FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do you provide office space to admitted companies?
An early iteration of TiE ScaleUp provided space but we found that many of the companies in a "Seed to Series A" stage already had office space. If you are interested in learning about co-working spaces in the Boston/Cambridge area, we can connect you to our partners to find out more information.
What happens if I miss a session?
This is tough. We curate the content so that the action plan happens in the session and even if any slides were presented are shared - the experience will not be the same. For this reason, we strongly encourage founders to reschedule so they may attend the session or ensure that at least one member of the team is present to capture the learnings.
Can I send additional members of my team?
Absolutely! We actually encourage the founding team to attend the sessions as the content helps the team level set and find clarity in the operations of the startup.
When and where are the sessions held?
We try to schedule sessions towards the second half of the day to end when rush hour has subsided. We announce the schedule dates and times at the beginning of the program to admitted candidates. Sessions are held at the CIC in Kendall Square or DT Boston. Some sessions may be held in the offices of our partners to provide a different learning experience.
What is a "C-Suite Roundtable?"
The C-Suite Roundtable is one of the most enjoyed components of the program. This is a time reserved for c-suite members to share their triumphs and ask for guidance on their most pressing challenges. Being an entrepreneur is lonely and there are times when it feels that there is no safe space to vent and share what is keeping one up at night. This is a confidential space where founders in a similar growth stage are able to brainstorm solutions to challenges and provide support to each other. Some view it as a peer support group, some view it as an additional program resource to help scale a company. The TiE Boston office has very little involvement in this experience as we want to ensure founders feel free to share with each other.
What are "Pop-Up Sessions?" What are the topics?
"Pop-Up Sessions" are topic sessions that are not part of the required curriculum and may not be relevant to everyone in the cohort. Past "Pop Up Sessions" have included FDA approval, navigating insurance as a buyer, SBIR grants, etc. These sessions are driven by demand of the cohort and vary from year to year. Based on the interested companies, we schedule the session to match company availabity with the faciliator and host the session in a large conference room at the CIC.
Who teaches the sessions?
Sessions are taught by professors of leading MBA programs, serial entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the startup community. TiE ScaleUp Faculty vary each year due to availability and travel but we do our best to ensure quality of the sessions with the changes. TiE ScaleUp Faculty for the upcoming cohort are announced at the start of the program.
Do you provide refreshments during the sessions?
We provide snacks and heavy appetizers along with beverages during the sessions. If you have any allergies or restricitons, just let the program manager know. Some beer and a few bottles of wine also tend to make an appearance!
Can I pick and choose which sessions I attend?
The core curriculum is built in a structure that builds upon each other throughout the course of the program. Even if a company feels that they have the topic session covered, we still encourage attendance as the framework and plan developed may be leveraged in future sessions. Due to the nature of the room, dialling in is not a pleasant experience so we do not offer it. A lot of the learning happens in the session so we do encourage founders and their team to invest the time in attending the session. We make sure you have a meaningful experience and it's a nice break from the grind to reflect upon your growth.
What happens if I have a call during the session and I can't reschedule it.
It happens! If you need to step out for a call, just notify the program manager and we can reserve a phone booth for you at the CIC.
How am I matched to a mentor?
Through the review process, you share the nature of your challenges and what you are hoping to achieve in the program. Once you are confirmed, we start bringing in mentors from our mentor pool that have the background and expertise to help you. We host a "Pre-Launch Mentor Mixer" so you can meet the potential mentors and they can meet you. After the event, we ask you which mentors you would like to work with and we ask the mentors which companies they would like to help. Upon review of the rank order, we match 2 mentors for each company!
What if I don't like my mentor(s)?
We haven't experienced this yet but there is a first time for everything! If you are having challenges with your mentor(s), you can contact our "Mentor Ombusdman" Satish Tadikonda. Satish can jump in and help ensure a successful continuation of the relationship.
Will I receive a list of the mentors?
Admitted companies will receive a list of all mentors who have opted in for consideration for Cohort 5. As the list can be overwhelming, the taskforce helps to curate suggestions for the company.
How often and where do mentors and companies meet?
Based on feedback from past mentors and companies, we recommend that companies and mentors connect for 1-2 hours every 3-4 weeks. In addition, mentors and companies may have quick calls during the week to touchbase on a few items that arise. We recommend that companies and mentors meet in-person for a longer duration of time in the beginning. Meetings happen in the offices of the companies or the mentors, in coffee shops or if needed, can happen in a conference room at the CIC.
Can anyone be a mentor?
In short - no. We set a high standard for our mentors and they must have not only demonstrated the ability to successfully scale and exit a company - they need to be enjoyable to work with! Individuals who are excellent but may not have the history to be a mentor are part of our community of "subject matter experts" who can help you with challenges specific to a component of your startup!
