If your question isn't one of our most frequently asked below, contact us.
There are lots of accelerators, why should I apply to XRC?
- We run a small and focused program, with only 10 startups per session. This lets our team of mentors and sponsors really focus on helping foster each company’s success
- We understand your business. Our sponsors and mentors are world-class experts in the retail and consumer goods spaces
What areas does XRC focus on?
We focus on areas with the most disruption that are having the most profound effects within the massive retail and consumer goods space. These include:
- Customer experience
- Supply chain execution
- PRODUCT DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT
- 3D printing
- 3D manufacturing
- 3D design
- Fast fashion
- DATA SCIENCE
- Consumer insights
- Consumer sentiment
- (IoT) Internet of Things
- Consumer behavior
- Video analytics
What is XRC not focusing on?
A better mousetrap is not of particular interest to us unless it ties into one of the disruption trends above. POS technology by itself is not interesting. But a better POS that manages to seamlessly integrate mobile, in-store and online? That is interesting.
That said, the application process is not a game of buzzword bingo. Just throwing together POS and mobile won’t raise your app to the top of the pile. Demonstrating an understanding of the next level of detail is critical.
How does XRC finance startups?
We provide $135,000 in seed investment upon acceptance into XRC Labs broken up into two instruments. We invest $60,000 in exchange for future 6 percent equity in your company when you do a preferred equity round. We use the SAFE document that greatly simplifies the legal setup. We also offer a $75,000 safe note with a 20% discount and a $4 million cap. In turn, we require your company to pay a one time fee of $35,000 for all of the services (office space, mentorship, retail and brand relationships and connections) as well as perks such as free internet hosting and services, sponsored meals, etc. Our mentoring and advisory services bring the top experts in consumer goods and retail to help you grow your business.
Whether you are a tech startup selling to retail, a new omni-channel retailer or a consumer goods company shipping a cool product, our advisors will help you navigate the complexities of retail and help you establish relationships many of the top retailers in the country.
There is immeasurable value in the connections and advice that you’ll receive when you join XRC. For example, during our Investor Demo Day, held two weeks before the end of the program, you will have the opportunity to pitch to angel investors, venture capitalists, strategic investors and potential customers.
What sorts of companies do you fund?
We fund technology companies improving the consumer omnichannel experience, new consumer goods suppliers, and new retail and distribution companies.
Do you fund companies that are competitive with each other?
Sometimes, yes. But never within the same 14-week program.
Why does XRC take stock in my new company?
Like you, we’re entrepreneurs. Our ecosystem of partners and mentors will provide you levels of experience and exposure that would otherwise take years to create. We are motivated to help you succeed by introducing you to the people who help you refine your strategy, find new investors, and vault into your next phase of growth.
Is my company too far along to apply to XRC Labs?
Absolutely not. Unlike other accelerators, we are stage-agnostic. We took this position because we know how hard it is to capture market share and shelf-space in retail. We know it’s not enough to launch a website wait for the dollars to appear.
Can I do anything to improve my chances? Such as emailing mentors to get their interest or scheduling a visit?
No. As it is, we are overwhelmed with inquiries. We have an application process for a reason: to keep the playing field level and fair.
Here’s the thing. We like referrals. But the referral has to be real. Unless the mentor really knows you, don’t ask them to help.
In short, unsolicited or unwelcome advances won’t increase your chances—on the contrary, you’re likely to irritate mentors who are bombarded with requests for referrals of companies they do not know. If our mentors get upset, we get upset. And that doesn’t help anyone. Please don’t bombard them with emails.
Can I meet with you in person?
We will meet with every applicant who clears our first screen. So, and we mean this in the nicest possible way: don’t call us. We will call you.
Do I have to be there for the entire 14-week period?
No. But you must be primarily based on-site during the program. This is because many of the benefits of the accelerator are the ecosystem—meeting, in person, with a wide variety of influencers and mentors. It benefits you to be here because you can take advantage of numerous learning opportunities, networking, and coaching.
Do I have to stay in the city in which the accelerator is located when the program ends?
No. It’s your company, so you’ll live where you want to.
What else does XRC Labs provide? Office space, internet, legal, hosting, etc.?
Being in NYC, our space is limited. Thanks to the generosity of Founding Sponsor Parsons School of Design, we can provide working and meeting spaces, as well as a nice lounge all with fast and reliable wireless Internet access. Still, many of our founders choose to work from their apartments, local cafes, or co-working spaces. It’s up to you. Here’s a full list of perks that XRC Lab companies automatically receive, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Basically, we’ll help you get everything covered with minimal expense. We just want you to focus on creating a great product while you’re here, and not have to worry about the other stuff.
How can we get funded after XRC Labs ends?
