From May 19th to 23rd, Unreasonable Lab NYC ran an Investment Preparedness Lab, a 5-day accelerator designed to help social ventures understand the fundraising process and become ready to take on investment. Our ultimate goal is to get more funding flowing to highly impactful ventures.
Why New York City:
The Big Apple is perfect: entrepreneurial and unreasonable. Social entrepreneurship has thrived in what is one of the most charitable and entrepreneurial cities in the world. From mentors, to funders, to corporations, to international government, to universities, New York City is the perfect home for social entrepreneurship. So now we want to directly support impact ventures and help them tap into this rich ecosystem of support.
Get Involved: Apply to be an entrepreneur, become a mentor, be a sponsor, or help our Lab team find entrepreneurs. Email Us.
The NYC Investment Preparedness Lab
Fundraising can be a hard, confusing, and long process. How much money should I raise? What type of capital? Whom do I talk to and how do I build relationships with funders? What should I do in an investor meeting? How to I get the money into our bank account so I can get back to building my business? Having an answer to these questions often translates into successfully closing a round of funding. But the reality is that only a handful of entrepreneurs have a clear understanding of the process (and how long it takes) before they start fundraising. They get lost and without direction, they do not take the lead and closing a round becomes painful and time consuming.
The Lab & Curriculum
The Investment Preparedness Lab is designed to do one thing: help entrepreneurs be more prepared to raise funding. Entrepreneurs will:
Understand the steps of the investment process and what is needed at each step.
Diagnose each venture’s investment preparedness and build a full plan for funding.
Meet with actual funders to get feedback and practice building investor interest.
The curriculum of the Lab oscillates between in-classroom workshop time and tons of hands-on work time.
Starts with a brief orientation and workshop that demystifies the fundraising process, followed by an afternoon dedicated to starting to build a strategic plan.
Starts with building financial statements then learning about various types of capital. During the afternoon entrepreneurs will design a fundraising action plan.
Begins with a workshop on how to build powerful relationships with funders, followed by a pitch workshop. Then entrepreneurs will build a massive list of potential funders.
Capital Advisor day when experts in early stage funding will attend the Lab to work directly with and give feedback to the entrepreneurs.
Spent on deal negotiation, getting important due diligence materials together, and designing an action plan for the next three months.
By the end of Lab entrepreneurs have something to show for their work. They have:
- Learned what the fundraising process looks like from start to finish and the elements needed to succeed in raising funds
- Diagnosed how prepared (or unprepared) they are on these various elements of funding preparedness, giving them a snapshot of where they are
- Actively worked on various elements to become more prepared to raise funding (for example: develop their financials, write a strategic plan, clarify their funding ask, develop their pitch materials)
- Created a list of at least 30 potential funders and learned quick research and outreach techniques to find and connect with even more when they leave
- Learned a methodology for how to build strong relationships with funders – relationships that get stronger over time which will help make their funding case stronger over time
- Completed funding readiness “reality checks” with 4 – 5 real funders and received real and honest feedback on their investment preparedness
- Designed a strategic plan to become funding ready and identified the tools to get there
- Drastically increased their confidence level about leading an investor meeting which will lead to far more productive meetings with future potential funders
Summer 2016 Organizations
From New York to Kenya, sustainable cars to rooftop farms, Unreasonable Lab NYC ventures
are creating Unreasonable Impact.
Empowering educators to reimagine learning and actualize change.
Delivery of authentic ethnic meals made by refugees in NYC.
Empowering underserved children to take their learning into their own hands.
We build and sell affordable battery packs, electric vehicles, and EV tech.
Your Charitable Giving Savings Account.
Connecting teens to life changing out-of-school programs.
Up Top Acres
Commercial Rooftop Farming
A virtual college counselor to guide students to (and through) college
An on demand courier service focusing on rural areas of Kenya.
Flip it Forward
Social Dreaming: Build the World You Want to Be a Part of.
CEO of Signature Group Investments & Presidential Realty Corp., Paradigm Initiative Nigeria board member, & Ashoka mentor.
CEO TPL Alpha Advisory & SolveForGood, Co-Chair of the United Nations Impact Investing Summit, & AIESEC Executive Committee member.
Managing Director of Closed Loop Fund, a social impact fund investing $100M to increase the recycling of products and packaging.
Professor of Social Entrepreneurship, Management, & co-founder of NYC Foundation for Computer Science Education.
Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Nutri Ventures, Watermelon Productions, Co-founder of Red Star, and Business Angel.
Director of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise & former CEO of EcoSecurities Group, the world’s largest carbon credit company.
