SparkStart as NYU’s leading student startup program run by students is here to support all stages of student entrepreneurs and startups. All you need to apply is a viable idea. The program has partnered with some of the leading tech companies, startups, founders, and industry players to help provide accepted startups and entrepreneurs in the program with great value and support.
As a year long program, the first stage is focused on idea validation, building a prototype, and using the Lean startup methodology to better iterate and pivot if needed. Teams will also learn to pitch and better execute with the help of mentors. The second stage of the program is highly focused on really reaching product market fit, fleshing out the business model and plan of each team, and scaling. Throughout the entire program, teams will be advised by EIA partners and will meet bi-weekly with EIA partners and mentors for an All hands. All hands is a key part of the program as it helps keep each team focused, motivated, updated, and allows EIA partners and mentors to suggest possible resources available to solve blocks. The program will finally conclude with a Demo Day, allowing each team to showcase their final product and raise capital if appropriate. SparkStart teams are highly encouraged to apply for the InnoVention competition and priority will be given to top SparkStart teams.
Build a Prototype
Learn & Execute
Final All Hands
Business Model Canvas (InnoVention Event)
Pitching (InnoVention Event)
Scaling and Growing (InnoVention Event)
EIA Demo Day
Each team’s co-founders must be comprised of at least one NYU graduate and/or undergraduate student. Non-students may be members or co-founders of the team and participate in planning the venture, however there must be at least one NYU student as a co-founder throughout the program. The minimum requirement to apply for the program is a viable idea. Each team must also be able to attend all program events, All hands, and meetings. EIA reserves the right to make unilateral decisions regarding eligibility and its decision shall be final.
Due to the nature of the program, non-disclosure statements will not be required from mentors, reviewers, EIA partners, faculty, audience participants or other parties involved with the planning or execution of the program. However, confidentiality and appropriate professionalism is expected of all participants. EIA reserves the right to distribute program materials for education and promotional purposes. Students and their teams will retain all proprietary rights.
Who can be on my team?
Anyone can join your team, but at least one student per team’s co-founders needs to be a current NYU student.
What’s the deadline to apply for SparkStart?
There is no deadline! We accept applications on a rolling basis to join our cohort. However, in order to fully enjoy all the resources and benefits of the program, we recommend applying before September 23th as that is when the program kicks off with the Launch Party.
What is needed to apply?
The SparkStart Application.
Why should I join SparkStart?
SparkStart, as the only student startup program run by students at NYU, will provide teams with the resources, connections, mentorships, and funding they need to get their idea off the ground. EIA partners’ connection with the NYC tech scene, startup community, and VC ecosystem allows you to gain access to key resources and funding in order to accelerate your startup. We have a close relationship with the NYU Future Labs to help our startups gain first hand experience with a vibrant supporter of the NYC startup scene. Our program is designed to help student startups of all stages especially early stage teams stay focus on key value propositions and indicators in order to better align efforts and resources.
What is the application process?
Each team will submit a SparkStart application. EIA partners will then review each application carefully and reach out to interview teams that we believe will be a good fit for SparkStart. After the interview process, we will then send acceptance letters to the selected teams. The application process is on a rolling-basis but teams that do apply earlier will be at an advantage. Please note that each team can only apply with the same idea once a year.
What is the interview process like?
Each team we select to move on to the interview process will sit down with EIA partners so that we can get a better understanding of your team, idea, and vision. All team members will have to be present for this interview. The interview can be done through Google Hangout if you have any remote team members.
What if I don’t have a co-founder?
You can still apply for SparkStart without a co-founder as a lone founder. However, we recommend you find a co-founder and we require all lone founders accepted into SparkStart to find a co-founder within 4 months into the program. If you are looking for a co-founder, consider going to Creation Hour to meet new people or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea and we may be able to introduce you to some people.
I’m on a team. Do all of my teammates need to submit an application?
No, only one team member needs to send an application. Please remember to include all team members’ names on your application.
Does NYU or EIA own my idea?
No, neither does NYU nor the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Association own your idea. The idea is completely yours.
Does NYU or EIA take any equity in my startup if I participate in SparkStart?
No, we do not take any of our companies’ equity. SparkStart is a non-profit program, solely here to support and help launch student startups.
What kind of funding will SparkStart provide?
SparkStart teams will have access to EIA funds on a per request basis as well as alternative funding resources (some exclusive to SparkStart teams).
How does mentorship work at SparkStart?
Teams will receive mentorship from industry leading mentors. A set of mentors will attend every other All hands to help you with any blocking issues or challenges you have. Teams are encouraged to develop close working relationships with compatible mentors. You will also have access a broader network of mentors and be able to tap into the EIA network when needed. EIA partners will be here to support you along this entire process, insuring you have access to the people you need to grow.
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CTO & Co-founder
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Lerer Hippeau Ventures
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NYC Media Lab
Brand Foundry Ventures
ff Venture Capital
CRV (Charles River Ventures)
VP Business Development
Sunrise Israel Tech Capital