Unreasonable Institute Global

Be Eligible, Be Competitive, Don’t Ever Stop

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Sean Kuusinen, Program Manager of the Global Institute, at sean@unreasonableinstitute.org

NOTE: These are eligibility criteria for Unreasonable Global only. Unreasonable East Africa and Unreasonable Mexico have different criteria.

Are You Eligible? For Which Institute?

Take this Eligibility Quiz to find out!

You should be able to answer YES to the following questions in order to apply:

Keep in mind: While the following criteria reflect the kinds of ventures we overwhelmingly prefer, we do not believe in blindly following the rules. If you don’t meet one or more of these criteria, then convince us that you deserve a spot at the Unreasonable Institute and apply anyway! That’s what it means to be unreasonable!

  • Is your venture addressing a massive social or environmental problem? By social or environmental problem, we mean things like global poverty, the spread of infectious disease, the oppression of women, etc.
  • Does your team have a relentless entrepreneurial spirit and is your team hungry to ensure your venture reaches global scale?
  • Are you able to make key, high-level, direction-shifting decisions (such as investment and major partnerships) on behalf of your organization? Typically, this is the role of a President or CEO, but doesn’t necessarily have to be.
  • Are you currently working full-time on the development of your venture? A full-time commitment is defined as a minimum of 40 hours per week.
  • If accepted, will you be able to attend the ENTIRE Unreasonable Institute from May 28th – June 30th, 2014 with no more than 4 days absence?
  • Are there are at least two people working full-time on your team? In order to be accepted to the Institute, attending teammates must be working full-time on the venture.
  • Can you read, write, and speak in English fluently?
  • Are you 18 years of age or older?
  • Are you a for-profit, non-profit or hybrid organization that is generating revenue from sales? For 2014, we will be considering for-profit, non-profit, and hybrid ventures. We are less concerned about the legal structure you’ve chosen for your venture. Instead, we’re more interested in selecting ventures with a strong economic, cash-generating engine for growth, regardless of their legal incorporation. For example of a non-profit with an engine for growth, consider BRAC. BRAC is the largest non-profit in the world, but it generates 80% of its annual budget from sales revenues, not donations. For more explanation, you can read more about this in our FAQs.
  • Do you know who your customers/users are? We do not select ventures at an idea stage, ventures that are in the early stages of understanding who their customers are, or ventures who are still determining if they have a product that fits in the market. We are looking for ventures with a demonstrable impact and a business model that works. Read about why we’re focusing on this stage in our FAQs.
  • Has your venture generated at least $1.00 (yes, this is just one dollar) in revenue from selling a core product or service? Although we make some exceptions to this criterion, we plan to select almost entirely ventures that have generated at least $1 in revenue. Why? We are looking for ventures that have market validation for their solutions and a strong business core as indicators of scalability. If you don’t have revenue you will have to demonstrate strong validation for your solution some other way. For example, we had a 2013 venture that didn’t have lots of revenue, but had 45,000 users on their platform.

Your application will likely not be considered if:

  • Your proposal is for a research project.
  • Your proposal is for lobbying activities.
  • Your proposal is for a charity based and/or foundation based organization. We do select revenue generating non-profits, but we do not select ventures that rely on donations and grants as their exclusive source of revenue.
  • Your proposal is for a faith-based initiative. In this context, faith-based implies that your venture is associated with a religious institution or is promoting a specific faith. If your work has a spiritual basis but is not tied to any specific religion or faith, you may be eligible for consideration.
  • Your venture has not generated revenue.

If you can show us the following, you will be an extremely competitive applicant. Show us…

You know your target population & that your solution works.

  • Can you show us that you have a close personal connection to your target population and that you strongly understand their needs?
  • Can you clearly articulate the process you used to go from (1) identifying a need to (2) releasing a product or service to (3) gathering customer feedback to (4) iterating your product and re-releasing it to your target population?
  • Do you have evidence that your solution actually works in solving the problem that your target population faces?
  • Can you provide evidence that your customers find your product or service valuable? Tell us how many of them have bought and how much they’ve paid for it. Do they keep coming back to you for your product or service?

That your company can make money.

  • Are you profitable or do you have a strong plan for achieving profitability?
  • Do you have a cash flow positive nucleus? In other words, do you make money when you sell one unit of your product or service? We find that ventures that are profitable at the unit level are most able to scale.

That you have the ethical fiber & grit to be Unreasonable.

  • Can you convince us you will never give up? Do you show unyielding entrepreneurial spirit, including persistence through failure and past entrepreneurial experience?
  • Do you possess the highest levels of personal integrity and transparency? Are you honest about what you do know and what you do not know?
  • Are you self-aware? Are you honest about your strengths and your weaknesses? Do you learn from your failures, adjust, and move forward with greater strength?
  • Do you ask for help? Are you coachable?
  • Have you been resourceful? Have you gained massive traction with minimal resources?
  • Do you build relationships for the long-term? Do you see the power in following-up, expressing appreciation, and keeping people updated on your progress?

That your team can pull this off.

  • Can you convince us that your team is uniquely qualified to implement your solution?
  • Does your team work together as a cohesive unit and do you have a strong track record of working together so far? The number one cause of Unreasonable Ventures failing in the past has been difficulties between co-founders. We want to see that your team can last.

Will You Ever Stop?

  • Are you completely obsessed with meeting the social or environmental need you are addressing? Do you refuse to allow any setback, any criticism, and any seemingly insurmountable obstacle to prevent you from measurably improving the lives of at least one million people? If so, welcome! We are excited to read your application!