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Catalyst Program

Grants to New York City Businesses and Nonprofits
to Further Develop Early-Stage Social Tech

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Blue Ridge Labs @Robin Hood

Conf. Date:

08/22/18

Deadline Date:

09/03/18 11:59 PM EST

Description:

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Grants of $50,000 to New York City nonprofits and startup businesses to turn early-stage social technology ventures into scalable technology platforms that will deliver a service to New Yorkers. Funding is intended to develop the platforms for both nonprofit and for-profit uses that will have an impact on the community.

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.

These early versions can be extremely low-tech or cobbled together from existing tools (think Google Docs and Typeform). They may only have been used successfully by a few dozen people. The critical element is that they have been used by real people in the real world. And that this has happened as many times as it takes for the founders to validate the need for the product, refine the process by which it delivers value, and identify the barriers to scale that need to be addressed by new platforms and systems.

What the Catalyst program provides:

- Funding: $50,000, plus health insurance reimbursements and a dedicated research budget.
- Product Support: Hands-on coaching to help build, test, and launch a scalable tech platform.
- Human Capital: Executive coaching to strengthen the core team. Plus, connections to external talent, advisors, and potential partners.
- Community: Free space in our co-working community and access to a wider ecosystem of social impact organizations

Over the course of six months, as part of a small cohort of other founders, Blue Ridge Labs will help applicants build version 2.0 of their product and get it into the hands of real people for feedback and validation. In parallel, Blue Ridge Labs will work with applicants to identify the other resources needed to be successful over the long-term – things like funding, team members, and partners – and will help put the systems in place to do this well.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 160747

Estimated Size of Grant:

$50,000, plus health insurance reimbursements and a dedicated research budget.

Term of Contract:

The grant will take place over the course of six months.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

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 to the above, 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 April 2019
- 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 the remote attendance policy.

Blue Ridge Labs is committed to fostering a community that values diverse perspectives and experiences, particularly from those who they aim to serve. Blue Ridge Labs actively seeks 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:

Come to an open house on August 14 from 5:30 - 7:30 PM at BRL office in Brooklyn, New York:
https://labs.robinhood.org/events/open-house-for-catalyst-2018/

Join a weekly webinar on August 8 and August 22 from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM.

August 8th: https://labs.robinhood.org/events/catalyst-information-webinar-3/
August 22nd: https://labs.robinhood.org/events/catalyst-information-webinar-4/

Pre-Application Information:

Key Dates for 2018:
- Applications open July 31 at 9:00 AM EST
- Applications close: September 3 at 11:59 PM EST
- Investment Committee meeting: Mid-October
- Program Starts: November 5th, 2018
- Program Ends: April 26, 2019

FAQ: https://labs.robinhood.org/catalyst-faq

Contact Information:

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

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

Blue Ridge Labs
@Robin Hood
150 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York