RevUp will admit two cohorts per 12-month period, each of 5 months’ duration. Each Cohort will have two tracks – one track for “equity-seeking MSEs” pursuing an incubation programme and the other track representing “growth-seeking MSEs” principally pursuing a training programme. We will strive to include as many female founders as possible.
The Programme will be delivered virtually, using digital platforms.
Selection for the Incubator Programme for startups and early stage firms
The task is to identify the best Founders of early stage ventures that have the potential for high growth and access to financing by the end of the incubation period, or shortly after. RevUP will use a four-step process to ferret out the best candidates.
- An online application via www.revupcaribbean.com. In 2021 the cohort will be exclusively comprised of Founders from Jamaica. As of 2022, RevUP will also consider applicants from the Caribbean. Participants must be fluent in English.
- Short-listing of candidates
- An interview/on-line assessment
- Selection of candidates for the Cohort.
Selection and graduation of Founders are critical for a successful incubator. The screening process is designed to meet RevUP’s mission and ensure that the firms selected will benefit from its value-added services.
The basic evaluation criteria to be used by the Selection Committee include:
- Stage of Development
- Market attractiveness
- Innovation and technology
- MVP and traction
- Business model
- Potential for growth
- Quality of the Team
- Willingness to accept guidance throughout the incubation period
- Ability to pay.
Formalising the Incubation Agreement
Once accepted, Founders and their teams will be required to sign a binding agreement which details:
- The obligations of the Incubator
- The obligations of the Founders and their teams
Business Support Model
The 5-month incubator programme is designed to increase the likelihood of successful development of early stage and growth stage companies, facilitating growth that is beyond what each participating company could achieve on its own. Offering value-adding services will be key to RevUP’s ability to successfully nurture high growth firms, provide them with access to capital, help them grow and scale and generate jobs and wealth.
RevUP will draw on the vast human and resources of our Partners – a cadre of trainers, professionals, including lawyers, IP Lawyers, accountants, auditors, tax specialists, marketing and management consultants, valuation specialists, human resource and others – to support its clients. Our key partners include the National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited (NCBJ) and the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF). We expect to onboard other key partners who will be leveraged to provide the most appropriate support needed for Founders to grow and scale their businesses profitably and sustainably.
The 5-month incubation programme will have the following components:
A. 360 Degree Assessment and Strategic Planning
After completing the on-line application, Founders selected for the Incubation Programme will complete a structured psychometric assessment and participate in an on-line interview. Each Founder will map their vision with defined goals and objectives, and together with the Management team, perform an analysis to identify the gaps between the current status and the vision. The Founder, with guidance from the Management team, will design a strategic growth plan that will fill these gaps and facilitate the business achieving the vision.
B. Match-making with Mentors
Mentorship is considered a critical foundational component for building a successful start-up or early stage company. Research has conclusively shown that early-stage businesses that have received mentorship have superior survivability rates when compared to non-mentored businesses.
RevUP and its Partner, the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) will provide a pool of trained and certified international mentors and train and certify local mentors who will join our mentor pool.
The pool of Mentors will come from two sources:
- International Mentors who have already been trained and certified by the WBAF,
- Local and regional Mentors who may elect to be trained and certified by WBAF
RevUP’s team will, in collaboration with WBAF, develop a pool of professionals who are willing to serve as mentors and business advisors for client companies. Mentors and Advisors will be selected based on their experience with the client’s industry sector and stage of development. Each business participating in the programme will be assigned one or more mentors who will play key roles in supporting the Founders and their teams over the life of the programme and beyond. The Mentors in the RevUP pool will have been trained and certified to ensure their effectiveness in their roles and there will be a match-making activity to ensure that Founders are matched with the right mentors.
C. Investment Readiness Programme
- Understanding Angel Investment and How to Pitch
D. Training Programme – Establishing the Founder as a Business Development Leader
- Going Digital
- Becoming a Million Dollar Marketer
- Develop Business and Marketing Acumen
- Achieving Product-Market Fit
- Customer Psychology and the Buying Process
- Sales Models and Processes
- Creating Growth through Relationships with Customers and Partners
- Effective Communication – how and where to talk to your Customers
- Introduction to Accounting and Finance
- Business and Tax Laws
- Building Financial Projections to Achieve Business Goals
- Corporate Governance
- Managing Talent and Culture
- Strategy, Growth and Scaling
E. Pitch to Angel Investors
Throughout the incubation programme, the Management team, Mentors and Trainers will be evaluating the companies to decide which of them are ready to make a pitch for equity capital from the Angel investors in the FirstAngelsJA Network and other investors, or approach NCB or another commercial bank to apply for debt financing.
Over a three week period, Founders will get an opportunity to make a pitch presentation to panels of Angel Investors. The panels will typically consist of no less than 8 investors, who will listen to and formally evaluate the pitches and determine if the businesses are a good fit with their portfolios.
Angel investors will be broadly looking at the following factors in the businesses in which they invest:
- The business should solve an intense pain that is known to a big market – local market size >US$3M
- The business will have a clear competitive edge with the potential for leverage and scale as the business grows, attractive unit economies through validated distribution channel. Competitors should be identified, and differentiators validated. There should be a clear sense of how the business competes in the competitive environment and how the market changes over time.
- There should be a unique contract / technology that almost guarantees business & market position
- A complete and committed (invested own money and resources) core group of talent that works well as a founding team and can execute on a clear set of milestones. The team should have relevant industry experience (previous startup experience would be an asset)
- The revenue model & metrics, pricing, average account size, sales & distribution model and customer pipeline should be presented in a clear and logical manner. The milestones that the business will realistically hit with the new capital should be clear. Financial projections (P&L and cash flow forecasts) for 5 years, should be realistic and achievable. The most important thing to convey is that the Founders understand the economics and evolution of a growing, dynamic business, and that the vision of growth is grounded in an understanding of practical reality.
- A financing “ask” that will make the business a success, as well as the expectations of the angels in the partnership. The amount to be raised should not be arbitrary – the numbers should reflect the “story” and the Founders’ pre-money valuation of the business. Investors want to see that the team can hit the key milestones and that the right amount of money is being requested to get the business to a meaningful next step in its growth cycle.
- An exit strategy for the investors.
F. Weekend Retreat facilitated by McKinsey & Company
The final activity for each Cohort is a virtual weekend retreat, facilitated by McKinsey & Company’s SME Practice Fuel, on “How to become a Successful CEO”. Loaded with insights from McKinsey’s proprietary database on CEO performance, the largest of its kind, containing 25 years’ worth of data on 7,800 CEOs from 3,500 public companies across 70 countries and 24 industries, McKinsey’s will engage Founders in discussions and exercises on what it takes to become a successful CEO.