Silicon Valley Catalyst

Helping Entrepreneurs Build Global Companies

Program Details and Frequently Asked Questions

The Garage Silicon Valley Catalyst is designed to provide emerging technology companies with the practical knowledge, tools, customers and financing needed to launch in Silicon Valley and build a global success.  The Catalyst provides an intensive program that combines customized training/coaching modules with the development of company-specific tools and processes.

Unlike standard acceleration programs, Catalyst is highly individualized and is tailored to the needs of companies coming to Silicon Valley from overseas.

The elements of the Catalyst have been developed over the years by Garage Technology Ventures in Silicon Valley, working with scores of entrepreneurs and startup companies that Garage has invested in to accelerate their success.  In addition, the program includes the experience and expertise of MAD-Partners, which has been highly successful in providing sales and business development for scores of Nordic companies for several years, and StartupLab, which is the leading incubator in Norway.

Tools and Processes:  Below are the specific tools and processes each company in the Catalyst will develop and customize for their own specific requirements:

  • Business Model Summary
  • Financial Model and Financial Projections
  • Target Customers
  • Competitive Landscape
  • Product Roadmap
  • Value Proposition and Marketing Communications Plan
  • Go To Market Plan: Local and U.S.
  • Team Development Plan
  • Sales Pipeline and Management
  • Operating Budget
  • Funding Model and Equity/Option Allocations
  • Executive Summary
  • Investor and Sales Pitches
  • Monthly Objectives and Deliverables
  • Management Dashboard
  • Monthly Reporting Package

The focus of the program is to develop the capacity of each company to acquire customers and scale. Catalyst companies frame out these tools and processes very quickly, and then iterate to clarify details over a period of three to six months.

Training/Coaching Modules:  Catalyst will support the development of these tools and processes, while also providing support for direct business execution, through modular series of sessions that are customized for each company.  The modules available for each company include:

  • Initial Diagnostic and Overview:
    • Needs analysis and program customization
    • Business model: Current assumptions and validation requirements
    • Product development: Current roadmap
    • Team: Current capabilities and near-term needs
    • Legal review: Key issues and near-term requirements
  • Product/Market Strategy:
    • Market segmentation: Customer discovery, interviews, buying factors
    • Competitive landscape: Direct, substitute, basis of competition
    • Positioning: Value proposition, differentiation, customer reactions
    • Go To Market: Customer acquisition tactics and testing
    • Revised Product Roadmap
  • Tell Your Story Well
    • Getting to Wow! Articulating your value proposition
    • Executive Summary 1.0
    • Business Model Formula: Financial modeling
    • How to Look Like a Silicon Valley Deal
    • Pitch 1.0: Fast pitch, Napkin pitch, Short pitch, Full pitch, Customer pitch
  • Operating Plan and Projections:
    • Operating Plan 1.0
    • Financial Projections 1.0
    • Monthly Objectives and Deliverables
    • Dashboard Design: Key performance metrics
    • Monthly Board Package
    • Financing Requirements and Plan
  • Business Development and Company Development
    • Partnerships and alliances
    • Intellectual property: Development and protection
    • Human capital: Requirements, recruiting, retention
    • Company culture: Values, responsibilities
    • Leadership: Attitudes, aptitudes, skills, development
    • Product management: Agile development, customer feedback
    • Sales Pipeline: Design, development, management
    • Marketing: Building buzz
    • Operations: Insourcing and outsourcing strategies
    • Cross-border issues
  • Financing:
    • Funding Requirements and Strategy: Target investors, cap table
    • Presentation Coaching
    • Effective Investor Communications and Meetings
    • Valuation: Factors and models
    • Negotiation: Termsheet basics, getting to yes!
  • Launch:
    • Role Play and Trial Pitches: Customer and Investor
    • Product Launch: Campaign design and execution
    • Funding Launch: Initial rifle shots, roll-out
  • Ongoing Mentoring and Advising

Again, training and coaching will be customized for each company, based on requirements and timing priorities.

In combination, Catalyst offers the most intensive, most robust, and most practically useful combination of training and development available to emerging technology companies.


Frequently Asked Questions

What can we expect from the Catalyst program?

