What happens at the Thunder LaunchPad?
In partnership with the Oklahoma City Thunder we provide founders with the space and resources they need to launch and grow companies. Every year we host two 12-week batches (cohorts of companies) to help founders conceive, design and scale ventures. Participating founders benefit from free space and a suite of shared services to help get their company in the best possible shape to go after funding. Throughout the 12 weeks, we work with founders to develop growth strategies and scalable operational models. At the end of the program, founders present their company to investors and relevant stakeholders.
How much do you invest?
Our commitment is to founders, not shareholders. That's why we invest in resources not capital. In addition to providing free space, we spend significant money and resources building seasoned teams around the founders we host. Because we don't invest capital, we don't take equity or board seats in the companies we support. This means founders don't have to dilute control of their companies. We've seen too many investors try to control companies they
invest in, and despite best intentions, end up destroying them. Founders need capital and support but also independence. That's why we try to interfere as
little as possible. We provide a ton of advice but we don't force founders to take it. We understand the need for independence, the most successful startups we've seen do things differently - that's why they are successful.
Who do you fund?
We invest in innovation-driven entrepreneurs with scalable ventures. If your idea or startup is solving a major problem through innovation and technology, we want to talk to you. We are particularly interested in ventures striving to transform traditional industries in the Midwest - Agriculture, Energy, Health, Government, Education and Financial Services.
We've been working on our startup for a while, does it make sense for us to apply?
Yes! In fact we like working on proven concepts that just need that little extra help and resources to achieve scalability.
Do I have to write a business plan?
Nope! Not for us. We make decisions based on application form, demos and 60 second videos.
Will you sign an NDA?
No. And for the record, you will not find a VC firm that will at this early stage. We are not interested in stealing your idea. We get to see a lot of ideas through decks, demos and applications - few are indeed innovative or new, the true value is in building and executing. Check out this article by John Rampton Why VCs Don't Sign NDAs and You Shouldn't Worry About It.
Do I have to come in every day during the 12 weeks of the program?
No. We provide you space in case you need it - but we understand the need for flexibility. We want you building, selling and scaling - not being tied to a desk. We do require that you make it to Meet the Founders Day, to every dinner/workshop on Wednesday evenings and to Demo Day. You are also required to work with us to develop a measurable action plan so we can collectively track your progress while in our program. If your business requires you to be out of town, we will work with you so you can still participate in the events while attending your business.
If I go through the program, am I guaranteed to receive funding?
No. Our commitment is to help you get your company in the best possible shape to go after funding by building a team of experts around you and by introducing you to our network of in and out of state investors, but we can't guarantee that they will fund you. What we do guarantee is that we will work with you to identify sources of funding and evaluate the right one for you. We've worked with investors, angels, VC and private equity firms, through our network, we can help you navigate through the process. A lot of times, founders are desperate for money (because they don't have the resources we aim to provide), and end up taking money from just about anyone one - including VC's and investors that don't have their best interest in mind. Most VC's say they are founder friendly, only a few truly are. We will help you strategize on how to identify, evaluate and engage with VCs. Investors perform extensive due diligence when investing in founders - you should too before giving control of your company.
Why didn't my application make it through?
Believe us - we know how expensive it is to pass on opportunities. We try to our best to select the most promising ideas, startups, founders - but we can only host a few. Please don't take it personal and consider applying again to our next batch.
Investor Accreditation Standards
These criteria are established to protect potential members by ensuring that they can comfortably tolerate the risk associated with early stage investing. To qualify as an accredited investor, a member must have at least one of the following:
Individual net worth, or joint net worth with your spouse exceeding $1,000,000 USD excluding the value of your primary home
Individual yearly income of at least $200,000 USD for at least three consecutive years
Joint yearly income with your spouse of at least $300,000 USD for at least three consecutive years
A legal person (such as a family office, corporation or trust) with assets exceeding $5,000,000 USD
We strive to build a community we can all be proud of. Therefore Founders going through the Thunder LaunchPad Accelerator program must hold themselves to the highest standards.
