Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need an business idea to apply to INVANTI?
No. In fact, if you already have an idea that you are passionate about pursuing, we are not a good fit for you. We are looking for people we call initiators -- those who have the entrepreneurial itch, are ready to take a risk and start a company, but don’t have an idea for a venture yet. You'll notice in our application that there is no mention of ideas, companies, or pitch decks.
Is this a full-time commitment?
Yes. Our entrepreneurs move to South Bend, IN for a six-month commitment. We give you the time, space, and resources to work full-time on finding and vetting an opportunity that you are excited about spending the next phase of your life building.
Who is eligible?
We generally look for people who already have work experience and are passionate about the problems that we are solving. We do not require sector expertise, a background in business, any specific major, or a college degree. We think attacking these problems from all sorts of angles with people from all sorts of backgrounds drastically increases our ability to find innovative solutions. That being said, we do look for people who have a history of starting things, whether that is a club, an organization, a company, or other things. We care deeply about our cohorts being diverse, so we spend time intentionally letting women, minorities, and all others underrepresented in entrepreneurship know that we want you here!
If you've applied in the past, feel free to apply again - we'd love to hear what you've been up to since you applied last.
How does the application process work?
We accept applications on a rolling basis (applications for Cohort 2 are open March 30 - May 7, 2018). There are three stages to the process: (1) the online application, (2) an opportunity recognition exercise, and (3) an interview and reference check. Since we accept applications on a rolling basis, applying early can be an advantage, as offers may be made before the application deadline closes!
What is your track record of starting companies?
Check out our Cohort 1 page! You can read about the people in our first cohort, their backgrounds, and the startups that they are now pursuing after their six months in INVANTI.
If this is a full-time commitment, how do your entrepreneurs support themselves?
We offer a monthly stipend of $1,250 to our entrepreneurs to help defray living costs while in the cohort. One of the advantages of living in South Bend is that it is a very affordable city!
What does INVANTI take in return for all the resources offered?
We see ourselves as your co-founders. Between the problem research we provide, our de-risking process, our network of mentors and funders, the stipend, and launch support funds, we think we can play a pivotal role in helping you start a company. In return for all of this, we take a 9% equity stake in the company you create.
Am I required to stay in South Bend after the six-months is over?
No. We want you to make the decision of where to locate based on what is best for your company. We hope that you will see why we believe that South Bend is a great place to build an early-stage company (all four of our Cohort 1 businesses have chosen to stay), but at the end of the day, we want you and your company to be successful, wherever that may take you. Whether you chose to build here or just start here, South Bend will be proud to be part of your founding story.
Are there other financial resources available beside the monthly stipend?
Yes. We provide up to $5,000 to each company created to be used for launch support. This may go toward first prototypes, travel, incorporation fees, websites, etc. This disbursement of these funds is dependent on hitting certain milestones in our process.
How many people are in a cohort? How do cofounders work?
We had five people in Cohort 1 and are aiming to have 6-8 people in Cohort 2. We do not require you to have a cofounder from the cohort, although we highly recommend finding one in general. Based on our first cohort, working with others in the cohort can significantly increase the speed at which you can make progress, especially in the beginning. While this may turn into a cofounder relationship (Hurry Home is a good example of this), it is in no way required or expected.
What if I don't find a business to start?
While we obviously do not plan on this being the case, entrepreneurship is a risky game and it's possible that you will walk away at the end of the six months without a venture that you are willing to start. Past cohort members have decided that with a little more time, they think they can make enough progress to launch, in which case we will try to aid in any way possible. If this is not possible, we hope there will be chances to jump on the team of another cohort member or one of our alumni companies. Finally, if none of these options happen, and you end up moving on to your next endeavor, you do not owe INVANTI anything in return. We think that for the right people, INVANTI provides a chance to be supported in a way that is hard to find anywhere else for an aspiring entrepreneur, and even if a company is not started, the experience will be invaluable in your next undertaking.