While we provide some funding, you will likely need more funding to really make it. Near the end of the program, we’ll run an Investor Demo Day where angel investors and venture capitalists from all over the country will check out your technology, solution or products, and listen to your pitch. We’ll coach you so you’re as effective as possible, and do everything we can do help get you additional funding in the two weeks after Demo Day. The accelerator itself may also decide to put further investment into your company.
What sort of control am I giving up by granting equity to XRC Labs?
None. XRC Labs will be treated like a co-founder. We don’t want any special or controlling interests in your company. We won’t ask for a board seat or for any uncommon investor rights. It’s your baby. You nurture it in the way that makes the most sense to you and your teammates.
I'm a single founder. Can I get accepted into XRC Labs, or do you only look for teams?
There is the law of probability, and then there is the law of possibility. It is possible to launch a successful startup as a single founder but it is not as probable compared to having a co-founder. People much smarter than we have written volumes on this. The operative word here is balance. It’s hard for one person to do everything. So we consider single founders, but we also know the odds and we account for them in our calculations.
So: we strongly advise you to find a co-founder who balances your skillset. It tells us a few important things. First, you are aware of your own strengths and weaknesses – a key trait for a future leader. Second, it tells us that you are investing critical time in building team that brings strengths that balance out your own weaknesses.
The classic split of responsibility typically forms between the technical and the business side of things. But as design and user experience becomes more and more important, the split may look a little different for your company. The key is identifying the traits required to succeed in your market and building a team that meets those criteria.
How can I find a co-founder with whom I can apply to XRC Labs?
There are a number of meetups and founder-dating websites. We are sure that you can do the research well to find a great co-founder.
Where will we live while we're there?
We wish we could help you there. It’s New York. No one has as much space as they want. If you’re accepted into XRC Labs, we immediately assign someone on our end to help you find housing, but we are not a rental agency.
How do you choose which companies to accept into the program and to fund?
Great teams are worth as much or more than great products any day of the week because environments change, and great teams change with them. Slack is an obvious and terrific example.
We will choose great founders proposing products that solve real problems or create meaningful innovations. For us, it’s about the team.
With that said, the best things you can do to strengthen your application are:
- Round out your team with the necessary skills that you believe you need to succeed
- Make progress on your prototype or product and reference it in the application
Is my age a factor in your selection process?
When will I hear back about my application?
We try our best to notify applicants at least one month before the program begins. So have your go bag ready.
Do I need to send in a business plan?
Nope. Just fill out the informal online application.
When is the deadline to apply and what's the overall timeline?
Check the schedule for details. We encourage applicants to submit by the early deadline so we have more time to get to know your team. It also allows you more time to demonstrate progress and traction during the application process. Once you have submitted, you can’t edit the fields. That’s okay! You can always add notes, video URLs, and progress details in the notes section.
Do I have to work out of the XRC Labs office?
No. But you must be primarily based on site during the program. This is because many of the benefits of the accelerator are the ecosystem—meeting, in person, with a wide variety of influencers and mentors. It benefits you to be here because you can take advantage of numerous learning opportunities, networking, and coaching. Our space is tight, but we have near-24/7 access and fast, reliable Internet access.
What will a typical day be like for a XRC Labs founder?
It’s your company, so you’ll be hard at work on your product or service. Two or three nights a week, we’ll organize informal educational sessions with our mentors. We also expect many of the mentors to drop in to XRC Labs at various times throughout the program. In general though, you’ll be working on your product each day, just like all of the other founders in the program. And we’ll make sure you have lots of experienced mentors around to help you.
Can I apply if I'm not from the United States?
Yes. As long as you and your team can be in the USA legally for the duration of the 14-week program, please do. We have accepted overseas founders in the past and love getting applications from all over the globe.
Can I apply if our company or founders are not from the USA? Can you help with Visa/immigration issues?
Yes, you can apply, but no, we can’t help with visa or immigration issues beyond connecting you with those in our network with expertise in these areas. We will not be able to sponsor you.
I'm concerned that if I apply, you won't protect my intellectual property. Should I be worried about this?
No. We don’t steal ideas and will protect your application as confidential information..But don’t take our word for it. Paul Graham says it better than we ever could here.
Our objective is to accelerate and propel your startup to the next level. If you believe your idea is so easily duplicated and requires no execution effort, then maybe XRC is not right for you. For this and other practical reasons, please don’t ask us to sign an NDA.
Our application does not ask for your “secret sauce” and there is no reason you have to disclose this to us if you’re not comfortable doing so. We hope that our reputation speaks for itself on this topic.
I don't have an idea yet, but I'm a strong developer or designer looking for a great opportunity. Does XRC Labs have a way to help me?
Formally, not yet. Informally, yes. Ping us and we will try to connect you to folks looking for a co-founder that complements your skillset.
My team outsources software development. Are we still qualified to apply?
Yes. We think it’s best not to outsource what you are, but it obviously works in some cases. We’re happy to consider any application. Just remember that we’re primarily focused on the team.