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Peer to Peer Meets Venture Capitalism at Hub Ventures

One of the biggest challenges to starting a new company is being alone (or with your business partner!) day in and day out without any feedback from anyone outside your small sphere. There aren't very many sustainable business leaders available to serve as mentors, because many sustainable start-ups are doing something that has never been done before. However, there are a lot of start-ups out there with similar missions. Most of them are not direct competitors. What if you could access a structured group of similarly motivated entrepreneurs for regular guidance and feedback?

Hub Ventures, a product of a partnership between the Hub and Village Capital, makes those early days just a bit easier. The program gives promising, values based start-ups access to stringent peer-to-peer feedback and expert guidance through a 12 week values based start-up boot camp.

Best of all, the end of the program, the participants vote on which members of their cohort will make the best use of $75,000 in seed funding.

Pretty sweet, right? Where do I sign up? Not so fast, this is not free money. This is a rigorous program for motivated people with good ideas for companies that will make the world a better place. Plus, the money is convertible debt. Still 75k is enough to make the difference between a start-up that never makes it off the ground and one that flourishes.

Members of last year's cohort include 3p darlings Amanda's and Neighborhood Fruit .

This year's 16 participants will be chosen based on the following criteria:

  • EXPERIENCE: Top 5 position in a promising and innovative for-profit venture focused on reaching scale and achieving a measurable social impact.

  • STAGE: Early: beyond idea, started prototyping, have customers, and legal formation completed

  • IMPACT: Ventures that create access and inclusion for marginalized populations locally and globally. Focus areas include (but are not limited to) education, healthcare, local living economies, food systems, Fair Trade, international development, mobile technology, affordable design, collaborative consumption, and off-grid power systems. A response to big and compelling problem coupled with a creative and systemic approach to tackling it.

  • LOCATION: Must be Bay Area based during the duration of the program.

  • PARTICIPATION: Only one team member per venture should attend programming. Ability to attend all Hub Ventures’ events, meetings, and peer-review sessions during the 12-week cohort (mandatory gatherings will be evening based and will not exceed 3 hrs/week). Ability to present at the Hub Fast Pitch during the week of March 7-11. Availability to pitch at SOCAP Investors day during the week of June 6.

  • INVESTMENT: If selected for investment and interested in accepting $75,000, the structure is convertible notes accruing 8% simple interest. Discounted conversion into equity within 18 months upon minimum $500k financing round. Optional conversion to 15% ownership in venture.

  • PERSPECTIVE: Excitement in working with a collaborative community of inspiring social entrepreneurs. Open to new ideas and willingness to take constructive feedback from a collaborative community

  • PERSERVERANCE: Individuals who have made mistakes, perhaps even lots of mistakes, but learn from their experiences in ways that enable growth. Refusal to allow any setback, criticism, or seemingly insurmountable obstacle prevent you from improving the lives of others.

Competition for those 16 slots will be fierce, judging from the fact that the event launch party is already sold out.

There is still time to apply, though! If you're interested in getting more information, application info is available here, and there is still room in the January 19th info session. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and are due February 13th.

Jen Boynton headshotJen Boynton

Jen Boynton is the former Editor-in-Chief of TriplePundit. She has an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and has helped organizations including SAP, PwC and Fair Trade USA with their sustainability communications messaging. She is based in San Diego, California. When she's not at work, she volunteers as a CASA (court appointed special advocate) for children in the foster care system. She enjoys losing fights with toddlers and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.

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