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Catalyst Program

Grants and In-Kind Support to New York Organizations and
Businesses to Develop Early-Stage Technology Ventures

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Blue Ridge Labs @Robin Hood

Conf. Date:

02/24/20

Deadline Date:

03/09/20 11:59 PM EST

Description:

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Grants of $60,000 and in-kind support to New York organizations and startup businesses to support and develop early-stage social technology ventures in eligible regions. Funding is intended to create products that improve the quality of life for low-income residents. Grantees will receive coaching to help build, test, and launch scalable technology platforms. Catalyst targets ventures that focus on low-income Americans with a particular emphasis on New York City.

Catalyst caters to teams working in any vertical, as long as the product aims to differentially improve the lives of low-income New Yorkers and has a technology component. The strongest candidates for Catalyst are teams that have developed and launched a small-scale version of their product into the world and are ready to apply what they’ve learned through that process towards building a scalable platform.

Over the course of six months, as part of a small cohort of other founders, grantees will build an enhanced version of their product and get it into the hands of real people for feedback and validation. In parallel, they will receive assistance to identify the other resources they will need to be successful over the long-term, such as funding, team members, and partners – and will receive assistance in putting the systems in place to do this well.

Grantees will receive:

  • Funding: Cash, plus health insurance reimbursements and a dedicated research budget.
  • Product Support: Hands-on coaching to help you build, test, and launch a scalable tech platform.
  • Human Capital: Executive coaching to strengthen your core team. Plus, connections to external talent, advisors, and potential partners.
  • Community: Free space in Blue Ridge Labs co-working community in Brooklyn and access to a wider ecosystem of social impact organizations

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 160747

Estimated Size of Grant:

$60,000

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Blue Ridge Labs accepts both non-profit and for-profit social ventures. Teams must be aligned with the mission to improve the lives of low-income New Yorkers. Applications will also be accepted from teams that have yet to decide on how they plan to incorporate and want to use this time to explore different structures and make that decision.

Teams that are based outside of New York City will be considered provided they can commit to sending at least one full-time team member to all of the program sessions in Brooklyn.

While there are no hard rules, the best fit teams for Catalyst are typically less than 2-3 years old and have raised less than $400,000 in total funding to date. In addition, Blue Ridge Labs is looking for ventures that:
- Currently deliver a product or service to low-income New Yorkers or plan to do so by October 2020
- Are strongly committed to improving the lives of New Yorkers
- Use technology as a key part of their solution
- Have between one and five full-time team members
- Are incorporated or plan to incorporate in the next 6-12 months as either a nonprofit or for-profit social venture, and
- Preferably, have at least one full-time team member who can work from NYC for the duration of the program but at a minimum can commit to our remote attendance policy.

Blue Ridge Labs is committed to fostering a community that values diverse perspectives and experiences, particularly from those who we aim to serve. They actively seek founders from, or who have worked closely with, historically marginalized groups, including but not limited to: people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ people, first- or second-generation immigrants, and people from low-income families.

Pre-proposal Conference:

There will be an Open House on Feb 24, 5:30-7:30pm to find out more about the Catalyst program, meet the Blue Ridge Labs team, and hear directly from alum about their Catalyst experiences.
For more information, and to register, see: https://labs.robinhood.org/events/open-house-for-catalyst-2020/.

For informational webinars and other events, see https://labs.robinhood.org/events/.

Pre-Application Information:

Key Dates for 2020:
- Applications open February 3, at 9:00am EST
- Applications close: March 9, at 11:59pm EST
- Interviews and Impact Assessments from March 16th through May 1st
- Final Applicants Selected: Mid-May (TBD)
- Program Starts: June 11

Frequently Asked Questions: https://labs.robinhood.org/catalyst-faq

More about the BRL Team: https://labs.robinhood.org/about/

Watch a pre-recorded webinar from a prior year at https://labs.robinhood.org/2018CatalystWebinar.mp4.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply at: https://labs.robinhood.org/catalyst-application/

Blue Ridge Labs
@Robin Hood
150 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY
blueridgelabs@robinhood.org

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York

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