Today, we’re very excited to open the JOLT application process to Canadian entrepreneurs seeking to build new online and mobile businesses with global scale and reach.
Our goal is to take companies in the concept or prototype stage and help them validate their market with initial customer acquisition and get them ready for seed-stage financing. How will we do it? By surrounding them with 80+ of the brightest and best mentors, all of whom are exceptional entrepreneurs, industry partners and investors.
Since JOLT is a startup itself, we practice what we preach, and believe in the power of strong mentorship to catalyze success. To that end, we’ve found our own mentors by reaching out to experts in our community and through our membership in the Global Accelerator Network (originally named the TechStars Network), an international assembly of only the highest quality independently owned and operated organizations that use a mentorship-based startup accelerator model. The TechStars accelerator program launched in 2007 and has an impressive track record, with a signifcant number of graduates from the program attracting follow-on funding at an average investment of over $1 million per company.
The network currently numbers 35+ organizations operating in numerous locations spanning the globe, including Buenos Aires, Dalian (China), Dublin and Adelaide (South Australia), as well as the original TechStars program operating in the United States (Boston, Boulder, New York and Seattle). Like JOLT, the Network members leverage this network to make global connections and learn best practices, empowering their entrepreneurs to be successful.
As a MaRS volunteer advisor, I’ve seen directly how the unique mentorship model, combined with the market intelligence resources and education programs offered by MaRS, have benefited early-stage companies in the IT, Communications and Entertainment (ICE) sector. In MaRS’ recent 2011 Annual Survey, the ICE practice reported that 87 client companies had raised over $100 million in financing (equity/debt and excluding grants) over the last fiscal year – an average of over $1 million per company. With results similar to TechStars, MaRS is clearly a world leader in providing successful mentorship-based programs for entrepreneurs.
Over the past nine months, I’ve participated as an angel investor in seed rounds for two very exciting online companies that emerged from MaRS’ client roster. Others in the MaRS community, including volunteer advisors, MaRS board members, angel investors, corporate partners and the founders of some of our client companies, have also taken note of the successful track record of MaRS client companies. Based on our collective experiences, we’ve come together to form the JOLT Fund LP, which will provide the initial capital for JOLT’s equity investment in the participating companies.
If you’re considering applying to JOLT, rest assured that with our investment, we will be very vested in your success and will work even harder to ensure that you have a solid business plan and connections to the best mentors and investors in our network.
So, Canadian entrepreneurs in the online and mobile space – get cracking! Let us help you accelerate your business. We’re accepting applications until May 30.