FAQ

What types of businesses does 9Mile Labs focus on?

9Mile will accept applications for B2B-focused businesses. What does B2B mean? It implies that your primary customer is another company, not an individual consumer.


How much funding do companies in the 9Mile Labs program receive?

Each startup receives $35,000 in funding at the beginning of the program.


What else does a startup receive as part of the 9Mile Labs program?

Startups receive access to our wide network of mentors and advisors who have extensive startup, technology, business, and functional experience. Startups also get great perks such as free workspace, internet access, and hosting from both Amazon and Microsoft.

At the end of the 9Mile Labs program, the startups in the program have the opportunity to showcase their businesses to corporate customers, investors, industry influencers, friends and family at Milestone9 (the 9Mile Labs Demo Day).


What does 9Mile Labs receive from the startups?

9Mile Labs receives 8% equity in the form of Common Stock. Common Stock implies that no board seats, unusual voting rights, veto rights, or other controls are granted to 9Mile Labs.


Who are the 9Mile Labs mentors?

A complete list of 9Mile Labs mentors with short bios can be found on the Mentors page.

The 9Mile Labs mentors come from a cross-section of the high-tech industry. A majority of the mentors are successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, and business veterans from the startup world. Many are executives from the high-tech business world who have excelled in an executive or functional capacity. Yet others are VCs and angel investors who have worked extensively with startups.


How are startups assigned mentors?

Right after the start of the application process, 9Mile Labs will organize one or more networking events to allow the startups to network with the mentors. These events will be scheduled both before and after the final cohort is selected. This allows all startups to interact with the mentors, regardless of their selection status into the 9Mile Labs program.

In addition to the networking events, the partners in 9Mile Labs will conduct many face-to-face meetings with startups leading up to their selection into the cohort. This will allow the 9ML partner team to get a very good idea about areas of strength and those needing help.

The combination of the informal networking and the gap assessment by the 9ML partners will be utilized to assign mentors to the companies.


How do startups get funded after the 9Mile Labs program ends?

9Mile Labs provides you a stipend of $35,000 that is meant to sustain your for the duration of the program. 9Mile Labs will start introducing you to investors, including VCs, angels and angel investing organizations, around the mid-point of the program. To prepare you for these meetings, 9Mile Labs, along with the mentors, will coach you to help you secure your next round of funding.


I believe I’m too far along to benefit from 9Mile Labs. Should I apply?

Your startup is not too late to apply if you believe you can benefit from:

  • Dedicated coaching and mentoring from a world-class set of entrepreneurs and professionals.
  • A community of B2B startups working and building together.
  • A guided and focused push to discover the product-market fit by applying customer development and lean startup methodologies.

Do I have to work out of the 9Mile facilities for the entire 4 month period?

Yes, we expect all startups in the program to work from the 9Mile Labs facilities for the 4 months of the program.

We believe that one of the greatest benefits from the 9Mile Labs program is the cross-pollination of ideas and strategies among the startups in the program. In addition, the value of the daily mentoring and coaching from the experienced 9Mile team further improves your odds of success.


Do I have to stay Seattle when the program ends after 4 months?

No. It’s your company, so you can run it from the location that best suits your needs.


Tell me more about the networking and educational opportunities.

9Mile Labs will organize dinners and networking events on a fairly regular basis and invite our mentors to speak on a relevant topic. These will be presented as appropriate by highly-successful entrepreneurs, angel investors, legal experts, venture capitalists, investment bankers, etc. Sometimes, we’ll just organize a brief talk with Q&A by a CEO or CTO of a well-known local startup. We may even venture out to some of these companies and do a session there. All of these sessions will be very informal and give you plenty of time to interact with the mentors personally.


What if my company doesn’t ultimately succeed?

Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember, raising the next round of funding at Demo Day is not a guarantee of a successful exit. Similarly, failure to raise the next funding round does not mean that you will never succeed at getting an exit. We promise you that the sheer learning you will gain and the number of doors this program will open for you will be well worth the effort.

You’ve probably heard that only 1 in 10 startups ever get an exit. All we’re trying to do is systematically improve those odds of success through right coaching and mentoring in the formative stages of your startup.


How do you choose which companies to accept into the program and to fund?

We look for few things in the startups we work with:

  • A solid team (typically we won’t accept individuals) of 2-3 co-founders–at least 1-2 of these people will be technical.
  • A significantly large target market with adequate head-room for growth.
  • A well-thought out hypothesis for the business model that is articulated using the Business Model Canvas.
  • The potential to build a sustainable advantage over competitors.

Do I need to send in a business plan?

No.  Just fill out our online application.


When is the deadline to apply and what’s the overall timeline?

Applications for the 9Mile Labs Cohort II program can be submitted starting October 7, 2013. Application deadline is November 18, 2013.


What happens after I submit the application?

After we receive your application, we run it through a very well-defined 9Mile success framework. This framework allows us to conduct our assessment in a fair and rational manner.

If we like your application, we’ll invite you for a face-to-face meeting regarding your startup. After we conduct this face-to-face meeting, we will let you know on or before December 20, 2013 if you were accepted into the program or not.

Before the program starts on January 15, 2014, we will organize a few networking and social events for you to interact with the rest of your cohort and with mentors.