If I want to talk to someone in the mentor pool who is not my mentor, can I reach out to them?
Absolutely! We encourage continued engagement and resources but we defer to you on what you need and when you need it. If you are reaching out to a mentor who is currently mentoring a company, please note that coordinating a meeting may take additional time due to busy schedules.
What is a "subject matter expert?"
A "subject matter expert" is a valuable resource to the companies in our program. These individuals have specialized experience in a particular area such as marketing, finance, sales, etc. These individuals are avaialble to companies in the cohort as well as alumni for ongoing advice and guidance.
What if I disagree with the advice of my mentors?
It happens and we feel that at the end of the day - YOU are the CEO. We advise our companies to be coaches to the CEO and the CEO makes the final decision on execution.
What are VC Practice Pitches?
"VC Practice Pitches" are a wonderful thing! VCs in the area meet with our companies so they may test out their pitch and receive feedback on how to make it better. We try to pair companies into small groups (2-3 companies) to meet with a VC. They take turns in front of each other while pitching to the VC. Pitching in groups sounds weird but companies report that they have an incredible learning experience during the process.
Can you help me raise my next round?
We are often asked by our alumni companies to help them prepare for their next round. Whether it is reviewing their deck, helping with their financials or making a few introductions - we are happy to help!
Can I pitch to the TiE Boston Angel Group?
Vivek Soni, Managing Director of TiE Boston Angels, looks through the ScaleUp cohort to identify companies to pitch to the angel group. Based on his experiences with the group, he looks for maturity, growth and team before an invitation is given. Vivek is often available to provide feedback or additional resources to companies invited to the cohort.
Which investors do you know?
We know a lot of people. With over 20 years of experience in the local startup ecosystem, we have built relationships with a number of angel groups and VCs. If there is the potential for mutual benefit, we help provide warm introductions to investors. If there is an individual or firm we do not know (more appear each year), we will still finds ways to facilitate an intro.
I have already raised a Series A. Does that mean that I'm too mature for the program?
Not at all! We can still help. We set a "Seed to Series A" criteria to curate a group of companies that have experienced similar growth challenges so we can address them as a whole.
I have bootstrapped my company. We have paying customers. We just haven't raised any funding yet. Can I still apply?
Yes, we love the bootstrappers! By having paying customers, you have experienced early stages of growth and we can help you identify ways to speed up your trajectory.
My companies focuses on *fill in the blank,* can you still help me?
Yes! TiE ScaleUp is sector agnostic and we welcome companies from all business models. If we feel that we will not have enough mentors for you to choose from or we do not think that the program will be the best use of time, we will reach out and discuss it with you.
Will I receive feedback on my application even if I am not admitted?
Yes - we will gather the information during the review process and submit them to the team contact at the conclusion of the cycle. Applicant companies share that this is a helpful practice. We do, however, want to caution that this feedback is provided based on materials provided in the application and therefore, reviewers have limited visibiliity into all components of your model. We hope the feedback is helpful but please note that the feedback would not the same as if we had an in-person deep dive with you on the business model.
What is a TiE Boston Associate Member? What does the $1495 membership fee cover?
Due to demand, we have created a membership category called the "TiE Boston Associates" that gives you all of the benefits of being a charter member at TiE Boston but covers a duration of two years instead of one. Past cohorts found incredible value in networking with entrepreneurs and investors in our community and participating in content sessions around areas of innovation. We offered a limited membership to the companies upon graduation but the access was not of the same caliber. Companies also voiced that accessing the community would have been useful at the start of the program. This fee is also used to offset the running costs of the program such as refreshments during the sessions, venue fees, etc.
Who comes to Demo Day?
We invite angel investors and VCs along with all of the people who make ScaleUp possible (mentors, SMEs, and partners). We work to curate an influential group of people who should know about you and your model!
What is the "Demo Day and Showcase?"
The TiE ScaleUp Demo Day and Showcase marks the conclusion of the program and is a chance to highlight the next wave of rising companies to the Boston ecosystem. Investors, thought leaders, the press and other members of the community are invited to learn more about the companies.
Do you provide cash awards to select companies at Demo Day?
Our model moves away from being a competition for cash and centers more around helping the company unlock the doors to more customers, funding and growth so that they may approach their next raise from a position of knowledge and confidence.
AFTER THE PROGRAM
Can I still be involved in TiE Boston?
Yes! Upon entering the program, you register for a TiE Boston Associate Membership. This gives you the same access to TiE Boston as a charter member but with more flexible candidacy, fee structure and candidacy. You are part of our community now and we want to see you and continue to help you in your growth!
Are there opportunities for me to speak at TiE Boston events?
Yes. We regularly have events, fireside chats and panels. We actively source our speakers from our community and we often search for opportunies for our community with our partners.