About The Program

We are an Austin, TX-based accelerator that funds maker-founders. We help people reach their full potential by creating an ecosystem to attract hard-working nerds, connect them with investors, and train them for success. In Russian, Sputnik means partner, and we want to be your companion for success.

Our formula:
(Nerds + Investment + Training + Mentoring) x Community = Success

Format

Our program provides start-up training, mentoring, and support to successful applicants. You will also get office space in our awesome location in downtown Austin for up to 4 team members (you can cram in more if needed, but you'll get room for four). Upon completion of the three-month program, held in Austin, TX, applicants will pitch to a group of VCs, and have opportunities for follow-on funding.

If selected, you will be required to reside in Austin, TX for the duration of the program.

If selected, you will receive a $100,000 investment via our SAFE note*. The SAFE note negates any need to haggle over your valuation. We prefer to just get to work, and let your results speak for itself. Please look at our sample note for full terms and conditions.

Sputnik ATX is focused on companies that already have a minimum viable product and at least one customer. We are open to most industries and verticals, excluding weapons, alcohol, recreational drugs, porn/adult, real estate, multi-level marketing, franchises, and restaurants. 

For more info on the program, check out these frequently asked questions and answers here.

*For UT Entrepreneur In Residence companies, funding is $10,000. Learn more about the UT X Sputnik EIR program, eligibility requirements and funding here.

 
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Build your value proposition

The first part of the curriculum is an intense focus on how to create massive consumer surplus. This involves not only an intense focus on product development skills, but also on how to engage your customers early and apply important strategic marketing knowledge to what you do. It is not enough to make something people want, you have to make something they can't live without.

Learn to sell

When you build something essential, you then have permission to grow. A lot of start-ups fail not because their product/service stinks, but because the company selling the product/service reeks to high heaven. We will help you learn to create a culture of success, avoid common start-up problems, and optimize your capital structure.

 

engage customers

We'll help you to understand why it pays to do things that don't scale, and how this approach will open the door to your first customers. We will also introduce you to valuable customer advisers, as a part of the curriculum, who will test and stretch your thinking in a way that engages customers rather than pushes a hard sell. We'll also show you how to create efficient distribution incentives, and build your sales channel while staying "ramen" lean.

Fundraising

As good as your company may be, if you run out of runway before take off, you crash. We'll show you how to raise money the right way, and introduce you to VCs (including ourselves) who fund companies like yours. We will help you develop a compelling pitch, and understand how investors think. Are you not a lawyer and confused about deal terms and valuation? Yeah, we cover that too, and help you to avoid wasting money on expensive attorneys in the early phase of your company.