Dreamit is an accelerator and venture fund designed to help pre-Series A startups with initial sales traction who are looking to gain customers and to scale quickly and efficiently. The program is 14 weeks, over half of which is virtual to suit the needs of startups that are actively selling to customers. The 14 weeks are filled with growth-focused programming, hands-on coaching, warm introductions to enterprise-level customers, two weeks of meetings with potential customers (“Customer Immersions”), and a two-week East and West coast investor roadshow to build relationships with top-tier VCs. Unlike most startup accelerators, Dreamit does not take a fixed equity stake for entrance into the program.
What Startups Can Expect:
Integration into the $3B Water Street Tampa Project | Become part of one of the largest urban redevelopments in the U.S.This initiative is spearheaded by Strategic Property Partners, a joint venture between Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates' Cascade Investment Group.
Customer Immersions | Halfway through the program, startups embark on a two-week customer immersion roadshow, expediting relationship building with at least 6-8 enterprise-level clients. Accepted startups pitch, partner, pilot, and sell to dozens of AEC firms (Cookfox, HOK, Gensler), international real estate developers (Related, Silverstein, Rudin), construction companies (Skanska, Suffolk), CRE firms (Newmark, JLL), and city governments.
Coaching & Advising | A hands-on approach to coaching with each startup, including weekly meetings with managing directors where startups hone all aspects of their business and pressure test ideas and critical assumptions.
Investor Roadshow | The culmination of the Dreamit experience is a two-week, bi-coastal investor roadshow during which startups pitch during highly curated one-on-one meetings with top-tier venture investors in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley.
Application Deadline: Applications are now closed for the Spring 2018 program. Startups can expect to hear back from the Dreamit team by January 31.
What are the key dates? What is the time commitment?
You do not have to relocate to Tampa. Dreamit is 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 certain key dates, founders must commit to traveling with the Dreamit team and other members of the cohort, but you do not have to locate to Tampa or to NYC for the full program.
Dreamit UrbanTech Kickoff | March 19 | This is an opportunity for you to bond with the other members of the cohort and the Dreamit team, meet the leaders of SPP, and get to know what the Tampa Bay area can offer. You will be required to be in Tampa this entire week but can use Friday as a travel day.
Customer Immersions | April 23 - May 4 | During the 2 weeks of “Customer Immersions,” you will pitch your startup to the top real estate, architecture, and design firms in New York City, Philadelphia, and Tampa Bay. There will also be other opportunities throughout the program to meet with customers in other geographies.
Investor Roadshow Prep | May 28 | During this time, you will meet with Andrew Ackerman and others from the Dreamit team to prepare your deck and rehearse your pitch, both in presentation and in mock VC meeting formats. You will be required to be in Tampa this entire week. You will be required to be in Tampa this entire week but can use Friday as a travel day.
Investor Roadshow | June 4 - June 15 | Dreamit takes your startup on a 2-week roadshow where your teams gets access to some of the top VC on the West Coast & East Coast. This is your change to build relationships and kick off your next round of fundraising. After weeks of working with you to refine your pitch and how you tell your story in an extremely cohesive manner, we send your 1-pager to our investor network. The investors that are interested in meeting your team then become part of your own curated investor list.
*Note: Dates subject to change slightly.
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. 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?
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 final week, so if you want us to spend more time on your application, we strongly recommend that you apply early.
Does Dreamit take equity in my company?
Dreamit has reengineered the accelerator model to better serve more mature startups. Our founder-friendly offer allows startups to participate without initial material dilution. The program is designed specifically for founders with runway, and who are looking to increase the number of large, enterprise-level customers before raising a their next material round of financing
The details: Upon accepting our invitation to participate, your startup provides Dreamit with:
The right to invest up to $500K in your next round of funding at a 20% discount to the terms set by your lead investor. (viz., “Investment Rights Agreement”). For example, if you go on to raise a $3M Series A at a $15M pre-money valuation, Dreamit would have the right to take up to 10% of that round ($500K) at a $12M valuation (20% discount.
A $50K Convertible Security that will convert in the next round of funding at par - no discount no interest. To be clear, this is not a cash investment in your company. It is essentially a program fee in order to participate in the program. Continuing with the example above, this $50K would convert at the $20M post-money valuation ($15M pre-money + the $5M raised), making it worth just 0.25% of your startup’s outstanding equity - basically the same equity stake you would grant an advisor who was actively introducing you to customers and investors. (a.k.a. “Advisor Equity”)
Other than the convertible security mentioned above, there are no costs for companies to participate in the program. However, companies must cover their own travel costs for the Investor Roadshow and Customer Immersion Program.
What stage should my startup be at when we apply?
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 runway, and having piloted the technology in some way or demonstrated product market fit. Most, but not all, of the startups we accept are already generating revenue and have customers who are thrilled to be using their product who we can talk to.
We care less about the stage of funding so, as long as your technology is customer-ready, we encourage you to apply regardless of whether you are pre-seed, or pre-Series A. 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 run a very hands-on program and spend a lot of time working one on one with each startup so we purposely limit the size of our cohorts to 8 to 12 companies within each industry vertical.
When will I hear back if I’ve been accepted?
Startups can expect to hear back from the Dreamit team by February 1 with whether they have been selected to interview with the Dreamit team and customer partners. 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 generally 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 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 U.S. You must be able to visit the U.S., at minimum, for the duration of the Customer Immersions and Investor Roadshows and the other home-city touchpoints which are typically four to seven weeks out of the fourteen week program.