How do I apply?
How many programs does ERA run each year?
ERA runs two four-month programs per year, starting in January and June.
What does ERA do for me?
ERA gives you a chance to grow your business with the help of our operating partners and mentors. All this support can’t make your company successful; that’s your job. But we are with you every step of the way, aligning you with our dream team of experts to help with your many challenges–product, functional or industry-related. We have assembled the most experienced group of entrepreneurial experts in NYC, all of whom are on deck to help solve every type of operating and strategic problem startups encounter. ERA’s partners are committed, passionate members of the New York tech community. As entrepreneurs with decades of experience in business, technology and early-stage venture capital; we have successfully founded, built, run, sold, and financed businesses.
How much does ERA invest in each company?
We invest $150,000 on a post-money SAFE in return for 6% of each company selected. We don’t vary the amount per founder. We invest in the company directly and the founders decide how to use the funds.
In addition to this financial investment, our companies are immersed in our mentor-driven program. We also provide free office space, free hosting credits with several major cloud providers, and additional benefits through our legal, finance, accounting, and other business-service partners.
What is a SAFE?
A SAFE is a “Simple Agreement for Future Equity.” It is a form of investment that gives investors the right to receive stock in a company at a future date when it raises an equity round. A SAFE is not debt, it does not accrue interest and does not have a maturity date. SAFEs let founders get funded now without having to negotiate all the documents associated with a typical equity round. When an equity round does then occur, that becomes the trigger to convert all prior SAFE investments.
The ERA SAFE will convert into preferred shares representing 6% of your company’s fully-diluted capitalization at the time of your next equity round.
What do you mean by “post-money” SAFE?
A “post-money” SAFE is a way to define the price per share or the ownership percentage that an investor receives after all SAFE investments are converted to equity. This all occurs immediately before the new money that comes in with the equity round. That next equity round then dilutes all the prior investors in the company including SAFE investments.
What types of companies can apply?
While we leave ourselves open to great entrepreneurs with transformative ideas, we have some general guidelines around company focus.
ERA companies are technology companies, or companies with a significant technology component, since those are the companies we can help the most. We look for companies best able to take full advantage of the New York City opportunity as a starting point to successfully enter the market for their product, service or application.
Most ERA companies will be software or software-related in some way, and may be either B-to-B or B-to-C-focused. Our interests are as diverse as your ideas: Internet, Mobile, FinTech, Payments, SaaS, E-Commerce, Health Tech, Climate, Education, Real Estate, Logistics, IoT, Fashion Tech, Ad Tech, Media, Marketing, and many more. We are looking to you to wow us with anything Internet and software-related that you think is cool. We consider all the business questions around the product business concept and market size. In the end, we want to know if yours is a great team and the right team for your product and business.
Do you require companies to be for-profit?
Yes. We are unable to invest in non-profit organizations.
Are you looking for a particular stage company?
We have no specific stage requirements, but most companies will have assembled a team and developed an initial product. Many have early customers and revenue. We don’t reject companies just for being earlier than that, but we need to see the team has made a real commitment to the company and a clear vision for its future.
Do you require a certain number of founders?
No. It’s your company. That said, our bias is for two to four person teams, which is based on our experience for the optimal combination of “small enough to move quickly but large enough for idea sharing.”
Do I have to be technical to apply?
We have a strong preference for technical cofounders. While we don’t require startups to have engineering founders, we are looking for companies that can make substantial progress on their product during the course of our four-month program. Companies with at least one technical co-founder are better able to implement at least some product changes and improvements without hiring additional resources.
Will you find me a technical co-founder?
That would be outside of our standard practice, as the chemistry of a team is critical. Throwing together a business person and an engineer during an ERA program without knowing if they are able to work well together doesn’t make a lot of sense to us.
Do you require me to quit my part-time job?
Yes. Your key leadership team should make a full-time commitment to your startup. Building a company requires intense focus and your full attention.
