About the Program
What is a startup accelerator?
It is an organization dedicated to help companies at their early stages. It provides a fixed-term and group-based programs that include mentorship, educational components, connections and a community to foster their development.
What is NOT a startup accelerator?
A startup accelerator is not a school, a legal or accounting service provider, or just office space.
What is a Seed Investment Fund?
It is an organization that provides funding to companies in exchange of equity. As the term “seed” states, the fund seeks for companies in early stages usually at the level of business idea, proof of concept, prototype and/or first version of a product in the market. The company is regularly not yet incorporated or it is less than two years old.
What is Orion Startups Seed Fund & Accelerator?
Orion Startups is both an accelerator and a seed investment fund for early stage startups, located in Chihuahua, Mexico, inside the Innovation and Tech Transfer Park in Tecnologico de Monterrey, Campus Chihuahua.
The Accelerator and the Fund are two separate and independent entities, working together with each company to provide the funding and acceleration program.
What do you get once you enter Orion Startups?
The program assigns a USD$30,000 investment per startup. But, the best part of the Orion Startups experience is the mentorship, the knowledge exchanged among entrepreneurs, networking and experiences that comes with joining a community of startups and entrepreneurs.
What is the Global Accelerator Network?
It is a member-based organization that helps accelerators and their startups worldwide. It provides benefits to its members such as: access to mentors, investors, methodologies, connections and many perks useful for startups.
For more info go to www.gan.co
What will I get out of being in the Orion Accelerator Program?
- Education. Through startup talks and conferences, the entrepreneurs receive useful information and knowledge that can be applied to their companies. Topics range from problem discovery to fundraising, including growth hacking, UX design, leadership, project management, among many others depending on the companies needs.
- Mentorships: “Been there, done that” entrepreneurs, CEOs, investors and other specialists offer expertise in their field to give companies guidance and advice. There is no better way to get access to knowledge and insights than tapping into experienced people.
- Exposure. Working closely with local, national and international media, we try to help our companies publish featured articles, as well as connecting with entrepreneurship events and facilitate networking environments.
- Infrastructure. Located in the Innovation and Tech Transfer Park inside the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Chihuahua, our companies get access to office space with Internet connectivity, meeting rooms and other facilities, where many other companies and entrepreneurs interact and develop their technological projects.
- Talent Pool Access. By being inside the Tecnológico de Monterrey, each company can benefit from the students and professors talent pool available in the university from diverse disciplines such as: Information Technologies, Marketing, Business, International Relations, Architecture, Health and many other engineering careers.
What does the Program expect from me?
The program expects you to participate proactively and physically in the acceleration program during the 5 months. Attend all the mentorships, talks and events organized by the accelerator. The entrepreneurs must work directly from the accelerator and spend their time there. Also, it is expected that you follow a timeline and strategic plan that you design.
We strongly suggest to concentrate your efforts in growing your company. During the stay, entrepreneurs should seek to achieve their goals, and use the accelerator support to leverage your plan.
What do I need to do to receive the investment?
Once your company is accepted, there are some previous steps to receiving the initial investment. First you will need to incorporate the company in The United States as a C-Corporation in Delaware. Later, your company will require to complete some documentation such as a Term Sheet, Stock Purchase Agreement, Technology Assignment Agreement, Founders Agreement and you are also required to open a Bank Account in the U.S.
Once you complete all the documentation and start participating in the acceleration program, you are ready to receive the initial investment as agreed with Orion Startups.
Do I receive the 30K of investment in a single payment?
No. The investment is usually provided in 2 to 3 installments, and there are based on the plan and budget you define together with the accelerator’s staff.
How can I use the money from the investment?
At the beginning of the acceleration program, every company defines a plan and a budget. The investment has to be used in the execution of that plan. Orion Startups only checks that the plan makes sense and is focused on the development of the business.
The only limitation is that no more than $1,500 USD can be expended in legal issues.
Will Orion Startups help in with legal advice?
No. Orion Startups does not provide legal advice. The entrepreneur will need to contract the services of a law firm for the incorporation process and legal advice. Nevertheless, Orion Startups could recommend some law firms and invite mentors to talk about legal issues.
What is a Term Sheet and a Stock Purchase Agreement?
A term sheet is a bullet-point document outlining the material terms and conditions of a business agreement. After a term sheet has been “executed”, it guides legal counsel in the preparation of a proposed “final agreement”, which in this case if the Stock Purchase Agreement (SPA). The SPA is a contract to transfer ownership of stocks from the seller to the purchaser. The key provisions of a stock purchase agreement have to do with the transaction itself, such as the date of the transaction, the number of stock certificates, and the price per share.
It is very important that you check both documents before signing up. Those might include more complete conditions of the relationship between the company and the Fund & the Accelerator.
