SciFounder Fellowship FAQs

Our second application cycle ends August 15.

Click here to apply.

Early applications will be reviewed/considered for funding sooner.

Q: How long is the program?
A: We expect to work closely with teams for up to one year but plan to support teams beyond the duration of the program.

Q: How much equity does SciFounder take in my company?
A: The $400,000 investment will be in form of a SAFE note with a Post-Money Valuation Cap of $4 million. This means that SciFounder will take ~10% equity.
If you need more than the $400,000, please still let us know. We’re happy to try and help you raise funding from others besides us as well.

Q: Are part of the $400,000 investment in-kind contributions like mentorship/advice?
A: No. Each team receives $400,000 in cash in addition to mentorship.

Q: What is a SAFE note?
A: A SAFE (simple agreement for future equity) is a standard legal document created by Y Combinator to simplify fundraising for early-stage companies, saving the company time and legal fees in the beginning. More information here.

Q: Will you introduce us to investors throughout the program to practice pitching?
A: Yes. We will introduce you to investors from our network that we think might be interested in supporting you.

Q: Are you taking pro-rata rights/plan to follow-on invest?
A: No. The main thing we care about is creating a community of scientists that want to start companies that can help one another -- we don’t want to signal and play favorites. We will help you raise money from other people during or after the program.

Q: Does the company need to be incorporated already?
A: No, we can help you through the company formation process. It’s also fine if you’ve created the entity already.

Q: Will you provide lab space?
A: Not per se, but if you are located in the Bay Area (or willing to relocate here), we will help you find a shared lab space if your company needs it at this stage. We encourage outsourcing experiments through contract research organizations. For critical work bench spaces can often be rented in incubator spaces that come with shared core facilities.

Q: We are based outside of the US. Can we still apply?
A: Yes. As long as we think you have the support you need, we want to work with you wherever you are based.

Q: What is the program like?
A: Up to one year of focused work to validate your idea. We will hold individual office hours on a weekly basis to help you build a successful company and reach your goal as efficiently as possible. Group office hours to meet your cohort members, discuss ideas and obstacles will be held on a bi-weekly basis.

Q: Is there a "graduation"/end of the program?
A: There is no formal end to the program. As soon as you are ready to fundraise on your own, we will help you find investors that can help you.

Q: Are team members expected to leave their existing roles?
A: We require at least one team member to be full-time working on the company. This doesn’t have to happen immediately but should be the case once the company has launched.

Q: What obligations come with the funding? Can we use it for our own salaries?
A: There are no obligations or any restrictions on how you use your funding. You should be able to support yourselves but should be reasonable about it.

Q: Do we need to write up a professional business plan? I only have experience writing grants, not business plans.
A: No, you don’t need a formal business plan, but do need to communicate what the company will do in a way that would make sense to a technical colleague outside your field.

Q: Do you take any ownership in the IP?
A: No. We would only take equity in the company, and don't take any stake of ownership in your patents, royalties, etc. The IP will stay with the inventor/institution.

Q: Is this only for PhDs, or should MDs apply too?
A: We would encourage physician scientists to apply too. Not everyone in the team has to be a scientist, but at least one should be. You also don’t need to have completed (or even started) a PhD to apply.

Q: Do I need a team?
A: No -- it’s great if you have teammates you’ve worked with prior that you want to work with, but it’s not necessary for us to consider you.

Q: I don't have an idea myself or i dont have a team, can I join a team?
A: Feel free to add your info here. If we think you are a good fit we will connect you to a team.

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