Tech Wildcatters is no stranger to breaking the mold and finding a better model, and the accelerator is making waves once again by breaking their own model and introducing what they call The Gauntlet. Tech Wildcatters is using their experience to better understand what has and what has not worked when it comes to the accelerator model and applying the many lessons learned to create change in the market and create better opportunity for their startups. Last week, Tech Wildcatters hosted their first pitch day using the new Gauntlet model and the vibe was exciting.
The Gauntlet is an entirely new model that was unrolled in March, and sees the elimination of the typical 12 to 16 week programs replaced with an open-ended support and development. There is the expectation that there will be specific benchmarks met before there is any investment with each level equating more investment. Every two months a new group of startups will join Tech Wildcatters, and Melissa Repko of The Dallas Morning News, writes that in the first month alone there was revenue of around $167,000 more than any previous accelerator class.
Evan Hoopfer of the Dallas Business Journal reported on the pitch day events and was able to get an insider view of the eleven startups that were featured at the House of Blues.
Referencing the new format, Hoopfer quoted Dawson Barksale, the founder of Cyphr, as saying “It’s good for both parties. It weeds out the people who don’t really know what they’re doing, or want to do what they’re doing, and it also lets the investors know who’s real and who’s not.”
The old model certainly was not broken, but the success and interest in The Gauntlet highlight that there is a lot of excitement about the new model and the opportunity to update the accelerator model. Hoopfer highlights that this program really forces startups to prove that they are in it and really want to put in the effort and energy to create success.
While the investment amounts may be broken up into smaller amounts over a longer period of time Angela Shah of Xconomy points out that there is greater opportunity for the handful of startups that reach level 5, the top tier, and receive the entire $30,000 in funding. For the small handful that will make it to level 5, they will qualify for $100,000 in additional seed funding.