Frequently Asked Questions

selection process
Who is eligible to apply?

You are eligible to apply if you fulfill all of the the following criteria:

You identify as one (or more) of the following underrepresented gender and racial/ethnic identities:
• Female, nonbinary, genderqueer, or gender non-conforming
• Black or African American
• Hispanic or Latino/a
• Indigenous American, American Indian, or Alaska Native

You are 18+ years old at the beginning of the fellowship.

You can commit to full-time participation throughout the fellowship.

You have proficient English fluency.

You are early along in company-building: you might be floating ideas around, looking for co-founders, or working on an early prototype.

Do I need to be a US citizen to apply?

Unfortunately, at this time, we are unable to provide U.S. work permits for any foreign nationals. We can only accept applicants who will not require sponsorship for American work authorization to participate in this fellowship.

Can I apply with a team?

If you already have a team, you can still apply. However, each co-founder will have to submit an individual application. We assess people on an individual basis rather than on the strength of their team or idea.

Do I need an idea, team, or company to apply?

No, you don’t. Visible Hands aims to support fellows at the earliest, most formative stages of company-building. Our fellows do not need to enter the fellowship having anything built. In fact, they do not even need to know exactly what they want to be building, or who they’ll be building it with. We encourage fellows who come in with specific ideas to be open to iteration and pivots.

I am non-technical. Can I apply?

Definitely! You do not need to have a technical background to participate in the fellowship. If you have unique insights or skills that would give you a competitive advantage in building and distributing a tech solution, we encourage you to apply. In our fellowship, we also facilitate matching fellows with complementary skill sets to form strong co-founding teams.

I am a full-time student. Can I apply?

This fellowship requires full-time participation, so you unfortunately cannot participate while still in school. We encourage you to sign up for our mailing list to stay updated on the launch of future cohorts.

What is the selection process?

Written Application: In the application, we will confirm your eligibility and learn more about you through a series of short answer questions. All applications will be reviewed by a team of Visible Partners (our diverse network of industry experts, experienced founders, and investors).

Recorded Interviews: You will be invited to submit short, recorded responses to a set of interview questions. This will allow us to hear more about your strengths, problem-solving skills, and passions.

Skills Review: We will invite you to a virtual project review and interview to hear more about your previous work experience and understand how your skill set can be applied in building and launching a startup.

Group Workshop: In this final stage, you will participate in a virtual workshop with other finalists. Over the course of a few hours, you will get a chance to pitch and discuss business ideas and collaborate on further developing a few ideas.

Offer: We will send out decisions in early July, along with more information on next steps in starting your entrepreneurial journey with Visible Hands.

Can I apply if I have already raised investment?

If you have already received a small amount of investment or grant dollars for your company, you may still be eligible to apply. However, some arrangements may affect our ability to invest in your company and prevent us from offering you a spot in our cohort. If you fall into this category, please email us at contact@visiblehands.vc, and we will assess your situation on an individual basis.

fellowship
How are you different from other accelerators or VCs?

We invest in individuals rather than ideas or companies. Our goal is to support fellows in building new companies from scratch. Therefore, we will provide deal flow to later-stage accelerators and investors.

Is this fellowship virtual?

Yes, our fellowship is primarily virtual, so you can work from anywhere. However, there are built-in trips (covered by Visible Hands) throughout the fellowship to different U.S. cities pending the state of the pandemic and public health guidelines.  

Do you offer office space?

We do not provide office space throughout the 14-week fellowship, but we will provide office space throughout our in-person trips in select cities. 

Does VH focus on any specific sectors, verticals, or technologies?

We are focused on technology-driven companies with high growth potential, making them competitive for additional venture financing after our fellowship. In addition, as our model is designed to validate ideas rapidly and repeatedly, we generally don’t work in areas that require long research or production cycles, such as BioTech or Life Sciences.

Can I work on something else while participating in this fellowship?

Our fellows must be committed to working full-time throughout the course of the fellowship. We provide an upfront investment of $25,000 to each fellow to ensure that everybody in our cohort has the financial stability necessary to focus on company-building full-time.

What type of support can I expect from Visible Hands?

As a fellow, you’ll receive support from the Visible Hands team directly, our Visible Partners, our corporate partners, and various other stakeholders within our Ecosystem. This support ranges from financial support (we will provide capital investments to jumpstart your business) to human capital (we will help you find a co-founder and connect you to talent and customers).

Do I have to team up with co-founders?

No, you don’t. Co-founders can be very beneficial in building a venture-backed business, so we encourage our fellows to find co-founders, whether from within the cohort, their personal networks, or our Ecosystem. We will support you in finding a co-founder, but you can choose to build your company solo if you prefer.

What happens after the fellowship?

After the 14-weeks, our fellows will have the opportunity to present to the Visible Hands Investment Advisory Committee for additional investment (up to $175K). Visible Hands will also provide direct, ongoing support after the 14-week fellowship focused on securing seed financing and acquiring customers.

What types of people should I expect in the cohort?

All sorts! Our cohort will be composed of exceptionally talented people with underrepresented identities from all across the United States. There will be many different professional backgrounds and skill sets, but every fellow will be fully equipped to build and/or sell a technology solution. Additionally, we will work to create a cohort composition that will lead to a high degree of success in co-founder matching (considerations include shared interests, complementary expertise, and values alignment).

investment
How does financial support during fellowship work?

Each fellow will receive an initial $25,000 pre-seed investment (structured as a convertible note). You will be able to use this money to help launch your company and pay your living expenses.

How can I get additional investment?

Fellows will aim to achieve the following key outcomes during the fellowship: establishing a strong founding team, validating a business idea, and having a proven customer base. If the team achieves these key outcomes, Visible Hands will make an additional pre-seed investment of up to $175K from our fund. 

What are Visible Hands’ investment terms?

The aggregate investment ranges from $175,000 to $200,000 for ~10% stake. The investment is structured as a convertible note.

Why does Visible Hands take equity in the companies?

We support our fellows throughout the 14-weeks, and for that investment of our time and resources, we get a small share of ownership if we decide to invest in companies that come out of our fellowship. Co-founders will retain a majority of their company.

other
I won’t be applying to the fellowship, but still want to be involved in Visible Hands. What are the ways I can support?

You can join our Ecosystem to support our fellows during and after the fellowship. This support can range anywhere from helping to make strategic introductions, to providing mentorship, to angel investing in their startups. Ecosystem members also play a critical role in scouting and evaluating talent for our fellowship. You can also support Visible Hands by nominating people for our fellowship from within your network. If you are interested in joining our Ecosystem, please email Daniel Acheampong at daniel@visiblehands.vc.

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