Welcome to VentureLab: Pakistan’s First and Only ‘Ideas’ Accelerator specifically designed for Professionals and University Faculty.
There are five key guarantees that distinguish VentureLab from most (all) other incubators and accelerators in the country. These are:
1 Specially Designed for Professionals and University Faculty.
Unlike other incubators, VentureLab primarily focuses on Professionals and University Faculty. Only in a rare circumstance – of the brilliance of the idea or founder maturity – would we consider admitting a student team or a team of recent graduates. Most of our cohort comprises of to-be-entrepreneurs who have a strong domain knowledge or worldclass intellectual property and are willing to explore if they want to convert this into a venture. Majority of them would still be doing day-jobs when they join the accelerator and will decide sometime during or at the end of the accelerator if they want to quit and do this full time. By virtue of the above, ours cannot be a physical 5-days a week accelerator, though we do not discourage our cohort from participating in another physical incubator programme and get the benefits of both physical space and 5 days a week oversight AND our own unique blend of intense deep dives 5 weekends over 5 months.
2 Dedicated Mentors with Real World Company Building Experience and a Real Stake in Success
One of the most important features of the VentureLab Accelerator is access to Mentors who have built companies before. Every single team that is admitted in the Accelerator has to be accepted by at least one (ideally two) from our dedicated pool of mentors who have experience in doing what you’re trying to achieve. We try our utmost to pair every venture team with a dedicated mentor who has had the experience you require and guides and helps them through the incubation process. This engagement only increases (not decreases) once you’ve exited the ideas accelerator as long as you are willing to work harder on your venture. All this is possible only because these mentors have a real (although small) equity stake in your venture and they only succeed when you do.
3 Rigorous Selection Process
The admission process for the VentureLab is extremely rigorous and requires several steps before a decision is made. These include:
a) Filling out an Application Form and Providing a Slidedeck (if available)
b) Preliminary Screening of the Application Form
c) Preliminary Interview to assess eligibility and understanding of requirements
d) Round Robin Interviews with atleast 3 most relevant Mentors in our pool. We require positive feedback from at least one (ideally two) Mentor(s) to consider further.
e) Detailed Interviews with VentureLab Management Team to further assess personality fit and goals alignment, agree upon specific needs, and discuss expectations
f) Provincial Offer of Admission
e) Confirmation of Admission after Signing Accelerator Agreement
The above process is unlike used by any other incubator/accelerator in the country. We believe acceleration is a serious business and the decision cannot be made in one sitting or a single 3-5 minute pitch. Getting into a wrong programme can lead to the death of your idea. Our process ensures that we admit only the best with whom we can make a firm commitment to actually support them through the direct involvement of a Mentor.
4 Quality NOT Quantity Matters (to Us!)
We do not have any numbers of quotas of ventures we must absolutely admit. Through years of experience of working with innovators and entrepreneurs, we’ve come to believe in the power of small numbers. The fewer ventures you work with, the more time you’re able to spend with each entrepreneur/venture and the greater the likely impact you can make. Our Golden Number is not 40 startups per year, or 20 startups per cohort, but 6-8 startups in one cohort every year. We believe in spending more one-on-one quality time supporting, advising, and building these startups rather than graduating them factory-style. Of course, the time we spend with each team may be different depending upon need as well as degree of seriousness and hardwork demonstrated by the team.
5 Only Admit if We Can Add Value
The VentureLab Admission process and subsequent interactions are specially designed to identify ventures that we can really add value to. Unlike other incubators and accelerators, neither we nor our mentors get paid to do what we do for you. Our partners put in their own financial resources and mentors commit precious time to support the accelerator so whatever we do must have a laser-like focus on achieving an objective. We believe your time is precious, as is ours, and there is no point wasting your time if we cannot provide the support you need or add value to your venture. Prior to making you a provisional offer, we will sit down with you to discuss your future strategy and our assessment of your future needs as well as milestones and timelines. Only if we agree upon what needs to happen and outline a plan of our contribution do we make a provisional offer of admission.
If you feel our model of acceleration aligns with what you’re looking for, please go ahead and fill out the Accelerator Admission Application.