Dreamit UrbanTech is a startup accelerator founded in partnership with Strategic Property Partners---a joint venture by Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates. SPP is leading a $3B redevelopment of the Tampa Bay waterfront, one of the largest real estate projects in the United States and a rare opportunity to build a smart, connected city in an existing urban zone.
Dreamit UrbanTech will utilize Tampa as a sandbox for innovation for the startups accepted to the program. Our goal at Dreamit is to help startups gain enterprise-level customers and integrate their tech into large-scale projects, and our urban tech program is an opportunity for founders to scale with customers like construction firms, developers, real estate management companies, master planners, architects, CRE service firms and other key players affecting the built environment in cities.
Do I have to relocate to Tampa? What are the key dates?
Dreamit has a hybrid accelerator model, with founders participating in the 14-week program both virtually and in person. Each week, founders will meet with a managing director at Dreamit to strategize and pressure test ideas. During the following key dates, founders must commit to traveling with the Dreamit team and other members of the cohort:
- September 10 - September 14: Tampa kickoff week is an opportunity for you to bond with the other members of the cohort and the Dreamit team. It's also a great opportunity to meet the leaders of SPP, who are spearheading the $3B urban redevelopment of Tampa.
- October 30 - November 10: The Customer Immersion program in Tampa and New York. This is your chance to pitch to the top real estate, architecture, and design firms in New York City and Tampa. There will also be other opportunities throughout the course of the program to meet with other non-official customers.
- December 4 - December 15: Startups will be active participants in an urban tech summit in Tampa which will kick off the investor roadshow. During this roadshow, startups in the program visit VC offices on the West Coast & East Coast to build relationships with a bespoke list of VCs who are investing in the space.
How many members of my team need to actively participate in the program?
The CEO and at least one other key team member must be prepared to participate fully in the program, including all required preparation sessions as well as the two-week customer immersion and two-week investor roadshow segments. These are intensive, multi-city events that require full-time commitment in order for you to make the most of these opportunities.
How do I complete my application and confirm my application has submitted?
Interested applicants must fill out an application on Gust at this link: https://gust.com/programs/dreamit-urbantech
Our team reviews every application that we receive. If we have any questions, we’ll reach out to you directly for clarification. After we review all applications, we’ll begin to schedule final round interviews with select companies. Tip: More than half of the applications come in on the last two days, so if you want us to spend more time on your application, we strongly recommend that you apply early.
To confirm your application is submitted, go to your home page on Gust (https://gust.com), i.e. the default page you land on when you log in or finish submitting an application. Then scroll down - you'll see all the completed and in progress applications to accelerator programs and investors.
Does Dreamit take equity in my company?
Dreamit has reengineered the accelerator model to better serve startups. Our founder-friendly offer allows startups to participate without initial material dilution. Upon accepting our invitation to participate, the startup will issue a $50,000 convertible security that will convert in their next round of funding. (Please note, this is not a cash investment).
The program is designed specifically for founders with runway, product fully deployed, and who are looking to increase the number of large, enterprise-level customers before raising a Series A. Given that startups come into the program with some traction and momentum, these founders are not typically looking to give up equity for cash a cash investment.
Once the program is complete and we have built a relationship with the founders in the program, there is an opportunity for an investment through Dreamit Ventures, our fund dedicated to graduates of the Dreamit program.
Other than the convertible security mentioned above, there are no costs for companies to participate in the program. However, all travel costs for the Investor Roadshow and Customer Roadshow incurred by the companies will be at the company's own expense, and companies in the program are advised to budget accordingly.
What stage should startups be at when they apply?
Depending on the type of product a startup is working on, each startup may have a unique answer to this question, so we encourage you to apply if you are pre-seed, seed, or pre-Series A. We care less about the stage of funding than about the readiness of the technology. The fundamental question we ask is whether a startup is ready to scale with enterprise level customers. If a startup does not have a product deployed and ready to put in the hands of customers, then it is too early for our program.
Typically, startups will enter the program having raised some capital, having some runway, having piloted the technology in some way or demonstrated product market fit. Ideally, startups would be able to show some level of traction. If we can talk to customers who are thrilled to be using your product, you're at the right stage for the accelerator.
We do all selection and due diligence in-house and evaluate every application across five criteria: Product/Idea, Team, Market (Size & Competition), Traction, and G2M Strategy.
How many companies will you accept into the cohort?
We purposely limit the size of our cohorts to create powerful cross-collaboration between startups while maintaining a strong focus on helping each company succeed. Typically, our cohort size is 8 to 15 companies within each industry vertical.
When will I hear back if I’ve been accepted?
We expect to notify all companies of their acceptance or rejection at least a month prior to the start date of the program in September 2017. Please do not reach out to us directly to ask the status of your application -- we promise that we’re working on it and will be in touch. Unfortunately, due to the large volume of applications that we receive we cannot provide feedback on specific applications.
Do I need a tech co-founder / tech in-house?
Your odds of being accepted are much better if you have a technical co-founder on your team. We are strongly biased against outsourced development but we will still consider your application. Keep in mind that the team is one of the areas we evaluate (perhaps the most important criteria) and you will be competing against teams with tech in house, so it will be on you to convince us that you can move as fast and as effectively as they can.
Do you fund companies that are competitive with each other?
We do our very best to avoid accepting competitive companies into the same cohort. However pivots happen so it’s possible we will have a company in the same space in our portfolio. We make sure not to share sensitive data or information between companies that would be considered competitive.
Can I still apply if I’m not from the U.S.?
Yes! We receive applications from all over the world and typically accept 15-25% of our companies from outside the US. You must be able to visit the U.S., at miniumum, for the duration of the Customer Immersions and Investor Roadshows -- ~4 of the 14 weeks.
What are the key elements of the Dreamit accelerator program?
2-week, multi-city Customer Immersion Roadshow designed to help jumpstart your partnership, trial, and sales pipelines through in-depth customer meetings with key strategic partners and customers you can reference in fundraising documents and marketing materials.
Access to some of the world's most active VCs during our 2 week East and West Coast Investor Roadshow as well as one-on-one introductions from our vast network of early-stage investors.
Coaching, insight, and hardcore pressure testing and de-risking via weekly office hours with our managing directors.
Weekly webinars and panel discussions with industry leaders around the topics that matter most for early-stage companies.