Powering the Founders of our Energy Future
We're bringing together entrepreneurs, members of the military, utility operators, researchers and thought leaders to work toward a shared vision of Alaska as a thriving innovation and entrepreneurial hub. From drones to climate change mitigation, and from electrical grids to cyber security, Alaska holds value and experience that a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem is beginning to capture. We seek companies that are innovating solutions to make our communities and organizations more resilient while tackling some of the world's biggest energy and climate problems.
What's a business accelerator?
It's an intensive, 13 week process for companies to improve their operations, identify their market and product fit, learn how to innovate and iterate quickly, and become investment ready, scaleable ventures. In the process, they form connections, get access to capital and mentors, and formulate and test their strategy in a supportive environment.
DOES LAUNCH ALASKa HAVE A PARTICULAR INDUSTRY FOCUS?
We're looking for firms that solve problems with energy, water, transportation and food, with a priority on firms working on traditional energy issues like generation, transmission, storage and management (think 0s & 1s, electrons, hydrocarbons, BTUs and microgrids).
We know this is broad, and that's kind of the point. If your firm can help solve an Alaskan problem, and potentially scale to national or global markets, we should talk.
Why does Alaska need an accelerator?
A vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem makes everything better.
Innovative firms can play a leadership role in the solving some of the state's most intractable problems - from food insecurity to high energy costs, and from climate change to unemployment. Accelerators churn out companies that solve local, and then global, problems.
In addition, Launch Alaska helps add diversity to Alaska's economy - an economy that has been overly reliant on just one primary sector - oil - for decades. As the price of a barrel of oil has plummeted in recent years, Alaskans have received a first hand primer on the perils of over-reliance on a single commodity. By accelerating companies across multiple sectors, Launch Alaska helps broaden the economic base of the state.
Why is Launch Alaska a nonprofit corporation?
Because we’re focused on delivering experiential entrepreneurial education for the good of the entrepreneurs we work with and in order to contribute to Alaska’s private sector. Our mission is Powering the Founders of our Energy Future. Totally a nonprofit mission.
Is there a for-profit element of Launch Alaska?
Yes, our entity manages a for-profit fund that provides capital ($75,000) to each new company in the Customer Discovery Track. This approach is commonly used by accelerator programs globally.
If you’re funding companies, will they all be from Alaska?
No. We will recruit firms to join Launch Alaska from both in-state and out-of-state areas. Admission to the program is based on merit and potential, not location. That said, the accelerator program does operate here, and firms from outside would have to fully participate in the program, which requires an in-person presence of two team members during program events and summits.
If you’re funding companies, will they all stay in Alaska?
Research shows that over 50% of accelerated companies stay within their accelerator communities. This is because it’s where their capital, connections and mentors reside. As long as our community makes the startup talent welcome and helps them grow, we’re on strong footing.
How will you know if Launch Alaska is successful?
Four simple metrics:
- Do our companies still exist 1, 2 or 3+ years down the road?
- Do our companies raise any additional financing post-program?
- Do participants use the resources we offer them during the program?
- Finally, are participants solving challenges in Alaska?