FAQs for SoCal Venture Pipeline Program
Who should apply?
We’re looking for companies that are gearing up to raise their first round of institutional funding within the next 6 to 12 months. All industry verticals within tech are included (life sciences fields may be added at a later date).
Below are some general indicators that may suggest your company is ready for Seed or Series A funding (which we are defining as +$1M for Seed and +$4M for Series A):
- Have ideally raised at least $250K through angel funding and/or friends and family
- If not, product in market and demonstrated customer traction and potentially early revenue generation
- Proof of Value Proposition: Annual Run Rate (ARR) sales of $100K or more (ideally) and/or at least 100 customer discovery interviews
- Dedicated team of 2 or more
- Have articulated a compelling market opportunity and identified target customer segments, and early customer validation (e.g. pilots, etc.), for example
- MVP built and in use by customers
- Proof of a growing customer prospect pipeline
- Identified Key Performance Indicators
- Raising institutional seed capital of $1M or more with a scalable business model and a Series A raise planned in next 12-24 months.
- Based in Southern California
- Have raised $500K angel or seed investment
- Dedicated team of 5 or more
- Product in the market
- Demonstrated accelerating market traction (e.g. revenue, customers, or users)
- Annual Run Rate (ARR) sales of $2M or more (ideally)
- What makes you the winner in this market?
- Raising institutional Series A capital of $4M or more
- Based in Southern California
Founders: Here’s a helpful guide we wrote to explain the different funding stages to help you determine which round you should be raising.
Apply for the SoCal Venture Pipeline Program
Get matched & receive personal investor introductions.
What can a company expect from the SVP program and what do we expect from Companies?
We want to get to know you and better understand your business so that we can find the right investors/partners/supporters for you and your team. There will be a round of first meetings and then regular touch points throughout the rest of the year.
Do I need to be a Southern California-based company to apply?
Yes! Our program service area is from Santa Barbara south down San Diego and east to Riverside.
We’re hoping to find the best and brightest upcoming companies in SoCal and we know that new innovative companies are getting started all the time.
Does it help to know someone at the Alliance for SoCal Innovation or one of our community collaborators?
It can — it’s always good to have a champion in your corner that can sing your praises, but it is certainly not required.
What VCs do you reach out to?
Our program partner has built a national VC syndicate of over 400 active investors from all around the country. Our regional and rolling selection of companies helps us stay up to date with what’s on the rise across the region so that we can share our best and brightest with investors everywhere.
Is there a cost to apply to the program?
No. Our supporting sponsors provide the resources to operate the program so that we do not need to receive any compensation from startups. Once you go full unicorn, we’ll say we knew you when (and hit you up to be a sponsor!).
How do you do this for free?
We rely on the good will and time provided by local ecosystem leaders who volunteer their time to help great companies access funding. Our community leaders and investment committee work closely with founders and know what it takes to get VC funding.
We are constantly working with partners across SoCal so we can get founders the support they need. This may include local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), accelerators, incubators, as well as early stage funding.
Should I apply if I’m pre-revenue?
Sure! Every industry is a little different, and each company will take a different path.
Can I reapply if I have applied in the past?
Absolutely! If you applied before but weren’t ready and have since learned a lot or overcome previous barriers, we want to see if you are a fit this time around.
What are the key criteria you consider for selection?
There is no “grading system” or rubric. We believe it’s both art and science. Do you need to have key metrics? Of course, but every company is different: different industries, markets, stage of development, and management. We do our best to try and select companies across multiple verticals that we believe will be interesting to VCs in our network.
What is the competition like to be admitted to the SoCal Venture Pipeline Program?
We set a high bar to determine if you’re ready for Series A funding but you’re not competing with other startups to get into the program. There are no cohorts and no limit to the number of startups we accept, although we aim to take 10 per month.
What happens if I’m not selected?
Companies may not be selected the first time they apply, but we still want to help! If you’re not at the right stage, we can refer you to partners and programs that can help get you there; and then we encourage you to reapply!
What is the review process?
Your application is first reviewed by Alliance staff before soliciting community feedback (like an informal reference check); if all checks out it gets evaluated by our Investment Committee for a final decision.
How long will it take to hear if I’m admitted?
We aim to provide a status of your application within 30 days of applying to the program. The Investment Committee meets monthly to make final decisions, but the committee may not be able to review all applications submitted in the previous month. If a final determination is not reached at the conclusion of the Investment Committee deliberations, we will notify you of the delay and provide updated guidance.
Will I get feedback?
Whenever possible we will try to provide constructive feedback. We will definitely let you know if we need more information or if the application is complete.
How much funding can I expect (check size)?
Check sizes vary based on several factors, including: your company’s need, the investor’s preferred investment size, or if more than one investor might be interested. You might be a great company with a great product, but check size is highly variable.
How many introductions will I get?
This will vary on how many investors are interested in your field, technology, and market size and traction. We try to make at least three but that is not guaranteed.
How much equity do you take?
We do not take any equity. Period.
Will you sell my data?
No, we will not sell your data.
How do you find good companies?
We rely on companies to apply. We have program partners, collaborators and community leads who encourage companies to apply, especially if they think you are great company and at the right stage.