How are you giving your voting rights back to the founding team?
For general pre-seed to Series A investments, we will attach a side letter to our investment, forfeiting our voting shares back to the main founders or the CEO. We will still keep some basic protection for ourselves – for example, we won’t give you the right to just cancel our shares.
How involved will you be in our company?
We want to help you make progress. You will have the option to reach out to us and schedule office hours with us as often as you want.
Are you only investing in U.S.-based companies or in international ones too?
Both are OK. The only thing important to us is that you have the support you need wherever you are based.
Are you interested in specific areas/technologies?
We are interested in novel technologies that have the potential to make a big difference in people’s lives. Our main focus right now is life science companies but are definitely open to funding other areas as well.
What are you looking for?
Our goal is to help more technical teams run their own companies. At least one founder should have started working full-time for the company already or should be able to transition to a full-time role upon financing. We care most about the quality of the founders and try to be agnostic about ideas as we know there are less-fashionable ideas that could become very impactful in the future.
Will you introduce us to other investors?
Yes. We will introduce you to investors from our network that we think might be interested in supporting you.
Does the company need to be incorporated already?
No. We can help you through the company formation process. It’s also fine if you’ve created the entity already.
Will you provide lab space?
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.
Are team members expected to leave their existing roles?
We require at least one technical 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.
Do you take any ownership in the IP?
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.
Are you open to funding computer scientists and/or engineers for software or hardware companies?
Yes we are.
Does everyone on the founding team have to be technical?
Not everyone on the team has to have a technical background but it is important to us that technical founders are part of the full-time founding team. If you are not technical, you should probably at least be ‘technically-literate’, i.e. capable of intimately understanding the science/technology your company is working on and communicating clearly with the technical team.
Do I need a team?
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 working with you.
If you would like to join a startup or looking for a co-founder you can also sign up here. We’ll try our best to find a good match.
Questions about SciFounder Fellowship:
How much equity do you take?
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.
What’s the end of the program?
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.
What obligations come with the funding? Can we use it for our own salaries?
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.
Do we need to write up a professional business plan? I only have experience writing grants, not business plans.
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.