As part of a community that values integrity, humility, diversity and most importantly the act of ‘Give First’ and ‘Pay-it-Forward’ – we recognize we are ambassadors of the brand and of each other. We understand we have a reputation to uphold for ourselves, our fellow and future Founders.
WHY WE DO IT
StitchCrew was born out of a strong belief that the most pressing challenges we face today will not be solved through policy or traditional mindset, but by disruptive technologies, bold entrepreneurs and open collaboration. We are entrepreneurs at heart and technology enthusiasts. We believe in moonshot thinking, exponential technology and sharing economies. We get our energy from working with like-minded people. We are committed to sharing our experience, expertise and relations to fuel startups and organizations whose products, services and customer experience are (or would like to be) driven by innovation and inclusive capitalism.
As part of the StitchCrew and Thunder LaunchPad' community, I understand that those who do not abide by this Code of Conduct will be removed from the community and will no longer have access to associated benefits.
Our Code of Conduct is guided by these core values:
Success without Integrity is Failure
Hustle and Stay Humble
We exist to help founders – of all backgrounds, regardless of pedigree or development stage. We are intentional about creating a give first and pay-it-forward cycle. We proactively look for opportunities to fuel the startup community and innovation ecosystem in our region. We give first to those in our community without expecting anything in return. We make it a priority to help those around us. We are respectful of each other’s time. When we need help, we are clear on our requests and we don’t take advantage of people’s time. No one builds a startup alone; thus why we always demonstrate a sense of gratitude to our customers, mentors, investors, partners and stakeholders.
SUCCESS WITHOUT INTEGRITY IS FAILURE
Transparency in communications is key to building an integral company and honesty is crucial to developing lasting relationships. We strive to be clear, honest and transparent. When we are entrusted with sensitive, confidential or personal information we use appropriate measures to secure it. We respect requests for privacy and confidentiality. We do not intentionally omit important and relevant factual information in an effort to deceive others. We communicate with our investors by sending agreed upon updates and we are always responsive to their inquiries. We keep our promises. If we commit to do something, we do our best to do it. If we can’t keep our promises, we strive to make it right. We do right by our customers. We strive to deliver products that our customers actually want and need. We seek to exceed customer expectations. We don’t burn bridges. If we fail, we do it with dignity. If we go out of business, we will notify our customers and make their data available to them with at least 60 days in advance. We will advise every one of our investors and provide the chance to discuss what went wrong in an honest and transparent conversation. If we know the company is going to fail, we attempt to return as much capital to investors as possible. We disclose known conflicts of interest early. We err on the side of too much disclosure. We do not steal assets or content.
We commit to building inclusive, non-hostile, open, and welcoming workplaces. We want employees, partners, customers and mentors to feel accepted and free to express their opinions, concerns, and needs with an expectation that they will be heard and respected. We don’t tolerate illegal discrimination or harassment in any form. We will quickly fire employees who do this, and train our employees to recognize and address bad behavior. We will ban or fire mentors, investors, employees, contractors and others who discriminate or harass others. We seek diverse perspective and embrace diversity. We commit to building inclusive work environments, which lead to better companies. We build and stand up for others. We appropriately intervene in situations when we witness violations of this Code and report violations. We are reachable and responsive. We will enable standard forms of communication so that anyone doing business with us can have a reasonable expectation of receiving a response in a timely fashion. We participate in both offline and online forums with respect. We participate in respectful discourse in all forums. We do not comment anonymously or with false identities. We respect our legal agreements. We do not attempt to circumvent their intentions. We do not attack others electronically. We don’t maliciously attack others using scripts, robots, or similar techniques. We are not spammers. We do not send bulk unsolicited email nor do we scrape contact lists and abuse them. We don’t harass prospective customers who have clearly said no to us and opted out of communications. We always work for the benefit of our company, not for our own personal benefit. As founders, we do everything we can to ensure the happiness and professional growth of our employees. We avoid gossip. We don’t share disparaging comments and rumors about others. We are constructive in our feedback and always provide it directly to the individual or company to which it pertains.
