work with the companies and TechStars is activating its global partner community to help support these startups. Nike is also providing space, development kits and other resources to each of the companies. In short, Nike wants to help startups that leverage the Nike+ platform maximize their potential, and has built the Nike+ Accelerator just for that purpose.
What are the networking and educational opportunities provided during the three months?
TechStars will organize a variety of personal and group opportunities with mentors, entrepreneurs, angel investors, legal experts, venture capitalists, investment bankers, and others in a variety of forums. In addition, Nike executives and members of the Nike+ team will visit on a regular basis and provide early feedback and opportunities to participating companies.
Will all the mentors come from Nike?
While Nike will contribute some mentors, most mentors will be entrepreneurs and investors who are interested in the Nike+ platform.
What if my company is not an expert at developing Nike+ solutions?
The Nike+ Accelerator is focused on bringing all of the resources and talent required to create new applications, games and services into one place to mix with the drive of entrepreneurs. Nike and TechStars will provide technical training and guidance on key components like the Nike+ APIs, the Nike+ mobile SDK, and the Nike+ FuelBand Dev Kit (Beta), but each company in the Nike+ Accelerator must be capable of building their own solution.
What size companies is Nike focusing on for this Accelerator?
Companies of any size will be considered.
Is my age a factor in your selection process?
Do I need to send in a business plan?
No. Just fill out the informal online application - that's all you need to do for us. In fact, we probably don't want to see your business plan if you have one.
When is the deadline to apply and what's the overall timeline?
Applications are being accepted now through February 3, 2013. Check the schedule for details. If you apply early enough, we may invite you to attend a Nike+ Accelerator recruiting day, space permitting. This is not a required step, but it can be a great way to learn more about the Nike+ Accelerator program and for us to get to know each other better.
Where is the Nike+ Accelerator office?
The Nike+ Accelerator office will be located in Portland, Oregon, a short drive from the Nike World Headquarters.
Do companies have to be in Portland for the entire 3 month period?
The program requires participants be primarily based on-site in Portland during the program in order to take advantage of the numerous learning opportunities, networking and coaching that will be provided.
Do these companies have to stay in Portland when the program ends after 3 months?
What is TechStars?
TechStars (www.techstars.com) is an elite mentorship-driven start-up accelerator. Founded in 2006, the TechStars philosophy focuses on deep mentorship, and surrounding a small number of companies with highly engaged members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem to coach and support them for success. The TechStars community currently includes more than 300 mentors, more than 1,500 investors and over 120 alumni TechStars companies. TechStars currently operates five programs each year in Boulder, Boston, Seattle, Texas, and New York. TechStars is funded by more than 50 venture capital firms and 25 angel investors.
Why did Nike partner with TechStars on this program?
TechStars is one of the leading technology incubators in the world and has a program that brings business ideas to market. Their network of proven entrepreneurial mentors and connection with investors makes them a great place for companies to bring innovative ideas and turn them into exciting businesses.
What is the timeframe for this program?
The deadline for applications is February 3, 2013. The program runs from March 2013 - June 2013. Check the schedule for details.
How does the application process work?
The application process is online and includes a few simple questions about the company and the team comprising the company. Applicants are also asked to provide a video that describes their team and business.
When are the investor demonstration days and who will be invited to the Technology Investor Demonstration Days?
Nike and TechStars have a strong network of industry leaders, investors, and venture capitalists who will be invited to the demonstrations days in June 2013.
What will a typical day be like for a Nike+ Accelerator founder?
Participants can choose to work out of the Nike+ Accelerator location or another location if they prefer. Several times a week TechStars will organize informal educational sessions with mentors.
Does Nike provide housing for Accelerator participants?
TechStars will provide a list of possible locations, but participants need to make their own living arrangements.
Can I only launch my product on Nike+?
This is the Nike+ Accelerator, so, the ultimate goal here is to create businesses that leverage the Nike+ platform and products. That does not preclude the solution from being available on other platforms as a complement to Nike+ or the Nike+ FuelBand solution. If the Nike+ FuelBand, Nike+ Running or NikeFuel is leveraged by your company in an innovative or exciting way, then it's a potential fit.
Can I apply if our company or founders are not from the USA? Can you help with visa/immigration issues?
Yes. Anyone from anywhere can apply. You do have to be legally in the U.S. during the program, of course. Once accepted, TechStars can help with legal/immigration issues by leveraging Techstars' contacts and network to help. However, no assistance can be provided in advance of acceptance to the Nike+ Accelerator.
Will Nike invest in my company?
The Accelerator model gives you the opportunity to pitch investors, venture capitalists, influential industry leaders and Nike executives at the end of the program during Investor and Demo Day. As a benefit of participating in the program, each company will receive $20,000 as well as hosting services, work space, connections and deep mentorship.
Why does TechStars get stock in these companies?
TechStars has direct experience running successful startup accelerator programs across the country, and as a result was chosen by Nike to partner on this project. In exchange for overseeing the day-to-day operation of the Nike+ Accelerator project and providing on-going mentorship and guidance after completing the accelerator cycle at Nike, TechStars will receive 6% equity in the form of common stock in each of the participating companies.
Does Nike retain equity in the Nike+ Accelerator companies?
Nike does not retain equity in the companies participating in the Nike+ Accelerator.
How can participants receive funding after the Nike+ Accelerator ends?
Near the end of the three-month program, there will be an Investor Demo Day where Nike executives as well as angel investors, venture capitalists and influential industry leaders from around the world see the technology and listen to pitches.
Does Nike retain the intellectual property (IP) developed during the Nike+ Accelerator?
No, Nike does not retain IP exclusively developed by the participating companies during the program. The IP exclusively developed by a participating company is retained by that company.
How detailed does my idea need to be in the application?
In this initial application process, we ask applicants to describe market opportunity, the team, the idea and how to execute. We openly discourage applicants from submitting their business plans or "secret sauce."
What guarantees can Nike make to companies who get into the program?
Nike will support the Nike+ Accelerator with facilities, mentors, visibility and pro-active engagement around business opportunities that emerge from this program. Nike is focused on creating a developer ecosystem around Nike+ and the companies in this accelerator have a unique and compelling opportunity to engage in this ecosystem. Nike has no obligation or restrictions with regard to the companies it contracts with and the products and services that it develops or offers.
Is a participating company's product or service guaranteed to be distributed by Nike?
No, there are no guarantees. Participating in the program will allow your company to develop a concept with the opportunity to connect to Nike+. Nike has rigorous quality standards for content published on the Nike+ platform, and those standards will not be compromised. But, the goal of the Nike+ Accelerator is to create companies that can and will publish content that meets these standards. The Investor Demo Days will provide an opportunity to show off concepts to Nike, investors and leaders in the tech community.