Who we work with
What is an Industry Expert?
Coplex partners with Industry Experts to create high-growth technology companies. Our founders typically have at least 10 years of experience in the industry in which they are looking to solve a problem. Further, our founders have direct experience building, running, or operating companies. Alternatively, some of our founders come from senior leadership positions within the enterprise and gained experience running P&L's or divisions to gain business operating experience. The combination of business experience and industry knowledge is what Coplex looks for in founders coming through the program.
We do NOT expect our founders to have experience in building technology companies as many of our founders are starting their first technology company (albeit, not their first company).
What types of companies does Coplex work with?
Coplex builds technology companies. Most of our companies have a software platform at the center of the concept. The majority of our ventures are SaaS, marketplace, tech-enabled, or consumer apps.
The main criteria to work with Coplex is to have a business-savvy industry expert founder that is solving a problem in the space that they have experience.
Coplex also works with corporations looking to start new spin-out companies with their in-house industry experts. Please ask us for more information on our Corporate Innovation program.
What types of companies does Coplex not work with?
We do not build lifestyle businesses, consulting businesses (unless tech-enabled, somehow), on-premise software, MLM, or physical product companies.
Coplex has some fine lines with working on certain ‘vice’ industries (i.e. pornography, drugs, gambling, etc.). Check with us if you are not sure.
Is it okay if we are technical/coding founders?
Yes, so long as you’re an industry expert solving a problem in your domain. Also, regardless of your technical expertise, we do expect that you’ll be willing to let our coding team take the driver’s seat.
If you’re a coder founder, you’re also a great candidate for most other accelerators (Y Combinator, 500 Startups, Techstars), so we suggest that you weigh your options before beginning with us!
Does Coplex invest in my company?
We do not invest in companies to come through our 9mo program and we do not offset fees for additional equity in your company. Our 9mo program is $150,000 (broken into 3 payments) and we also take a 5% warrant in your company. We do typically invest to maintain our pro-rata position in your company on financing rounds after graduation.
Coplex plays an active role in building our companies and their technology. Unlike most accelerators, we provide a founding team to support you with bringing your business model to market. We provide experienced in-house technology resources (developers) and also support directly with branding, design, product development, maintenance, go-to-market, fundraising support, and much more during the program. This requires an investment, but will likely save hundreds of thousands of dollars, months of lost time, and equity handouts that come with assembling your own team.
Does Coplex offer financing options or payment plans?
The program is split into 3 payments of $50,000 to spread the investment over the 9mo term. At the end of each module, we have a "pivot or persevere" meeting, where together we decide if moving into the next module is in the companies best interest. If you require a different payment structure, please ask a member of our team.
Why do I need to invest instead of receiving funding like in other accelerators?
Most accelerators do actually charge a 'program fee' by taking a fee out of the equity investment that they make.
Because of the resources that we provide during the program, we have a different model. During our 9mo program, we provide a much more active role in helping you start your new tech company. We bring the team and get our hands dirty to support with business model shaping, branding, product development / technology build, go-to-market, UX design, maintenance, operational support, user acquisition, finance, formation work, and much more. Most accelerators do not provide hands-on resources that help to build your technology and your company.
Does Coplex take equity in my company? When?
Coplex takes a 5% warrant position in your new company at the start of the program.
Is it smart for me to mortgage my home to go through Coplex?
We would highly advise against that. It’s our rule of thumb that you should not invest more than 20% of your net worth into a new startup. This is a slightly different situation from investing in other startups (since you’ll be running it yourself), but startups are high-risk animals.
Early-stage startups are incredibly high-risk (but high potential) investment vehicles. If you’re stretching your finances too thin to do Coplex, consider circling up some investors before doing the program. We can share some tips on this if you’d like to connect with us.
We’ve already raised outside money, can we still do the Coplex program?
Yes, some of our ventures raise some outside capital before starting our program. However, if you already have a product in market and are generating real revenue, you’re probably a bit too far along for our program.
Why does Coplex take a warrant / equity in my company?
We won’t jump in and steer the ship, that’s all you. We don’t take a board seat or try to boss you around. Since it’s a warrant, you don’t have to worry about sending us a K-1 or anything of that nature.
With this model, we win when you win. This aligns incentives and common goals, and it also encourages us to continue to support you where we can after graduation.
Do I need to live in one of the Coplex locations to do the program?
Nope! It certainly helps to have you close so that you can more easily take advantage of our program offering, in-person sessions, private events, mentors, and get involved in your local tech ecosystem.
We do typically suggest 2-3 days in person each month at one of our locations to work with Coplex during the program.
Do I need to have an entity already formed? What type?
It’s not necessary to have an entity formed before starting our program. During the workshop, we can get you some great discounts on entity formation with our legal partners and work with you to ensure the proper structure is in place for future investments.
