Close proximity to large East Coast markets. A burgeoning startup ecosystem. An educated, talented workforce. Access to connected health and fitness experts at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland.
There are so many reasons why entrepreneurs should start in Baltimore, not the least of which is the grit and resilience built into our DNA. Once here, you will be imbued with these characteristics that are essential to developing a successful, sustainable business.
What’s with the name?
M-1 is a term for first-year medical students. We believe the name represents the promise of M-1 startups. They may be early-stage businesses, but they have the potential to improve the health and fitness of people around the world.
Who’s leading this program?
The M-1 Ventures program is run under the direction of Paul Singh, an active angel investor previously with the 500 Startups business incubator, and Tony D’Agostino, a former executive with Wells Fargo, UBS and Bank of America and a serial entrepreneur currently working with the medical device startup ZyGood.
What kind of startups should apply?
Part of the value of our accelerator is its focus on connected health and fitness. The ideal candidates are startups that have already gained traction in their quest to use hardware, software or devices to help populations get healthy, stay healthy, achieve wellness goals and improve fitness and financial outcomes.
How will the program work?
Our 16-week accelerator is intense. Selected applicants will participate in workshops with leaders in the connected health and fitness industry, receive feedback from mentors and have one-on-one meetings with the accelerator’s leaders Paul Singh and Tony D’Agostino.
The curriculum is designed to help participants build effective business plans, develop disruptive products/technology and better understand how their startup can position themselves in the marketplace.
We’ll incorporate a peer-review investment model to spur real-time feedback and assessment from those you’ll be working side-by-side with and know your startup the best. This feedback will also determine which startups receive additional investment funding at the end of the program. With this model, investment becomes about what you know, not who you know.
What’s the peer-review investment model?
Venture capital has a diversity problem. Not only does 75 percent of all venture capital go to three states (California, Massachusetts and New York), women founders and underrepresented minority founders receive only 5 percent and 3 percent, respectively.
The peer-review investment model democratizes entrepreneurship and investment funding by putting power in the hands of our entrepreneurs. M-1 Ventures has partnered with Village Capital to build an accelerator with an open and transparent startup evaluation process. At the end of the program, the two highest rated startups, as determined by their peers, receive an additional investment commitment.
What’s the timeline?
The application period for our 2017 cohort opened July 12 and has an August 4 deadline. The 16-week program kicks off in Baltimore on September 5 and features a Demo Day near the end of the program that provides investors and potential partners and collaborators an opportunity to get to know M-1’s cohort.
What type of funding do M-1 Ventures participants receive?
Each company that enters the M-1 Ventures program receives $25,000 in funding in exchange for a 5 percent equity stake in the company and has the potential to receive additional investment funding as determined by the peer-review investment model described above.
Do startups need to spend the 16 weeks in Baltimore?
Yes. As an in-resident program, M-1 Ventures allows like-minded entrepreneurs to learn from each other, receive one-on-one feedback and make connections with experts and top investors in the health and connected fitness space.
Will M-1 Ventures provide housing for the participants?
Each startup will be responsible for covering living and travel arrangements for the 16 weeks of the program. We will provide a list of possible housing locations, but participants will need to make and pay for their own arrangements.
How does the application process work?
We have an online application that includes questions about your company, the team behind it and what you hope to achieve at the M-1 Ventures accelerator. Within a week of the August 4 deadline, we will let you know if you were selected to participate in a follow-up Skype or an in-person interview.
Representatives from Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, the University of Maryland and other M-1 sponsors will collaborate with Paul Singh and Tony D’Agostino to identify the startups that have the most potential to benefit from our accelerator. Shortly after the interviews, we will announce the M-1 startups.
Does our company need to be from the United States?
Absolutely not. Our program is designed for the most promising startups in connected health and fitness, regardless of their origin. We encourage startups from around the world to apply because we believe a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives benefits everyone involved.
How much detail should I include in my application?
M-1 Ventures is looking for the best connected health and fitness startups, including those that have already shown traction in the marketplace. We recommend presenting a clear vision of your company’s mission and its solutions; describing the market opportunity, your team and your business plan; and providing high-level information about the progress your startup has made to date.
Will my application be confidential?
Please include only non-confidential information in your application. We will treat all information, data and details included in the application as non-confidential public information.
Will M-1 Ventures or any party associated with it own the intellectual property that my company develops during the accelerator?
Any intellectual property a M-1 Ventures participant develops during or outside of the accelerator is retained by that company.