Minnesota’s first seed-stage startup accelerator program kicks off a second cycle that commences today and runs through the end of April.
Project Skyway is modeled after the global ‘incubation’ trend of providing emerging entrepreneurs with the cash, mentorship, and visibility necessary to expedite the process of bringing new products to market. This Minnesota twist emphasizes building companies with long-term, sustainable value and ethical practices.
Conceived one year ago by Cem Erdem and partner Casey Allen, their vision is to fund 100 companies in Minnesota through a systematic bi-annual class rotation. Startups that participate currently receive $6,000 per founder (max $18,000) in exchange for 9% equity. The program is funded to date exclusively by Erdem, a proven local entrepreneur who has started and grown his own software company, Augusoft.
Like anything new, Project Skyway’s first cycle hit some bumps in the road, although team has openly reflected on its own learning experiences and the introduction of this resource has undoubtedly been a net positive for Minnesota’s technology community.
Project Skyway’s first cycle culminated in successful ‘demo day’ that has lead, in part, to the recent funding of Naiku; rumor has it that others are on track to follow suite. Personally, I would be not entirely surprised to witness the surfacing of another, comparable approach here within the next year given the entrepreneurial demand and investment opportunity for early movers.
Technology entrepreneurs from Minnesota and and beyond in pursuit of mobile and SaaS innovations may submit applications today through midnight on December 15th for one of roughly ten spots available.
On Jan 5th, a larger group of startups will be chosen for advancement to a second round bootcamp weekend on January 13th for further consideration. The final participants (aka Skywalkers) will be announced on January 26th in anticipation of an official Feb 1st start date.
“We’re excited to continue growing Project Skyway here in Minnesota and look forward to supporting a new class of entrepreneurs. Stay tuned for more announcements as we grow our roster of mentors,” said co founder Casey Allen.