Since the application deadline (3/18), I’ve been getting lots of questions related to the Jumpstart Foundry selection process. Many people are curious and want answers to questions falling into four general categories:
- How many apps did we receive?
- What is the quality level of the applicant pool?
- How will we select the 2011 class?
- When will we announce the winners?
To date, I have avoided theseinquiries because I have been fearful of providing an unfair informational advantage to some applicants or causing unnecessary worry over the selection process. However 8 days into the process – I think it is time for a little disclosure.
How many apps did we receive?
It is our policy not to reveal the exact number of applicants. However I am willing to say that I was slightly nervous about the number of applicants that we received early in the process. Our success depends on finding the right combination of Founders, Concept and Plan. There are many ways that an application can land in the “great app – just not right for JSF” pile. In short – we need to kiss a lot of frogs to find six princes. If we don’t have enough applicants the model breaks down.
However, in the last week of our application period, we received a flood of apps. I guess I should have expected that many entrepreneurs were taking the maximum allowable time to perfect their application (or it could have been good old fashion procrastinating). Whatever the reason, it was an incredible experience to see the apps flow in during the last few days. In about 24 hours, I went from slightly nervous about too little deal flow to overwhelmed and recruiting people to help read apps. Over the last week, a small group of us have been pouring over lots and lots of apps…. A good problem!
What is the quality level?
The applications are very, VERY strong. I wasn’t sure what to expect but JSF will have a strong deep class for the 2011 program. This is exciting to look forward to, but there is a lot of work in getting down to the best 6 groups.
One interesting way to convey the depth and quality of the applicants (without giving away proprietary info) is to describe the geographic diversity of our applicants. We have received apps from the following geographic areas:
Atlanta, Boston, Chattanooga, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Huntsville, Knoxville, Los Angeles, Memphis, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Haven, New York, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, St. Louis, Tucson, and Washington DC
Canada, England, Italy, India, Romania, Spain, and Slovakia
How will we select the 2011 class?
During the last 10 days, the JSF team has read every application (often multiple times). We made notes of good, bad and confusing aspects of each. This has resulted in a good general understanding of which apps are strong, which are not very strong and which we will need to get more info before we can make a proper assessment.
Over the next two weeks, JSF will involve our Mentors and Angels in the review process. This will allow us to gain additional perspective as well as leverage the deep industry knowledge that we have in the JSF family. We will also be following up with many applicants in order to gather more data or ask clarifying questions.
We will then rank the applications from most to least promising and conduct interviews starting with the best teams.
When will we announce the winners?
We will announce the six company participants in the 2011 JSF program, all at onc,e as soon as the complete cohort is known. We are attempting to balance a desire to be fair to all applicants with our desire to get find our class and get started helping them as soon as possible.