If you’re chomping at the bit to incorporate before the workshop, reach out to us and we can connect you with our legal partners directly. Further, if you’re going to do it on your own, we do require a Delaware C-Corp for the program.
Do I need to have a full business plan and deck to start?
Not at all, in fact we prefer you don't as they are often-times based on way too many untested assumptions. If you've done some research, customer development, and business model canvasing that’s great, but don’t worry too much about having all of this together before we start. The workshop with Coplex is designed to dive into the business model.
Is there an application or qualification process? How does Coplex choose which companies to work with?
We do have a qualification process that our team uses to determine if we're the right fit for each other. However, we don’t do application deadlines or batch approvals. We take the time to chat with you and understand your business concept / problem. If we’re a good fit, we do the 3-day workshop together and then after that is done there is yet another time for us to both evaluate if the Coplex program is the right match for your needs and style.
Can I work out of your office during the program?
We have a partnership with Galvanize in Seattle and PHX and we can get you a discount to have your own space at Galvanize. We don't offer coworking as part of our program.
Can I just hire Coplex to build my app?
While technology and product development (web and mobile apps) are a primary part of the Coplex program offering, we do not do standalone app development projects because we believe that the root to success is being strategic in the business approach in addition to the technical build.
If you’ve got your plan all spec’d out and you really just need someone to build the app, we’re probably not the best fit. We do have a wide range of trusted app development partners that we’d be happy to introduce you to. Feel free to contact us if we can support you!
How much time do we need to commit for the Coplex program?
We recommend that our ventures dedicate at least 20hrs/wk during the 9 month program to optimize their time with Coplex. Ideally, a full-time commitment to really move the needle.
Who is my point of contact in the program?
Your primary point of contact during the program will be the assigned Program Manager from the Coplex team. Our Program Managers have each helped dozens of ventures through the process of idea to seed-ready and know the journey intimately.
Do you work with companies that are potentially competitive with each other? Will you work with two of the same idea?
Coplex has worked with over 275 startups and we plan to grow to over 500 startups per year around the world by 2023. We oftentimes bump across similar ideas in the market and sometimes they may be a direct or indirect competitor.
Much like a snowflake, no two startup ideas are exactly alike. Usually there is some sort of special sauce to each of our ventures that makes its underlying business model unique. If your idea is an exact copy/paste of another venture, we’re probably not a great fit.
Can I do the program if I am not a US citizen? Can you help with Visa/immigration issues?
Yes, you can do the program as a non-US citizen. However, we do require that it is a US entity at this time. We can do the program remotely, as well, but some visits to the US will be required to take full advantage of the program.
We can refer you to some of our immigration partners who have experience in getting Visas for our ventures. However, we do not issue Visas directly.
How does Coplex help with raising capital after graduation?
In a few different ways.
- Personally matchmaking you with our vast investor network that loves industry expert dealflow.
- Assisting with fundraising materials, pitch deck, and data room.
- Providing the financial models needed to help close investment.
- Assist with structuring the terms of the investment (with your attorney).
- Coplex joining you in investor presentations and pitches.
- Sharing options and ways to find capital in the community.
- Leveraging Coplex Ventures relationships.
How can I become a Coplex mentor?
At Coplex, we keep a rolling group of 25 mentors with varying backgrounds and skills to pair with our ventures. Our mentors have held C-level positions at 100+ person companies or had $20M+ liquidity events. It's okay if they are not 'tech' companies.
We hand-select a mentor for each of our ventures that come through the program. We take the time to matchmake mentors with ventures that have overlap with their industry/skill sets.
If you are interested in becoming part of our mentor network, we'd love to connect. Contact us.
What is the time commitment of mentorship?
Our mentors need to commit (at minimum) 3hrs per quarter to support at some critical moments with our ventures. Most of our mentors commit around 6 hrs per quarter to support.
What is the caliber of mentors in the Coplex mentor network?
Each year, we maintain around 25 active mentors for our ventures. Our mentors are C-Level executives who have had a significant exit in their career. Collectively, our mentor network has amassed billions in exits.
Our favorite questions
Am I too old to start a tech startup?
Probably not! Unlike most accelerators, our founders don't fit the mold of the stereotypical 20-year-old coder. In fact, our founders are usually in their 40's. We wholeheartedly believe that the next wave of tech innovation is going to come from older, more experienced industry experts. We actually hit on this topic on a VentureBeat post, here, if you'd like to learn some more on why.
I'm visiting a city with a Coplex location, can I come and visit?
Of course! We love meeting new entrepreneurs of all paths and supporting our local ecosystems. Contact us and set up a time to come and visit or drop by for a coffee.
What are some real world examples of Lean Startup companies?
What are some real world examples of Lean Startup companies?