We’re sure you have questions about the Financial Venture Studio, who we are, and about our program. Check out this handy FAQ for some answers.
What exactly is the program?
Our thesis is that great entrepreneurs need to spend time building their businesses and developing great products, and the realities of building a business in highly regulated sectors tend to siphon away time. We help you build the best product possible and abstract away the distractions.
We have extremely close relationships with large incumbent providers, regulators, and legal counsel. To the extent that various regulatory or legal hurdles arise, we can engage deeply and quickly, either making connections with key advisors or working directly with the team. We believe that financial technology and healthcare require this engagement much earlier, and the investor/mentor ecosystem hasn’t evolved to provide it. That's the expertise we're trying to bring.
Our three partners have a perspective on the market that is hard to replicate. Being integrated both into the startup ecosystem and having deep relationships with incumbent providers allows us to build bridges between the two ecosystems that are far more durable than simple introductions. We can help you communicate your story to the varied stakeholders whom you'll need to reach to be successful. We can not only make the introductions but help prepare you for the negotiations and ensure that partners view you as ready to work with them. We’ve performed this role with more than 26 companies in the past and have seen it pay massive dividends.
Why should I apply to a fintech-specific program like this?
FVS partners have collectively advised more than 100 fintechs, and our Studio program is designed to solve for the fintech-specific issues that we’ve seen during our careers. Getting it right in fintech is harder than practically any other startup vertical -- and it’s much more painful when you get it wrong. The Studio aims to reduce the friction inherent in this vertical so that more startups succeed, and more innovation reaches the people who need it most.
What makes a company ideal for the Studio?
We’re looking for technology companies in the financial services industry who are launching products that have the ability to transform the industry. When making investments, we prioritize firms that demonstrate a high degree of execution speed, initial product growth and user engagement. We think our program is well suited to highly technical teams that need to learn more about some element of the financial services industry to be successful.
Where is the Studio located?
Our offices are in San Francisco, but as a non-residential program, selected companies don’t have to be headquartered here. You do need to be able to attend occasional in-person meetings with your Studio class if you are chosen.
What are the terms of the investment?
We invest between $50k and $1mm during the program and in the months that follow. Our initial check size tends to be smaller (around $50k-$200k), and then we’ll seek to deploy additional capital into firms during the program and in the months that follow, according to their needs.
Is there any cost to the program?
The program does not charge a fee -- but we do require some nominal warrant or equity coverage to justify program expenses. We work with founders to structure this in a way that aligns to their long-term goals.
Will you help me raise?
From a capital perspective, we know how to drive equity value at the seed and Series A/B stages and have a track record of supporting some of the most competitive Series A deals of the last three years. We provide customized coaching on an investor-specific basis, knowing what types of businesses resonate most with which investors. Part of the reason that we skip having a standard demo day is our belief that there is no one right way to pitch a business; rather each investor will develop a view based on their own context and preferences. We have deep knowledge of not only whom to pitch but how to pitch them.
What is the selection deadline, and when will I find out if I have been chosen?
The deadline is March 24, 2019. You’ll be notified by mid-April if you are advancing to the next stage of consideration.
Why does the “apply now” button redirect me off-site to apply? Do I have to have a Google account for this?
Our application is gathered in a Google Forms environment, so you’ll need to have a Google account in order to submit an application.
After I’ve submitted my application, will I be able to go in and change it or add materials?
We are unable to accept supplemental materials or edits once your application has been submitted, but we do allow for links to video, decks, etc. within the original application.
Can I apply to the Studio if I am already doing another accelerator program?
Yes. We believe our expertise in fintech is unmatched at this stage, but other programs can also be beneficial to your startup.
Will you sign my NDA?
We will use best efforts to keep application information in the strictest confidence, but we are unable to sign NDAs.
Are there any minimum thresholds to apply for the Studio, like company size, user base, revenue, or other?
No. No company is too early.
When is a company too far along for the Studio?
Typically, our greatest value is prior to a Series A. That said, if you think we can be helpful, you should apply.
I have more questions. How should I reach out?
Due to the small size of our team, we are unable to confirm applications received. If you have a critical question, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and in your subject line, include your company name/Studio II Application, like this:
Subject: CrushingDebt/Studio II Application
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