Board Chair of Upaya Social Ventures, Cornerstone Capital Group Advisor, & former COO Boundless Impact Investing.
CEO for a “B Certified Company”, Senior Advisor for Ashoka, YPO Social Impact Network Officer, & board member of Grameen Prima Care.
Managing Director, Clarion Capital Partners, Founder of Foundation Source, & Co-Founder of The Young Entrepreneurs Organization (EO).
Managing Director, Community Development Venture Capital Alliance, involvement in $600 million+ investments, Adjunct Professor.
Co-founder of companies totaling $600M annual revenue, Board Member of Global Workers Justice Alliance, Angel Investor.
Director of Google’s 30 Weeks incubator, Founder of Social Innovators Collective, Global Cocoa Project, & Global Giving Circle.
Co-founder, Nexus Global Youth Summit on Innovative Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship.
Founder and CEO of Modavanti.com, an online retailer of sustainable style. Speaker for 500 Startups’ Geeks on a Plane.
Publisher of the Founder Accord, a basic deal sheet among founders that sets a new entrepreneurial industry standard.
FAQ’s & More About This Program
Application and Selection
- Committed to social and environmental impact with their venture
- Idea-to-early-stage in their venture’s development
- Based in [LOCATION] (more on location below)
- For-profit or non-profit [OR WHATEVER LEGAL STRUCTURES MAKE SENSE IN YOUR AREA
- 18 years of age or older[ADJUST AS YOU SEE FIT]
- If I am an entrepreneur from an adjacent to [LOCATION]. Can I apply for this Lab? If you are outside [LOCATION] you can still apply. But please know that we will prioritize entrepreneurs from [LOCATION]. But if you can make a compelling case, we might consider your application.
- My venture’s headquarters are here in [LOCATION], but my operations are elsewhere? Can I apply? It depends. The Business Model Validation Lab is designed for ventures to interact directly with their target market during the Lab. For example, during the Lab entrepreneurs will go and do “customer discovery” by interviewing people (in-person) in their target market. If you are unable to do this because your venture’s operations are elsewhere, then the Lab will be less valuable to you. In any case, please feel free to reach out us if you have specific questions about this.
- Committed to social and environmental impact with their venture
- Idea-to-early-stage ventures that are looking to raise capital in the next 6-12 months
- For-profit or non-profit
- 18 years of age or older
- Preparing to take on capital in the next 6-12 months.
- Have generated sales and have paying customers for their product or service.
The Investment Preparedness Lab can serve entrepreneurs in the prototype/pilot stage, the early customer traction stage, and established customer traction stage.
For investment preparedness, the Lab will feature both time in the classroom and time dedicated to working with mentors. Throughout the course of the Lab, you will have plenty of time to work and rest. Taking time to digest the material is an important piece of acceleration!
Day 1: Day 1 starts with a brief orientation and workshop in the morning, followed by an afternoon dedicated to building a strategic plan.
Day 2: Day 2 starts with two workshops designed to build the entrepreneurs’ financial skills. During the afternoon entrepreneurs will design a fundraising action plan.
Day 3: Day 3 begins with a workshop on how to build powerful relationships, followed by a pitch workshop. Then entrepreneurs will build a massive list of potential funders.
Day 4: Day four is Capital Adviser day when experts in early stage funding will attend the lab to work directly with the entrepreneurs.
Day 5: Day 5 is spent on deal negotiation, getting important due diligence materials together, and designing an action plan for the next three months.
Be a Supporter
Click here to email us to discuss becoming a mentor.
Pipeline Partners are organizations that help us find the entrepreneurs. Like us, they support entrepreneurs doing good in the world. If you want to become a Pipeline Partner for this Lab, please Email Us.
Here’s who made this possible through their generous contributions.
Email Us to discuss sponsorship opportunities.
Here is the team that made this happen.
Josh Jacobson, Founder
Founded a social venture, is a mentor for Startupbootcamp, ran Aunt Jemima, & is a leader in the effective altruism movement.
Veni Jayanti, Founder
Founded a venture creating commercialization channels for victims of violence & led curriculum for an Indonesian impact accelerator.
Co-founded an immigrant advocacy NGO, a social sector consultancy, and a retail enterprise funded by a top Colombian VC firm.
Joseph Heritage, Founder
Founded a 25 acre farm in Kenya that employed 20 refugees and financed 75 scholarships for secondary education.
Alex Simon, Chair of Mentor Search
Led a social venture accelerator, mobilized student involvement in microfinance, & cofounded a catering business at age 13.