You can check our Term Sheet and a Stock Purchase Agreement here.
Who is responsible of looking for next rounds of funding or needed resources?
The entrepreneur. The accelerator only provides guidance, mentoring, preparations and access to its networks, that includes potential investors to help entrepreneurs do their fundraising activities. However, it is totally the entrepreneurs’ responsibility to search and look for future funding.
In order to be introduced to potential investors from the accelerator network, the company has to address the basics for fundraising.
What happens after taking the acceleration program?
Companies graduate from the program and become members of the Orion Startups Alumni. Even though they will no longer be part of the acceleration program, companies still receive some benefits such as invitation to startup talks, access to contacts and the GAN perks.
How long does the Orion Startups acceleration program last?
The program lasts for 5 months.
Do I really need to move to Chihuahua Mexico during the acceleration program?
Yes. At least one of the founders of each company participating in the program, must take the acceleration program in person. Orion Startups is a full time dedication program, so you have to schedule your time to work only in your startup.
If selected, we want the founder to be the one who participates in the five-month term of the program, not a representative person. This is a requirement in order to apply.
What about my team members? How many can/should I have? Are they required to live in Mexico?
Aside from the founder of the startup, there is a limit of two additional team members who will be able to join the program upon their team’s acceptance. Make sure to have a financial plan that include your trip and living expenses. Consider that 30K USD is not a big amount and the burn rate can increase if you more people move to Chihuahua, Mexico.
Do I need to be fluent in Spanish?
No, all of the Program communications will be in English, but remember– you will be living and working in a Spanish speaking country, so learning the basics is always recommended. Furthermore, if your native language is Spanish, we highly recommend that you learn English given that most of the activities and mentorships are in that language.
Does it cost money to participate in the accelerator program?
Yes. The value of the program is $8,000 USD. But do not worry, that amount can be paid from the investment provided.
About the Application
When can I apply to Orion Startups?
Applications are open every 6 months or so through an application form
When are the results going to be published? Will I be notified?
Application results are usually notified via email in no later than a month after the application deadline. If you are accepted as a Orion Startups participant, you’ll get an email from Orion Startups with further steps.
Do I need to be Mexican to apply to Orion Startups?
No, people from everywhere in the world are encouraged to apply, Mexicans included. It doesn’t matter where you were born or where you are living when you apply. All participants, Mexican or from abroad must be adults under the laws of Mexico (18+ years).
What sorts of companies do we fund?
We fund technology oriented companies, typically these are software and Internet based companies, but we’ve funded companies that don’t quite fit that mold as well. We accept startups that are both just a mere idea and startups that are already launched/incorporated, but all startups must be under two years old. We’re also looking for companies that can have national and worldwide reach. Specifically, we don’t fund traditional companies such as restaurants, consultancies, or other local service oriented companies.
What type of entrepreneurs is Orion Startups looking for?
Orion Startups is looking for globally-minded, proactive, flexible, strong technical and/or business skills, and open to receive help.
Do you fund companies that are competitors with each other?
Not in the same class/program.
Is it possible to apply for more than one startup at the same time?
No. A founding team cannot apply to fund more than one startup per application round. The restrictions listed in the Terms and Conditions limit any team from receiving funding for two startups at the same time. We also ask for total dedication to your startup throughout the 5 month duration of the program, something not feasible while working on two startups.
I’m a single founder. Can I get accepted or do you only look for teams?
We don’t screen applications just because they have a single founder, it does make things more difficult. We strongly advise you to seek for co-founders who will balance your skillset.
I’m concerned that if I apply, you won’t protect my intellectual property. Should I be worried about this?
We are not in the business of stealing ideas, and we treat application data as confidential information. Many applications include similar ideas. We hope that our reputation speaks for itself on this topic.
Is it necessary to have a completed business plan to enter?
We don’t require a complete business plan/model for the application.
About setting up in Chihuahua
Will the program provide me with housing?
No. We strongly recommend that you look for housing before traveling to Mexico. But the Orion Startups community is a good place to ask. In order to save money on transportation, we recommend renting a house near to the the Innovation and Tech Transfer Park, where the Orion Startups’ office is located.
Will my airplane ticket be covered by the program?
No, all expenses must be covered by the team. However, you can reimburse yourself once you receive the investment from Orion Startups.
Is my Invitation Letter enough to apply for the Temporary Resident Visas?
No. Requirements for a visa varies depending on the applicant citizenship. You need to make sure and it is your responsibility to ask for all the documentation required by the Mexican consulate when you apply for the visa.
Who will help me between my acceptance and my arrival to Mexico?
Orion Startups Accelerator will answer your questions via email or phone. You will be assigned a fellow who can answer all your questions about the program before you are officially a member of the Orion Startups community. Orion Startups provides a guide for soft landing that specifies approximate living expenses, references and possible housing.