Thinking of pursuing your startup full-time? Here’s how Visible Hands can help.
Visible Hands’ 2022 accelerator applications are now open. You should run, not walk, to apply now.
It seems like almost every day, we’re hearing more success stories about founders who have taken their lives into their own hands, quit their 9–5s, and pursued their dream businesses. These stories can seem like a fairytale-esque possibility, something that can only happen to those who come from family lines of wealth or privilege.
Visible Hands is changing that narrative.
We have official launched our 2022 accelerator application cycle for overlooked founders in need of pre-seed funding and who are looking to work on their ventures full-time. Here’s what you need to know about the accelerator cycle, applying, and how you can start changing your “How did they pursue their business?” questions into “This is when I’ll start pursuing mine,” answers.
What is Visible Hands?
Visible Hands is a pre-seed investment fund with an accelerator program supporting underrepresented talent in building venture-backed, technology-driven startups. Through this accelerator, Visible Hands provides investments of up to $175 thousand, company building-services, and access to a national network of industry experts, founders, and investors.
At Visible Hands, we evaluate individuals rather than ideas, teams, or companies. We look for skilled, ambitious, and high-potential people who are ready to take the leap into entrepreneurship, whether or not they already have an idea or prototype.
Visible Hands’ vision is to narrow the VC funding gap and we’ll only be able to do that if more people from underrepresented backgrounds become founders. Historic underrepresentation and a lack of access to opportunity have kept many talented people from starting companies in the first place, so we built an accelerator program to address these barriers.
How does the accelerator work?
The accelerator is 14-weeks long, beginning in Fall 2022. It is full-time and virtual-first (besides our in-person kick-off week), so you can participate from anywhere. Over the course of the accelerator, you will work alongside an accomplished and diverse cohort of founders who are also looking to build and launch technology-driven companies with high growth potential. Founders receive a $25 thousand upfront investment upon admission and the opportunity for additional investment at the end of the program.
You will get to experiment with different ideas and potential co-founders in a fast-paced working environment. With access to dedicated coaches, company-building services, and the tools and resources you need for your startup, Visible Hands will help you to validate your ideas and gain early traction.
Throughout the 14 weeks, we want you to be able to focus your time and energy on the most important thing: building your company. Although we will still hold office hours, run workshops, and bring in speakers, you will have the autonomy to decide what you need to learn and how you want to spend your time.
Our accelerator will also integrate emotional intelligence, wellness, and leadership development to empower you to build without burnout, lead effective teams, and successfully navigate a tech world where you may feel isolated or overlooked because of your identity.
You will also gain access to the Visible Hands Ecosystem, our ever-growing diverse national network. With members ranging across sectors and experience levels, our ecosystem can be supportive to you in a variety of ways, including as a potential customer base, a talent pool for co-founders and early hires, and a source for mentorship, industry insight, fundraising advice, and strategic introductions.
At the end of the accelerator, you will get the opportunity to pitch to the Visible Hands Investment Advisory Committee. For those that successfully demonstrate a validated business idea with a proven customer base, Visible Hands will make an additional pre-seed investment of up to $150K. Visible Hands will continue to provide direct, ongoing support focused on securing seed financing and acquiring customers to those that receive investment.
For all founders, the value of Visible Hands will continue beyond the 14 weeks. You will walk away from this accelerator having built deep connections with your cohort — an exceptionally talented group of founders who will be there for you as you continue forward in your entrepreneurial journey. Plus, you’ll always have the support of the Visible Hands team and our larger ecosystem (your most valuable professional network, even long after the accelerator is over).
Is it for you?
You are eligible for Visible Hands if you fulfill the following criteria.
Your gender and/or racial identity is underrepresented in tech. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Nonbinary, genderqueer, or gender non-conforming
- Black or African American
- Indigenous American, American Indian, or Alaska Native
- Pacific Islander or Hawaiian Native
You are ready to launch a high-growth technology startup.
You’re at the earliest stages of company-building: you may or may not already have an idea, you might be looking for co-founders, or you might be working on an early prototype.
You are willing to commit full-time for the entirety of the program.
- Learn more about our evaluation criteria here.
- Check out our article Who could make a great Visible Hands fellow? to read about the different types of Visible Hands founders.
How can I apply?
Applications for this cohort open on April 5, 2022 and end on May 13, 2022. We will be assessing candidates on a rolling basis, so for your best chance, don’t wait, apply now!