Let's Dig in
Have additional questions? Please contact us and we will be happy to assist.
- What kind of businesses does Ocean accept?
We are looking for post-product and post-revenue teams with great cofounders. Some other things that will strongly influence your chances of being accepted:
- Multiple Co-founders–We like to see at least two, one of whom should be technical
- Ability to Relocate to Cincinnati (at least during the program)
- Domain Experience–Are you working on something that you know a lot about?
- Customer Validation & Business Model– have you spent time proving you’re solving a problem that people really care about (and are willing to pay money to solve)?
- High Faith Potential–We believe in building into people who are trying to change the world and who are likely to be good stewards of their success
- High Growth Potential–We’re looking for venture-backable people and ideas with a high likelihood of creating sustainable businesses that grow quickly and create lots of high-paying jobs over time
- Tech-Based–Because web/tech business is what we know best, we believe we have the highest potential to understand and help accelerate businesses with a web or software foundation
- What criteria are used to evaluate my application?
Every application submitted will be reviewed by three separate evaluators. There are 5 pieces of criteria we use to rate applications:
1. Quality of the opportunity. (valid problem, market size > $500M, clarity of commercialization plan)
2. Product strength. (CTO, MVP created, testing in progress)
3. Revenue model clarity. (B2B, SaaS, direct sales, etc)
4. Current risk. (Capital need, legal complexity)
5. Quality of founders. (History, domain expertise)
- If I am high-tech, do I need a technical co-founder?
We strongly encourage you to have a full-time developer with you during the program. We want you actually building and shipping product as soon as possible (and continuously improving it). That’s the only way to learn what customers truly want and start to validate your concept and business model.
If you aren’t able to find an in-house resource, you should at minimum have a trusted development partner.
- Do I need to have a product or prototype before applying?
Yes. Although in certain circumstances we may accept a company without a MVP built. In all cases you should have solid validation that there is a need for your product in the marketplace.
- I'm not sure if I have a company or a team.
That’s okay. We’re looking for businesses that are venture-backable. You can call yourself whatever works for you, but we’re looking for high-potential businesses run by people with high character.
- How many members of my team can participate?
We would welcome up to four team members for each company, including at least one founder (mandatory).
- Can I keep my "day job"?
We understand why this can be tempting but we’ve rarely seen founders successfully build a business and work a full-time job. While we prefer your whole team to be “all in,” we require at least one of the founders to be 100% professionally focused on the business.
- Do I have to be a Christian to be accepted?
No, you do not need to be a Christian. However, since we are a faith-based accelerator there are multiple elements of faith in our curriculum which you are expected to actively participate in.
- What if our company has raised capital already?
Great, well done! As long as you’re willing to work within our investment parameters, that’s not a problem.
- What are the terms for Ocean's seed investment?
Each company receives an investment of $50,000 from Ocean Capital – the separate and distinct investor arm of OCEAN – in the form of a founder-friendly, uncapped convertible note plus dilutable warrants. The warrants are exercisable for 2% of the company’s outstanding shares at the time of issuance, and have a five year maturity. The note converts at any subsequent fundraising event over $1 million, and converts with a 25% discount. Ocean Capital also receives the right to participate in each subsequent round of financing prior to the qualified financing up to 50% of each round with a cumulative maximum total of $500,000.
- What are the key dates and milestones?
The program runs from Jan 9th – May 28th (20 weeks).
- Applications Open: 8/1/2017
- Applications Close: 11/1/2017
- Class Announced: 1/4/2018
- Program Starts: 1/29/2018
- Demo Day: 4/24/2018
- Why is the program five months long?
We want to have you ready to pitch investors by Demo Day, which is three months after the program starts. The next two months are critical for actually closing new investment and getting your product to market. We want to support you as much as possible throughout that entire process.
- Why is there a month in the program after Demo Day?
Demo Day is only one of many opportunities presented to companies at OCEAN. The month after is used to refine the pitch, secure funding and leverage coaching.
- Do I have to relocate?
Yes, we require at least one member of your team to relocate to Cincinnati for the duration of the program. But we’re pretty sure you’ll want to stay longer after spending time here!
- Why is this located in Cincinnati, OH?
- Cincinnati’s startup scene is exploding. Here’s a sample of the local resources:
- It’s also a great place to live. Don’t believe us? Here’s some third party validation:
- What is the office space like?
We have a large collaborative working space in the heart of Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati’s thriving startup community. Our 7,000 sq. ft office features several breakout rooms for meetings or phone calls, a large conference room, full range of office equipment and utilities, along with secure access. Plus we’re right next to great coffee shops and meeting places, in case you need a change of scenery.
- What is an accelerator?
Seed accelerators are fixed-term, cohort-based programs, that include mentorship and educational components and culminate in a public pitch event or demo day. While traditional business incubators are often government-funded, generally take no equity, and focus on biotech, medical technology, clean tech or product-centric companies, accelerators can be either privately or publicly funded and focus on a wide range of industries. Check out Wikipedia for more details.
- What is Demo Day?
Demo Day is a chance for you to pitch your venture to hundreds of potential investors, customers, and partners, as well as family, friends and other members of the regional startup community. Don’t worry, we’ll make sure you’re ready.
- What is Ocean?
OCEAN is the only independent faith-based accelerator in the United States, and is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Similar to other accelerators, OCEAN provides a blend of training, mentorship, capital and co-working space to a select class of high-potential startups; the primary differentiating factor is that OCEAN also brings a unique focus on comprehensive founder development—addressing critical needs such as faith, family and community within the context of business.