Here at The Refiners we’ve been in a pretty good mood lately. Is it because it finally stopped raining here in California after the wettest winter in a decade? Well sorta, but that’s not the biggest reason. What’s really got us giving random high-fives around the office is the fact that in less than a week we’re kicking off Fleet #2!!
On Monday, March 20th, our fledgling tech pioneers will invade Silicon Valley and use PARISOMA, San Francisco’s longest running co-working space, as their command center. The 3-month mission for these 13 startups, selected from over 400 applications, is not to just come to Silicon Valley, but to crush it by any means necessary, and The Refiners is here to help them do just that. As a wise Jedi Master once said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
Now for those who are just getting to know us, what seems like a standard accelerator model on the outside should pause and take a look under the hood, because with a supercharged, rocket-fueled engine and The Refiners’ partners behind the wheel, this bad boy is anything but normal.
To prove our point we need to look no further than Fleet #2’s Godmother, Fidji Simo. Fidji will be attending the launch, continuously be present and involved, and act as the guiding force throughout the program. How cool is that? How cool is she for doing this for us?!
In a nutshell, here’s how the program operates. Month one starts out with a Silicon Valley acclimation and US readiness bootcamp. This can be a particularly painful process as we help the founders unlearn so much of what they’ve been taught in a life spent across an ocean (or during their MBA, gasp!) There is a tremendous amount of work to be done learning not only a new culture, but also consumer, corporate buyer and investor behaviors in an attempt to redefine their strategy and product/market fit in America. As the second month rolls around we’re now knee deep in The Refiner’s amazing network of world-class mentors. Sessions such as our Mentor Madness are a regular occurrence and feature 5-10 mentors per day that engage with the startups “speed dating style” where each startup comes prepared with one specific ask for each mentor.
Out of 56 mentor madness seats only 4 are left. It’s invite only, so if you’re interested in being a mentor at The Refiners you can go HERE to apply.***
As month 3 rolls into town we start the process of readying the startups for the grind that is raising money. We set the bar of “investor readiness” very, very high, and as the startups begin to graduate to this level they are given the access codes to unlock The Refiner’s bullpen of investors that includes such funds as Greylock, Ignition Partners, Crunchfund, General Catalyst, Partech, IDInvest or Newfund and others.
Our mentor network has grown to 172 of mentors and continues to grow stronger. Over the last few months we’ve been honored to welcome Rick Marini, Loic Le Meur, Phil Libin, Josh Elman, and Marvin Liao to the fold, and even a special visit to sit down with Reid Hoffman @Linkedin HQ who was kind enough to have the startups over to pick his brain for an afternoon. The Refiners family grows bigger and stronger everyday, and we are incredibly humbled by the continued introductions and kind words.
If you want to get an early glimpse of the new Fleet of change-makers then join us on March 28th at our Fleet #2 Welcome Party. We are expecting +250 people but tickets are almost gone (no joke) so if you want in you had better grab a ticket HERE now. And, as if you didn’t have enough reason to join, THE FROGS are going to play live!!***
Fleet #2 is shaping up to be an incredible batch, and not just relative to our amazing Fleet #1 but also in comparison to what we’re seeing coming out of some of Silicon Valley’s best accelerators on the whole. One of the tremendous advantages we have is that we operate out of “The Valley” and are acutely aware of what the trends are and where VC’s are making their bets. Being in touch with our network on a daily basis gives us an unparalleled competitive advantage in knowing not only what verticals are hot right now, but also why they’re hot so that we can disseminate that knowledge directly and immediately to our companies to help them position themselves and their products to effectively strike while the iron is hot.
We can promise that the interactions with our Fleet are going to be inspiring and thought provoking, as we’ve collected startups with amazingly diverse profiles. They include first time entrepreneurs to seasoned vets; wunderkids to battle tested grey-hairs; even the famous French jazz musician Andre Manoukian, who is one of the four judges on the long running show La Nouvelle Star (France’s version of The Voice).
Nothing about what Fleet #2 is bringing to America is boring to say the least. We’re diving into Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Marketplace, SaaS, Cloud, Education, Social Networking, IoT, Bots, Sports, and even Music. They also vary greatly in stage, with one company at pre-seed while another is already at Series A level.
Below you’ll find a list of the 12 startups; we encourage you to take an early peek at what’s coming:
Cloudscreener, a cloud decision engine that helps you find the most efficient resources that fit with your enterprise policies.
Gabsee a mobile app that allows users to express themselves through a 3D avatar in Augmented Reality.
Imuze an Interactive Music Composer to generate original music in minutes.
Inmemori an online platform to create personalized pages in memory of loved ones.
Jogabo a mobile app that allows you to make the most of every soccer game you play and helps you discover new games, wherever you are.
Neuralcat a software company dedicated to cognitive agents and Artificial Intelligence in edTech.
Talkus a Slack & Microsoft Teams based customer engagement and support solution for the SMB market.
The Beans lets you build an accurate and achievable financial plan in minutes, then handles the details of keeping you on track.
UniYo a smart messaging platform for education to engage with 100% of the campus.
Washos an on-demand car service app that sends you skilled technicians at your home or office.
Wezr a connected sensor to correct weather forecast in real-time.
Wingit the best platform to unearth in real time all the events posted on social networks by local insiders.
Fleet #1 was a roaring success on all accounts, no question. In total the Fleet is in the process of raising over $9mm, with one company deep in the process of securing partnerships with some of the biggest tech global players of today’s age. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it was through the contributions by the many of you who were involved with us on this journey that brought this dream to fruition for us. And it’s not only our community here locally taking notice. We are making a difference, and because of people like you, the tech world is starting to recognize it!
The Refiners cannot do this alone, nor do we want to. As Fleet #1 taught us, it “takes a village to raise a child.” And that’s where you, our valued and respected community, come into play. We definitely want to encourage those with the time, expertise and motivation to join us, so please drop us a line if you’d like to be involved. From kindergarten to corporate, there’s always a way to help.
Important Fleet #2 numbers and dates to note:
412 applications received
12 startups selected
$50-100,000 invested in each startup
264h program curriculum
+200 individual coach, mentor and investor meetings
March 20th: Start date
March 28th: Meet The Refiners Fleet #2 Fledglings
June 1st: Pitch Night
June 6th: Investor Bloom Party