Published: March 15, 2019 By

A student participant pitches her venture at Catalyze demo day

Applications just opened for Catalyze CU, a summer-long startup accelerator with a track record of launching fledgling ideas on the path to successful ventures.

CU students, faculty and staff from any area of campus can participate in the program, which offers mentorship, equity-free funding and dedicated work space to help promising concepts become reality.

This year, Catalyze will expand from 10 weeks to 12 weeks and move from the Idea Forge to the Startup Hub at the Village Center – two steps designed to enhance the experience for participants.

“Whether you’re new to campus or preparing to graduate, Catalyze is the place to learn the skills you need to launch a startup and test the waters with a new idea,” said managing director Kyle Judah.

How does it work?

The program supports teams of individuals with an idea for a product or service that could have widespread appeal and marketability. The ideas defy categorization: past ventures have included educational technologies, connected devices and natural foods.

Applications are evaluated based on potential impact, progress on the idea to date, participants’ commitment to the program and the anticipated value each team could get from Catalyze. Students who commit to working on their venture full-time for the program’s duration will receive $3,000 for each full time founder on the team toward summer living expenses to allow them to participate fully in the program.

Students show off prototype at demo dayWith the help of dozens of successful local mentors, teams refine their concepts through weekly goal-setting and accountability sessions, skill and concept workshops, networking events and pitch coaching.

Formal programming to level up your startup skill set happens over lunchtime twice a week, leaving the majority of the week for flexible time to work on advancing your venture.

The program concludes in August with Demo Day, a celebration and showcase of each team’s progress through the summer in front of a packed house. Many ventures go on to join top-tier accelerators like Techstars, raise funding, win grants and launch successful Kickstarters.