My startup is not located in New York City. Can I still apply for a spot with ERA?
Absolutely! We are looking for the most promising business ideas, and we know those come from all over. ERA welcomes applications from anywhere in the world, and we continue to operate in-person with remote-friendly programming.
Our startup is not based in the United States. Are we eligible to apply for a spot with ERA?
Absolutely! We are looking for promising business ideas to serve and disrupt a diverse cross section of industries. We welcome applications from anywhere in the world. We continue to operate a hybrid program: in-person with remote-friendly programming.
Our startup is based outside the United States and none of us are U.S. citizens/residents. Will ERA help with work visas?
No. You are responsible for determining and independently obtaining any work visas that may be required.
Do you require my startup to be a U.S. C Corporation?
ERA will only invest in U.S. C Corporations. If you have an LLC or foreign entity, we will require you to “flip” the company to a U.S. C Corporation. Many companies have done this in the past. We require this to make your startup as attractive as possible to U.S. investors.
If I am a finalist living outside New York City, will you pay for my travel?
No, we do not reimburse any interview-related travel expenses.
Are companies expected to work out of the ERA space?
Our Winter 2024 program will be hybrid, as we continue to operate in-person with remote-friendly programming.
If my company has already received funding can we apply?
Yes, we accept companies that have already raised funding.
What if we just want your help and not your funding?
Although some startups don’t require funding as their primary need, all ERA companies will receive funding as part of their acceptance into the program. We are investors and want all the startups in the Accelerator to have the same basic relationship with us.
What if I need more money? Will I get it during Demo Day?
We recognize most startups in the ERA program will eventually require additional investment. We’ve created a network of stellar investors, both angels and VCs. You’ll have a chance to interact with many of these individuals during the program; we’ll connect you to the investors most appropriate for your company.
On Demo Day, you get the opportunity to present your company to hundreds of qualified investors, angels, super-angels and VCs. We can’t guarantee you’ll raise money, of course, but we can tell you that investors who are looking for the most promising new startups in New York City will hear your pitch.
Do you invest in companies after the Accelerator Program?
We like nothing more than in investing in our alumni as they grow. We don’t lead or price rounds but we do look forward to following-on once your seed round is put together.
What are the benefits that each ERA company gets as part of the program?
Here are some of the benefits that our partners and sponsors provide to each ERA company:
Up to $120,000 of Azure benefits for two years from Microsoft
$100,000 in webhosting credits from Amazon Web Services
$100,000 in webhosting credits from Google Cloud Platform
$24,000 in webhosting credits from IBM
$100,000 in webhosting credits from DigitalOcean
$70,000 in credits from Stripe
$50,000 in credits from Mixpanel
Preferred pricing from Justworks
Preferred pricing from Carta
$3,600 in credits from MongoDB
$2,000 credits from Airtable
$7,500 credits from Plaid
$5,000 in SendGrid credits, education, and support + access to the Twilio Startups team
Special legal benefits from Goodwin Procter LLP
One year free service from Phone.com
Free and discounted services from Withum, ZipCar, HubSpot, Salesforce, InVision, FreshDesk, ZenDesk
Do you sign NDAs?
We don’t. Much like VC firms, we hear too many ideas and see too many pitches to sign NDAs. That said, we are committed to respecting the confidentiality of the information you submit to us during the application process and will not share it outside of the ERA team. We know how hard you work on your ideas.
How is ERA connected to the Entrepreneurs Roundtable?
ERA emerged from the Entrepreneurs Roundtable. Founded in New York City in 2007, ER is committed to growing and building New York’s technology and entrepreneurial community. ER has held hundreds of free events, where several hundred startups have showcased their ideas to hundreds of VCs, seed investors and NYC entrepreneurs. ER events have included Find a Co-Founder, mentoring meet-ups, and technology community organization gatherings during the past 15 years.
We want to hear from you! Please get in touch for more information.