What is K5Launch? How do we become a part of it?

K5Launch is a startup acceleration program to help visionary entrepreneurs build sustainable businesses. The first step in becoming a part of K5Launch is to apply. Entrepreneurs who are accepted will attend K5Launch, which is a three- and a half month, high-intensity mentorship driven seed funding program that helps entrepreneurs build the necessary framework to launch their companies.  

Why was K5Launch established, and what are you about?

K5Launch was formed by a group of successful entrepreneurs and investors who continue to have a passion for building startups. We are all based out of Southern California, and would like to provide local entrepreneurs with the opportunity to work with local investors, mentors and other business professionals. Our goal is to build a vibrant and supportive community for entrepreneurs in beautiful Southern California.

What does a company get with K5Launch?

A company can receive up to a maximum of U.S. $25,000 in pre-seed funding. The funding is intended to help the founders refine the initial product, whether it’s a prototype or version 1.0, develop a sound business model and go to market. However, K5Launch is not about funding alone. Even more valuable than the money, is the program-based time our advisors and mentors will spend with the companies to help them build out their product, gather market validation, and develop a viable business model. In addition, K5 provides a space to work with Internet access, mentor office hours, legal services, website design & hosting help, and other professional services that a startup needs. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to connect with the angel and venture capital investor community, and build essential connections for subsequent fund raising.

What happens at K5Launch?

K5Launch is a three-and-a-half month high-intensity program that will cover all the key elements of building a sustainable technology-driven startup. The program is designed to walk the entrepreneur through the process of taking a formed idea and turning it into a business—and not just any business, a cost-efficient company with a strong chance to succeed. It will also include many hours of personalized mentorship, where our business mentors will work closely with the founders and guide them through the program.

What happens after a company completes K5Launch?

Graduation from K5Launch means you have demonstrated traction with a product (or at least a prototype) and is prepared to tackle a large market opportunity. You will also have spent plenty of time with our mentors to develop your business model. At graduation, you will have an opportunity to present your company to K5Launch's extensive network of investors, which will include angel investors as well as traditional institutional investors. Our goal is to be sure you're prepared for the next milestone. Many startups chose to continue working with us. While we do not work with them full time, we maintain a regular working relationship with all graduates and in some instances help them with office space and continued mentorship and additional capital.

What sorts of companies is K5Launch interested in?

We have a preference for technology-oriented companies, especially those focusing on the mobile, social, local, and Internet marketplaces. However, we will evaluate companies that are not technically in that space, but possesses a disruptive idea in a lucrative market. Companies that stand a very low chance of being accepted are medical devices or biotechnology companies requiring FDA approval, retail stores, restaurants, and professional services companies, simply because we currently do not have the resources to effectively nurture their growth.

What kind of equity positions does K5Launch takes in a company and why?

K5Launch typically takes on average 6-10% position in a company. We want to be considered part of the founding team, and will not ask for anything unreasonable. Why? Because once you’re accepted into K5Launch, we become one team. By taking equity, we’re betting on you, and it's in our best interest to arm you for success. The K5Launch program is designed to prepare you for the next defining moment in your company's growth, which is typically a next major round of equity financing.

Does a company have to be a "Pure Startup" for K5Launch?

Not necessarily. The value that K5Launch bring to the table is more than the seed funding. Established companies looking to enter new markets or introduce new products can leverage our program to build their prototypes and validate the market. However, we do take a minimum equity position of 3% of the company, so that’s something to consider if you're a more established company.

Do we need to submit a business plan as part of the application?

No, but you do need to provide clear and concise information, and fill out the application completely.

Does a company have the option to not accept either the funding or mentorship?

Funding is offered with being accepted as a part of K5Launch, but we can certainly discuss your needs on a case by case basis.

As for mentorship, we will insist on working with you to ensure the best chance of success. Remember, our goal is to build a lean and mean company, and as a young business it's in your best interest to learn from entrepreneurs who have been there!

Does a company have to be based in the U.S. to be accepted into the K5Launch?

Yes, you do need to be a U.S. based company, and we prefer your company to be based in Southern California. We love the quality of life in Southern California and are hoping to nurture the growing start-up community here.

Does the founder(s) have to be U.S. Citizen?

No, but it is the responsibility of the founder(s) to get all the legal requirements in place in order to live and work in Southern California, at least during the three-month K5Launch period.

Will K5Launch sign an NDA?

No, we will not sign an NDA. We listen to a lot of ideas and many of them try to solve the same problem. Our best advice is that you design a pitch that doesn’t require the inclusion of any trade secrets that you wish to protect. Another way to look at this is: if we’re interested in your idea, it’d be much easier to invest in your company than trying to do it ourselves.