  • Initially, StartupLab will invest $100,000, with the possibility of even more. The investment is made by Founders Fund either as a direct investment or through a convertible note.
  • Tailor made program individually designed to your company’s needs and ambitions.
  • Support by selected top US mentors with a proven track record building Global businesses, and access to their US network.
  • Analyze and tune your business model and strategy through weekly mentor sessions prior and during the Catalyst program
  • Increase the capability and speed of your business and product development.
  • Define the key drivers to scale your startup and how to measure your progress.
  • Learn and implement key methods and tools to scale – within areas such as sales, marketing, and product development.
  • Present the story, including drivers and metrics to make your startup ready for next step financing.
  • Practice your investor and sales pitches in front of mentors and pitch experts.
  • Expand your network of seasoned and new entrepreneurs, and investors.
  • Get a better understanding of PR, marketing and how to approach the media, as well as to write press releases.
  • Get access to the range of StartupLab services we offer our members.
  • StartupLab is a proud member of Global Accelerator Network – GAN – which means all our companies have access to the extensive list of GAN Perks (including soft landing spots in 59 cities all over the world)

What does the program include?

  • Coaching in the preparation of your US growth plan.
  • Weekly coaching sessions with Catalyst mentors.
  • Weekly planning and follow-ups together with mentors and Catalyst teams.
  • Discussions around key activities relevant for your US venture, such as analytics, sales, marketing, pitch training to investors, etc.
  • Catalyst is tailored to your company needs. On average, we expect companies to complete the intensive process in about three months, depending on your calendar and travel schedule.

What methodology is used?

  • We believe in customer contact, rapid iteration and “fail fast, fail forward.” Speed is key. Dare to try things that are not working perfectly: prototype (MVPs), measure usage and compare to quickly move toward the usage and business models that are working.
  • Catalyst is based upon the Art of the Start framework developed by Guy Kawasaki and Bill Reichert at Garage Technology Ventures.
  • Strong focus on learning from the exchange of reflections between our industry experts, mentor and StartupLab team

Who can apply?

Here is a handy checklist for application.

  • You have a product or service that can be developed to a global success by launching in the U.S
  • You have the passion, the energy, and the resilience to achieve that!
  • You have collected early “proof-of- concept” in terms of (potential) users and/or customers confirming that you have a product or service that fills a true need.
  • Your product or service has en element of IT/Tech within its build giving you operating leverage and scalability.
  • Your team should consist of at least two founders.
  • Your team is strong in both technology and business development.
  • At a minimum, you have a prototype/alpha version validating your technology.
  • Your team must be ready and willing to locate to the US for the defined period of the program.
  • Your team has a willingness to learn – and to share learning and progress – with other companies participating in Catalyst.

Do you accept international startups?

Yes! Catalyst accepts applicants from startups within and outside the Nordics.

Do you help out with accommodation in the US?

We will help you to find cost efficient housing while staying in the Valley, but securing and paying for housing is your responsibility.

Where is the available office space located in the Valley?

Subject to capacity, Catalyst participants will have the ability to use different office locations during the program. The main office location is at Nordic Innovation House, the Nordic tech hub in Silicon Valley. As a Catalyst company you are a member of the Nordic Innovation House during your time in the program, and may share office space with other promising Nordic startups in the Valley, at a nominal cost. The office is a part of this program and will help you during your stay.

What does the Catalyst program cost?

The cost of participation in the SVCatalyst program is approximately $8,000 to $12,000 per month for the first three months of intensive work. The timing and cost is adjusted to the needs and timing of each company.

How much equity do you take?

Each participating startup grants a common stock warrant to Garage Technology Ventures for a few percent of the company’s outstanding shares. The stock warrant vests at the end of the program and depends upon the success of the company and if targets are met.

The funding from StartupLab’s Founders Fund is separate from this stock warrant. This investment is generally made through a standard convertible note.

More about Founders Fund and Startup Lab:

Founders Fund is an Angel investment Fund set up by the most successful IT/Tech entrepreneurs in Norway together with StartupLab. StartupLab is one of the premier incubators in the Nordic region, with offices based in Oslo, Norway.

More about Garage Technology Ventures:

Garage Technology Ventures is a seed and early stage venture fund based in Silicon Valley.  Founded by Guy Kawasaki and Bill Reichert, among others, Garage has focused on providing intensive hands on support to startup companies to accelerate their growth and success.  Some of Garage’s success stories include Pandora, TripWire, WhiteHat Security, LeftHand Networks, Simply Hired, VisaNow, and D.light Design.

More about MAD-Partners:

MAD-Partners is a boutique market access and business development company focusing especially the needs of the Nordic and Baltic companies in Silicon Valley. MAD-Partners has a proven track record of bridging companies from the Nordics to Silicon Valley. The founder of MAD-Partners, Pekka Parnanen, has helped over 50 Nordic companies in Silicon Valley.