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Applications for the 2020 accelerator cohort are open!


Apply


Join the Desai Community!

We look for early stage companies founded by upcoming or recent University of Michigan graduates. We prefer companies with demonstrated product-building capability, market validation, and an exceptional team dynamic with the ability to execute quickly.

While participating in our 10-month program, startups receive funding, tailored mentorship, hands-on training, national visibility, collaborative work space in downtown Ann Arbor, and many key resources to help them achieve rapid growth - including free access to a 10-intern talent pool. Read more about our program here.

The 2020 cohort will run from May 17, 2020, to March 31, 2021.

CONFIRM ELIGIBILITY

Teams must have at least one founder who is or will be a recent, May 2019 through May 2020, graduate of the University of Michigan. Complete the below survey to request the official application - you can review the application questions here. If you meet the eligibility requirements, we will send you a link to the application after January 2, 2020.

THE APPLICATION

The application asks you to share founder information as well as answer 24 questions. This application must be completed in one session - your progress won't be saved. We encourage you to review the questions found here and write out your responses in a separate document, and then copy and paste them into the form.

The application deadline is February 9, 2020.

If you have questions please email the Desai Team: desai-accelerator@umich.edu

Join the Desai Community!

We look for early stage companies founded by upcoming or recent University of Michigan graduates. We prefer companies with demonstrated product-building capability, market validation, and an exceptional team dynamic with the ability to execute quickly.

While participating in our 10-month program, startups receive funding, tailored mentorship, hands-on training, national visibility, collaborative work space in downtown Ann Arbor, and many key resources to help them achieve rapid growth - including free access to a 10-intern talent pool. Read more about our program here.

The 2020 cohort will run from May 17, 2020, to March 31, 2021.

CONFIRM ELIGIBILITY

Teams must have at least one founder who is or will be a recent, May 2019 through May 2020, graduate of the University of Michigan. Complete the below survey to request the official application - you can review the application questions here. If you meet the eligibility requirements, we will send you a link to the application after January 2, 2020.

THE APPLICATION

The application asks you to share founder information as well as answer 24 questions. This application must be completed in one session - your progress won't be saved. We encourage you to review the questions found here and write out your responses in a separate document, and then copy and paste them into the form.

The application deadline is February 9, 2020.

If you have questions please email the Desai Team: desai-accelerator@umich.edu

FAQs


HOW FAR ALONG DO WE HAVE TO BE TO APPLY?

You should have completed customer discovery, have a working MVP or beta version of your product, early customer traction, and market validation.


DO I NEED A BUSINESS PLAN?

You will not need to supply a business plan as part of the application process, however be prepared to answer relevant questions if asked for an interview.


DO YOU INVEST IN SINGLE FOUNDERS OR TEAMS OF CO-FOUNDERS?

It is challenging to create a scalable startup alone, so we strongly encourage well-rounded teams of at least two co-founders with a cross-disciplinary range of skills.


HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHICH COMPANIES TO ACCEPT?

We review applications with a thorough due diligence process. Some questions we may ask while reviewing applications are:

  • How big is the idea? How unique is it?
  • Have you demonstrated commercial proof/early market validation?
  • Is at least one co-founder devoted full time to your venture's success?
  • Is your team diverse, open minded, coachable, and execution-oriented?

DO I NEED TO BE AN ALUMNUS OR FACULTY OF UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN TO APPLY?

Yes, one of the founders must be an upcoming or recent graduate of the University of Michigan to apply.


I AM A CURRENT STUDENT, CAN I APPLY FOR THE PROGRAM?

Founders must be devoted full time to the venture, during and beyond the 10-month program. If the founders will be graduating before the start of the May 2020 program, we encourage you to apply. If not, there are a lot of great resources through the University of Michigan for student entrepreneurs like the Zell Lurie Institute.


CAN WE DO IT WITHOUT MOVING TO MICHIGAN?

You must be in Ann Arbor for the full 10 months of the program.


DO I NEED TO STAY IN ANN ARBOR WHEN THE PROGRAM ENDS?

No, we do not require you stay in Ann Arbor or Michigan, but we sure hope you do!


FAQs


HOW FAR ALONG DO WE HAVE TO BE TO APPLY?

You should have completed customer discovery, have a working MVP or beta version of your product, early customer traction, and market validation.


DO I NEED A BUSINESS PLAN?

You will not need to supply a business plan as part of the application process, however be prepared to answer relevant questions if asked for an interview.


DO YOU INVEST IN SINGLE FOUNDERS OR TEAMS OF CO-FOUNDERS?

It is challenging to create a scalable startup alone, so we strongly encourage well-rounded teams of at least two co-founders with a cross-disciplinary range of skills.


HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHICH COMPANIES TO ACCEPT?
We review applications with a thorough due diligence process. Some questions we may ask while reviewing applications are:
  • How big is the idea? How unique is it?
  • Is technology part of your company's DNA?
  • Have you demonstrated commercial proof/early market validation?
  • Is at least one co-founder devoting full time to your venture's success?
  • Is your team diverse, open minded, coachable, and execution-oriented?

DO I NEED TO BE AN ALUMNUS OR FACULTY OF UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN TO APPLY?

No, you do not need to have any affiliation with the University of Michigan to apply, but if accepted, you will tap into the resources and network from one of the largest alumni bases in the world.


I AM A CURRENT STUDENT, CAN I APPLY FOR THE PROGRAM?

We require that at least one founder is devoted full time to the venture, and this includes beyond the 16 weeks of the program. There are a lot of great resources through the University of Michigan for student entrepreneurs like the TechArb student accelerator.


CAN WE DO IT WITHOUT MOVING TO MICHIGAN?

You must be in Ann Arbor for the full 10 months of the program.


DO I NEED TO STAY IN ANN ARBOR WHEN THE PROGRAM ENDS?

No, we do not require you stay in Ann Arbor or Michigan, but we sure hope you do!


Stay in touch!

Stay in touch!