Frequently Asked Questions

What is a “Virtual Accelerator Program”?

While the program includes a few mandatory in-person convenings in San Francisco, cohort companies are not required to relocate. However, companies that do opt to relocate have the option of receiving up to four months of desk space for team members.

Programming lasts approximately four months, with targeted content and feedback delivered via phone/video meetings, web-based presentations, and online collaboration. The program kicks off in person in February and ends with an in-person Demo Day in May.

Does my company have to be based in SF to participate?

No, we accept applications from all over the world. We do require you to be in SF for a few dates during the 4 month program (e.g. Kick Off and Demo Day), but you may be based out of wherever you think is best for your business to thrive.

Who can apply to the Michelson Runway Accelerator?

Michelson Runway is open to entrepreneurs working to develop engaging, technology-enabled learning experiences, design tools, assessments, and other products that support students in the postsecondary education market.

What is the eligibility criteria?

To be eligible for funding, applicants must be working on projects that are aligned with the Michelson 20MM Foundation’s mission of using technology to support opportunities for increased access, affordability, and student success in traditional and alternative higher education markets.

Can the founders be students?

Unfortunately, no. We are looking for founders who are able to commit 100% of their time and energy to their company.

What kind of startups are you looking for?

We are looking for teams who are creating products in the following areas:

  • Learning analytics and adaptive learning tools;
  • Tools that help institutions to adopt competency-based education;
  • Novel approaches to vocational education;
  • Tools that help at-risk students persist and succeed in traditional education programs by improving engagement;
  • Tools providing alternative models of financing education

What company/product stage is the program designed to support?

Michelson Runway is happy to support companies in early and growth stages, creating products across a wide developmental spectrum. To be considered for funding, applicants must submit at least one product as part of their application (prototypes are also accepted).

What type of financial support will selected applicants receive?

Select startups will receive a $25K-$150K equity investment via a SAFE note (an agreement popularized by Y Combinator) with up to an additional $150K investment in follow-on funding. Startups will also receive over $400,000 worth of benefits and perks from our partners.

Does Michelson Runway receive equity from the participants?

Yes, Michelson Runway will receive future equity from selected companies. All financial support distributed to participants will take the form of SAFE (simple agreement for future equity).

What is SAFE?

Developed by Y Combinator, SAFE stands for simple agreement for future equity and is intended to replace convertible notes in most cases.

Learn More About SAFE

When is the latest I can send updates to my application?

You may send in updates to your application until Friday January 5, 2018 11:59pmPT to with subject line “[Startup Name] MR Application Update on [MM/DD/YY]” Note one consolidated update is preferred to multiple updates.

Do you invest outside of the Michelson Runway Accelerator?

Yes, the Michelson team also invests in seed to series A stage companies (we typically don’t lead and are happy to go with existing/standard terms) that typically have more traction and/or more experienced founding teams. You may submit materials via the accelerator application then send a note to to indicate interest in investment outside the accelerator program.