Distributing, using or being under the influence of illegal drugs (defined by U.S. federal law) is not permitted while participating or engaging in any Accelerator program or event. While alcohol may be provided at various social events, underage drinking is prohibited and we expect everyone to drink responsibly and in moderation.
HUSTLE AND STAY HUMBLE
We are focused on results. We dream and think exponentially but we know its all about the execution. We brainstorm but most importantly we make decisions and act on them. We obsess over customers, not competitors. We are one hundred percent committed to our customers and delivering an optimal customer and user experience. We take risk for market leadership. We make employees think like owners. We don’t do Bravado. We know what we don’t know. We ask for help. We understand the difference between facts and opinions. We are open to feedback and advice from anyone: good, bad and indifferent. It doesn’t mean we have to take it. It simply means we understand the value of feedback vs. validation. We strive to do what is best for our customers, employees and long-term view of our company. We encourage and respect independent, innovating thinking. We don’t spend money on unnecessary things that do not benefit our customers. Above all, we are always grateful.
The StitchCrew and ThunderLaunchPad Founders Code of Conduct is a living document established and managed by our community. For suggested changes, please contact us.
If you have witnessed a violation of our Code of Conduct please report it here
Entrepreneurs build the future, grow and diversify our economy organically. By becoming part of our Mentor Network, you are fueling the startup community and supporting the growth of the innovation economy, right here in the Midwest.
We divide mentors into two main groups: lead mentors and subject matter mentors. The difference is time commitment, not ability to help. Lead mentors spend more time with Founders while SMMs help out where they can.
You must attend at least two events throughout the duration of the program and interact with the companies and the founders that you are interested in through Office Hours (scheduled at your convenience). As the program progresses, your interaction with the companies will be self-driven, driven by company interest, or as requested through StitchCrew.
SUBJECT MATTER MENTOR (SMM)
You commit to working with at least one company per batch. You agree to be available to speak at least one event to address a specific topic that matches your experience. As the program progresses, your interaction with the company will be self-driven, driven by company interest, or as requested through StitchCrew.
Our Mentor Network is our secret sauce. That's why we developed a criteria of what we look for in a Mentor and a Code to live by.
Our Network consists of individuals from in and out of state with deep industry, investment, operations or entrepreneurship experience. Mentors in this community are not financially compensated throughout the program. They work with the companies pro bono, without expectation of reward or compensation. They share their knowledge and guidance freely and open their networks when appropriate. The success of the companies are a direct result of the generous contributions of mentors.
- Strive to be a good listener
- Understand the value of pay-it-fwd, give first and expect nothing in return.
- Are genuine and lead by example.
- Are direct, tell the truth but are not an a$$ about it.
- Learn as much from the Founders as the Founders from them.
- Are responsive.
- Can hold information in confidence.
- Know what they don’t know & are cool about it. Bravado is not their thing.
- Guide not control. Understand Founders must make their own decisions. It’s their company, not ours.
- Are optimistic and understand Founders may not be where they need to be but they may be able to help them get there.
- Provide tangible, actionable advice and avoid being vague.
- Are empathetic, because they've been there. Startups are hard.
- Challenge but are 'never' destructive.
- Yes! Mentors can invest and engage in company operations - 'at' the Founders discretion, we just ask that these engagements be done independent of the Thunder LaunchPad.
Did we lose you? Good, keep reading.
We'll start by assessing business model and current stage. From there we'll work with the Founders to develop an action plan of tangible deliverables to be achieved throughout the 12 week program. Each week we monitor progress and invite subject matter mentors to speak on a variety of subjects, from Startup Mechanics to Fundraising and Negotiation.
SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT
In the coming days, you'll receive a detailed brief on each of the ten companies. This brief will explain more about what each company is building, the stage they are in and a list of objectives. The brief will also include gaps and areas where they need support. Once you receive briefs, we'll ask that you get back to us with your list of companies you feel excited about and can add value. We will then schedule one hour introduction meetings with each of the Founders.