Frequently Asked Questions
ThinkTank General Questions
ThinkTank Innovation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit innovation district formed by VentureMoney Management Co., in cooperation with academic institutions, government and corporate sponsors and partners.
Innovation districts enable companies, entrepreneurs, workers, researchers and investors to work across disparate sectors and institutions to commercialize ideas and co-invent and co-produce new discoveries for the market. They foster innovation across industries by concentrating people with different knowledge and expertise in dense urbanized areas; experts in technology, for example, work closely with experts in bioscience, finance, education, and energy. Innovation districts are, in essence, the vanguard of a new “convergence economy” which is galvanizing the growth of more competitive firms and higher quality jobs and spurring expansion in supportive professional and commercial service sectors.
ThinkTank is located within the WeWork co-working space at 8910 University Center Lane, San Diego, CA 92122.
We conducted an exhaustive global search before we chose to place ThinkTank Innovation in San Diego. San Diego was chosen for its strong communications, technology and global leading life sciences sectors, local innovators, green practices, smart public planning and an unparalleled quality of life. Recently, the National Geographic Channel named San Diego as one of its ten “World Smart Cities”.
We offer a variety of benefits to our program participants including: Mentorship, introductions to Investment Capital sources, Office Space, Market Access, Access to Our Networks, Web & Email Hosting, Cloud Computing, VoIP Phone Systems, Prototyping, Intellectual Property Protection, Back Office Services, Access to WeWork’s Offices Worldwide, Social Networking with Like-Minded Entrepreneurs, Employee Recruiting, Fast Enterprise-Grade Internet, Conference Rooms, Online Member Database, Legal Advice, a Physical Mailbox, all the Coffee You Can Drink, and a Community of Entrepreneurs to Exchange Ideas. See the partial list of perks and benefits here.
The ThinkTank Incubator is approximately 180 days in length and requires full-time dedication of your time during this period. Certain graduates of the ThinkTank Incubator will be invited to extend their participation in the program for an additional 18 to 24 months.
Yes. After your initial 90-days of participation in the ThinkTank Incubator, we will evaluate your business, management team and progress to date to determine if you qualify as a potential ThinkTank portfolio company. Those companies that do qualify will be presented with an investment offer from ThinkTank Innovation Fund at which time you will also be offered the opportunity to participate in the next 18 to 24 months of ThinkTank’s program. It will be totally up to you whether to accept our offer.
It is always our goal to help all of the companies that participate in our programs. As such, for those companies that do not qualify for an investment by the ThinkTank Innovation Fund, we will make introductions to angel investors, venture capital funds, strategic investors and other entities with whom we maintain a relationship.
We do not charge fees or take equity for participants that take part in our programs. In the case that your company is offered an investment by ThinkTank Innovation Fund or in the case of an investment by third-party or affiliated investors, the investor will provide you with an investment offer which may include the issuance of equity or debt by your company. You are not obligated to accept any investment offer made to you as a participant in our programs.
While we do not charge to participate in our programs, you are 100% responsible for all of your travel and living related expenses during the term of the program in which you are participating.
ThinkTank Innovation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are funded with a combination of donations from individuals, corporations and select venture capital companies that have an interest in assisting early-stage technology companies with the goal of eventually making in investment in the companies that show the most promise.
Generally, applicants must be an early-stage company within one of our technology themes and must be focused on commercialization and the idea or technology should have defensible value (e.g., a patent, trade secret, copyright, know-how, etc.) or the potential to obtain it while offering a significant potential to scale the business.
Interested companies must apply for admission via our online application. The ThinkTank Incubator Admission Committee evaluates each application on a case-by-case basis. Admissions is based on the evaluation of the business idea/concept, the strength and capabilities of the applicant’s management team and the prospects of success of the applicant company.
ThinkTank’s Incubator program is a 24 week, intensive, full-time program that is meant for early-stage technology companies that may need help in completing their business plan or market validating their product or service offering. Most incubator participants have yet to reach angel funding or Series A financing rounds. ThinkTank Incubator participants are selected from a range of applicants based on the merits of their business.
The ThinkTank Foundry program, is an 18 to 24-month program customized to meet the specific needs of each participant. Participants in the Accelerator are later-stage companies that are seeking mentors and other experts to assist them going to market and reaching scale. ThinkTank Foundry participants must be invited into the program, typically from participants of our ThinkTank Incubator program.
If you are thinking about using the services of an incubator/accelerator and are still raising Seed, Angel or Series A funding, then our Incubator programs might be right for you.
Yes. Our programs provide different levels of intellectual property evaluation and help entrepreneurs in developing strategies to protect their intellectual property including one-on-one interaction with one of the world’s leading IP law firms.
We typically target approximately 30 companies in each class and we conduct one class a year starting in June. The number of participants in each program may change depending on the number of individuals choosing to participate for each company that is admitted.
Each company that is accepted into ThinkTank’s Incubator programs typically involve from 2 to 3 employee/founders for the Program.
ThinkTank currently has in excess of 50 mentors and advisors each of which possess certain expertise in the various industry themes in which we support. During the application process we attempt to link our mentors to those companies in which their expertise is relevant and will assign those mentors to your company if you are accepted into the program.
You can view the members of our Advisory Council here. We are constantly adding members to our Advisory Council with new and broad-reaching areas of expertise. Contact us if you have specific questions about your particular situation.
While we won’t explicitly deny you entry into our Incubator, you do need to demonstrate that you possess the ability to make your company a success. Our experience with most businesses is that it takes a team combining technical, business, and analytical skills to provide you with the best chances of succeeding. As such, companies with only one employee/founder will have to exhibit exceptional merit to be admitted into the Incubator program.
Yes. Our programs are designed around a combination of classroom, laboratory and mentoring interaction which requires you to be present in our facility in San Diego. As such, you will need to relocate to San Diego for a minimum of twelve-weeks to participate in our Incubator.
Yes. ThinkTank works with a number of local law firms and visa consultants with experience in helping entrepreneurs in obtaining the necessary Visa to allow you access to the U.S. if you are accepted into one of our programs, we will do everything in our power to assist you in your efforts to obtain an appropriate Visa.
While students are not excluded from applying, admission into the incubator requires that you be a legally formed company, or well-thought-out idea, with a leadership team able to dedicate time and energy into the business to ensure its success. It is our experience that college students do not possess the available time to participate in the Program in a manner where you would realize the full benefits offered. Feel free to contact us to discuss your particular situation.
The ThinkTank Incubator program is a broad-based curriculum that should help you answer the following questions related to your business:
- Am I addressing a problem worth solving? What do I do if not?
- How should I structure my business? Why does that matter?
- How do I connect my product to stakeholders through storytelling?
- How do I gain and leverage early adopters?
- Do I need to raise funding? If yes, when and from whom?
- How will I need to iterate my product and prices to fit the market?
- How do I scale my business?
- How do I build my team?
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