Program Application Process

Program Application Process

We accept applications from companies at various stages - some will have just a new idea (pre-seed) while others will have a company that is already generating revenue and looking to accelerate its growth. To be accepted into the program, the company would have done significant product development work or have launched an early version of their product and be well past the prototype stage.

To properly sift through the opportunity input, we leverage our in-house expertise and strategic partners to evaluate early-stage companies across all industries. We ultimately select companies we believe to be on the precipice of tangibly achieving something amazing We look for the following criteria when we consider a potential investment:

  • Value Proposition: Your startups are addressing the real problem in the market in a clear innovative way based on our focus and your business model is new, disruptive and designed for scale.
  • Management Team: Your team has at least two founders with the experience and qualifications needed to make the business successful.
  • Market Validation: Evaluate your market tractions and the target market potentials. This will include your business model, sales cycle & customer acquisition, current revenue, unit economics.
  • Strategy & Growth: You have a clear strategy to expand your business at home and into a new market in Africa. This should be demonstrated in your progress in terms of customer acquisition and discovery plan, key partnerships and pipelines for new contracts.

Below are the types of topics we cover in our programs:

  • Understanding the startups (Team, Problem, Value Proposition, Product, Business Model, Market Opportunity and Exit.
  • Hands-on business development support
  • Validation in local context
  • Doing business in emerging markets (Partnership, Customers discovery, Business risks and financing)
  • Opening new networks (distribution channels, client base, investors)
  • Matchmaking between companies and investors, business partners and clients
  • Prepping Startups for Investment
  • Finding & Selling Investors
  • Putting Together a Smart Business Plan
  • Preparing Your Presentation & Investor Deck
  • Proving a Product-Market Fit to Investors
  • Creating a Fundable Business Model
  • Budgeting, Forecasts and Governance
  • Understanding Financials and the economics of the business
  • Growth Hacking and Gaining Traction
  • Launching and Scaling Your Business
  • Valuations, Discounts, Term Sheets & Debt
  • Marketing & Customer Acquisition
  • Perfecting Your Pitch for Seed Funding
  • Peer review through – team, Problem value proposition
  • VCs and angels who discuss startups funding
  • Legal Practitioners who discuss startups legal issues
  • Tech Experts Designers who discuss smart UI, UX and product design
  • Sales and Biz Dev experts that discuss customer and partnership development
  • Marketing experts who discuss branding and positioning, offline and online marketing
  • Veteran entrepreneurs who discuss their experience running startups
  • Financial advisors who discuss operating plans, forecasts and P&L
  • HR professional who discuss employee retention, happiness & benefits
  • Authors and consultants who discuss management and leadership
  • Growth hackers who discuss customer acquisition, virality and funnels
  • Media experts who discuss visibility, press and story development

A typical Chinook Lab week looks like this:

  • Founder Speaker Series–West Africa most successful business builders from entrepreneurs to VCs discuss topics ranging from how they built their companies from idea to exit to details about acquiring customers and investment strategies to trends and what they mean–or don’t mean.
  • Workshop Series–Outside experts, mentors and advisors cover wide-ranging and diverse specific relevant topic areas. Sample workshops include: Creating a Fundable Business Model, Partner Engagement and Strategy, Customer Discovery and Optimization, Financials Narrative, Digital Marketing Best Practices by Channel, and more. 
  • Fundraising Sessions– Chinook partners lead sessions that cover funding categories, cap tables, understanding and preparing to meet your potential investors, tracking and follow-up meetings, investor decks, etc.
  • Tech Roundtable–Problem solve with your cohort and other tech mentors in the trenches.
  • Mentor Meetings–Chinook Lab mentors, who have expertise in every imaginable functional area. Our mentors are generous with their time and resources, available to advise our companies for the duration of our program.
  • Resident Expert Office Hours–consult with technologists and other pros on specific tactical issues you encounter.
  • KPI Review–You and your cohort track and discuss weekly progress together in a lively game show atmosphere that fosters teamwork.
  • Pitch Practice–Practice, revise and refine your pitch; get feedback from your cohort, entrepreneurs and investors.
  • Open Door to Partners & Staff–Our partners and staff are always here to help build your business.
  • Fundraising: It takes real capital to build a real business, so you will need to raise money–and most likely, more money. Fundraising is complicated and frustrating; we provide our startups with the support and resources to needed to navigate the process from valuation and timing to presenting your investor message and creating your deck to scheduling and tracking meetings and evaluating the right/appropriate financial partners for your startups.
  • Events: Chinook Lab have event where our startups meet mentors in an intimate setting. We give you the opportunity to bond with your fellow founders and Chinook operating partners and staff at happy hours and mid-program investor pitch night.
  • Demo Day: Demo Day is an invitation-only event where accredited investors get the opportunity to see and meet with our companies. Each startup presents their businesses in what many of our founders have called the most meaningful and exciting moments of their professional career. The weeks preceding Demo Day are intense and focused. Our founders are assigned a professional presentation coach to help hone their story. We hold practice sessions where founders are drilled on every aspect of their presentations until they are ready for prime time.
  • After the Program: We Are Your Partners We are investors for the long-haul and the founders incubator program is just the beginning. We stay actively involved with your company as it grows, helping our founders build lasting businesses. Whether you’ve got a new product rollout, a major partnership or your next round of funding, Chinook Capital and its network are there to help you succeed

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