ATI is focused on finding and partnering with the very best and brightest of tomorrow’s innovators. ATI sees between 100 and 150 companies every year; of those, we usually admit fewer than 10 into membership.
Although our admissions process is highly selective, ATI is fiercely committed to adding value to all the founding teams in our pipeline. If you apply to ATI, we will share perspectives and probably engage in conversations with you that we hope you will find valuable, regardless of whether we end up working together formally.
There is no “ideal” ATI applicant. Many of the companies with whom we work successfully, however, are at the pre-seed stage when they apply: the founders have put their own money into the business, and may have “friends and family” investment, but they have not raised money from an angel or professional investor. Most of the founding teams are also technically sound. They have made real progress towards solving a technological problem … but they may not have worked out the “business side” as completely as they will need to do in order to take their idea successfully to market.
In 2005, the State of Texas set aside $100 million to invest in early stage, high growth companies that could have job creation impact. A requirement to receive ETF funding is that the company has a significant connection to a Texas university. Membership in ATI satisfies that requirement. 12 ATI companies have received ETF funding – accounting for more than a third of the awards given in the Central Texas region.
The process to be accepted into ATI is rigorous, and can vary in exactly how the process unfolds and how long it takes, but generally follows the steps below.
- Fill in the on-line application. This gets you into our admissions pipeline.
- You will be contacted by ATI, probably within two weeks, for an introductory call to help us better understand your business.
- Based on that conversation, we may decide that there is not a good fit. If that’s the case, we will share feedback and may make introductions to other people or organizations who we think may be better positioned to help.
- If we both think there might be a fit, then we move on to due diligence.
Our goal here is understand your business to the point where we feel confident about your company and about our ability to add value to your team. This usually involves:
- One or (usually) more meetings with ATI staff. These often are supported by PowerPoint slides, demonstrations, proof-of-concepts, and/or other tools that allow us to learn about the business.
- Requests for supplemental information.
- Meetings with industry experts and ATI advisors who can provide perspectives and feedback.
- This process tends to be highly iterative. It can take as little as 4 weeks … or as long as 9 months. Often, applicant companies tell us that they find the due diligence process to be a useful and low-risk way for them to refine their business models and think through some of the “hard” issues facing the opportunity.
Once we mutually decide that we want to work together, the process moves to the final selection stage, the Success Committee.
- The Success Committee is a formal, interactive discussion between the company’s founding team, the ATI directors, and selected ATI advisors and network members.
- The Success Committee’s role is two-fold: make a final admissions decision regarding the company, and, if the decision is “yes,” help the ATI team establish a program of work going forward.
- It is not unusual for members of a Success Committee to go on to be advisors to, investors in, customers of, and even executives with the companies that they help ATI review.
ATI has a “rolling” admissions program. That means that we do not have “classes” or specific admissions deadlines. We encourage applicants at any time of year.