Q How does the application process work?
A The first step is to complete the online application form. Don’t worry, no business plan is required. Once we review all the applicant materials, we select candidates for in-person interviews in Israel. Based on interviews and submitted materials, we make our final decision. Our primary focus is on who you are, what your idea is, and what you’ve done so far to advance your venture. The 5-10 startups admitted to UpWest Labs will be notified approximately 6 weeks before the program begins. The Apply page has details on the exact timeline.
What are you looking for in the entrepreneurs you select?
UpWest Labs is seeking smart, tenacious, ambitious applicants who are deeply passionate about their idea. That being said, we are looking for two specific attributes in our entrepreneurs:
- Those who actively seek feedback, are fast learners and have a “hacker mentality” that enables them to iterate quickly on their idea. Your team needs to have the technical skills required to develop the product on the fly.
- A positive, can-do attitude that welcomes collaboration with others. We believe in active cooperation and we want to bring people together who will be supportive of their peers. UpWest Labs is not a competition; it’s a community of entrepreneurs.
What type of startups are you looking for?
contact us and just ask.We’re looking for innovative software and web-based technologies that address a real need and target a large market. These startups will typically develop products in consumer applications, advertising technologies, mobile, SaaS, gaming, ecommerce, security, and the like. Having at least a demo/alpha version of your product will help us evaluate your venture and improve your chances of being accepted. If you’re unsure whether you should apply, we encourage you to
Is my startup too far along for this program?
No. We can help startups in any stage of development by connecting them to the Silicon Valley ecosystem, honing their products to meet specific market demands, identifying potential investors, and helping develop the partnerships that lead to long-term success. In the past, we accepted startups that already had paying customers, millions of downloads of their mobile app and even $1.5M in funding prior to beginning the program.
Q I had previously applied to your program, but did not get in. Should I reapply?
A Absolutely! Each of our classes includes at least two startups that have previously applied to the program, but did not get in on the first try. We love meeting reapplicants, as we’re able to see their progress over time.
What size teams are you looking for? Can I apply as a single founder?
Teams typically include a founding team of 2-4 entrepreneurs. Though we will review the applications of individuals, we strongly encourage you to find at least one partner who can help you with your venture.
How many startups will you admit?
Each session consists of 5-10 startups.
Q What is the day-to-day schedule during the program?
A By leveraging our extensive network, our entrepreneurs spend significant time meeting their customers & partners with the goal of gaining meaningful momentum. In addition, we set up 1-2 workshops and Office Hours every day that focus on product, design, marketing and fundraising related topics. Towards the end of the program, we organize a Demo Day, at which point our startups get to present their progress to some of the leading Silicon Valley investors. You can track our activities on our Facebook page.
How will I cover my costs during the program?
We offer every team $10K plus another $5K per founder, up to a total of $25K (i.e., $20K for a team of two, $25K for a team of three and above). This will help cover your travel and living expenses.
What happens after the program?
We will continue to work with you on your venture, serving as your Silicon Valley insiders. Once you are selected for the UpWest Labs program, we are essentially investing in your vision and we will continue to work with you to make it a success. For example, we host our graduating startups in our Palo Alto office during their visits to Silicon Valley, help their business development efforts, help them raise funding, support their PR efforts, etc. We also aim to participate in future financing rounds of our portfolio companies.
Do you sign a non-disclosure agreement?
We talk to so many entrepreneurs, it’s simply not practical for us to sign an NDA with everyone. We encourage you to share enough information that allows us to properly evaluate your startup.
How are you different from other programs that offer similar support?
There are a number of programs that help aspiring entrepreneurs. We encourage you to research and learn as much as you can about each program and its value proposition.
As a U.S.-based fund program focused exclusively on Israeli startups, we are uniquely positioned to help you gain meaningful traction by onboarding customers & users from your target market. We believe that only by spending meaningful time in Silicon Valley, will you be able to truly understand your customers and build a better business. Our support continues for long after the initial 4 months, as we aim continue our investment in your startup in future financing rounds.
Our unique focus on Israeli entrepreneurs and our deep understanding of the Silicon Valley ecosystem is what separates us from other programs. We bring two worlds together – the ambition and brainpower of Israeli entrepreneurs and the market knowledge and funding sources of Silicon Valley. Together, they constitute a powerful combination with the potential to create amazing companies.
Why have you created UpWest Labs?
We are passionate about helping Israeli entrepreneurs realize their dreams. Being part of the Silicon Valley ecosystem, we believe that early exposure to the innovators that congregate here is a key ingredient to a startup’s success. UpWest Labs provides Israeli startups this critical early exposure.