The Virtual Accelerator is a 12-week venture development program tailored to the needs of early-stage startups. With a streamlined online framework, the Virtual Accelerator’s course content and mentorship opportunities empower founders to grow their businesses, pursue venture financing, and craft competitive applications for other programs.
Founders in the accelerator are paired with an expert coach who provides mentorship, support, and guidance. These mentors are community partners with deep experience building, scaling, and exiting successful startups. As part of Arizona’s ecosystem tools to enhance innovation in the state, the Virtual Accelerator utilizes the ACA Arizona Innovation Network (ACA IN), an asynchronous resource library and networking hub.
Through 12 weeks, early-stage entrepreneurs learn the skills necessary for commercializing a successful startup. Weekly learning modules cover topics ranging from understanding your value proposition and defining your problem statement all the way through effective go-to-market strategies and fundraising preparation.
Each week founders attend a live, virtual cohort meeting with ecosystem mentors and fellow founders, as well as ACA innovation experts, to learn that week's content. During these sessions, founders have the opportunity to source feedback from their multiple coaches in breakout groups. Founders may also access the ACA IN Resource Library to dive deeper into topics where more information may be useful. Furthermore, during weekly networking “watercooler” sessions, founders can network and solicit feedback from anyone in the program.
Following each week's live instruction, founders continue their learning through a series of value-added deliverables meant to be completed weekly. These deliverables allow founders to apply each workshop’s learnings to refine and further their businesses through design thinking tools, planning documents and investor communication documents. At the end of the accelerator, founders will have a battle-tested KPI Dashboard, experiment backlog, financial model, pitch deck, and company one-pager.
The Virtual Accelerator 2023 Summer Cohort applications are now closed.
- Applications Open: May 15, 2023
- Applications Close: June 2, 2023
- Founder/Coach Application Review and Next Steps: Week of June 5, 2023
- Founder/Coach Orientation: June 9, 2023
- Module 1: Week of June 12, 2023
- Module 12: Week of August 28, 2023
- Pitch Week 1: September 4, 2023
- Pitch Week 2: September 11, 2023
The Virtual Accelerator program is explicitly for early-stage founders, even those in the conceptual stage. The program is designed to equip companies with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the Arizona Innovation Challenge and other business plan competitions. If you are unsure whether the company in question is too mature or too early, please contact the program manager.
If you have any questions or comments about the Virtual Accelerator, please contact Joseph Bianchi.
Venture Development Manager