Startup Accelerator Spotlight: Launch Chapel Hill

Launch Chapel Hill

Launch Chapel Hill is an International award-winning startup accelerator that has created a vibrant community of thinkers and problem solvers. Their 22-week program increases growth potential of a high-impact start-up and early stage ventures.

Launch Chapel Hill

Managing Director, Dina Rousett

Name of Accelerator: Launch Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill, NC

WebsiteLauch Chapel Hill

Managing DirectorDina Rousett

This article is part of our Startup Accelerator Spotlight Series featuring accelerators from around the world. We hope these spotlights will assist the entrepreneur if should they consider attending an accelerator program.

In two sentences or less, tell us about your accelerator and its objectives.

Launch Chapel Hill is an International award-winning startup accelerator located in downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Our 22-week program is designed to increase the growth potential of a high-impact start-up and early stage ventures. As a member of Launch Chapel Hill, you instantly become part of a vibrant community of thinkers working to solve challenging problems.

Why is your accelerator program unique? Please describe the benefits of participation in your program.

Launch Chapel Hill Benefits:

  • Entrepreneurs & Industry Experts
    Participants receive access to an exclusive network of successful mentors from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, the UNC Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Chapel Hill business community.
  • Regularly Scheduled Speakers
    Our regular lunch-n-learns and speaker series brings together successful entrepreneurs and expert guests to share their experiences and insights.

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  • Office Space and Onsite Support System
    Launch Chapel Hill is situated in a prime location in downtown Chapel Hill. Our Rosemary Street office is just steps from Franklin Street and the UNC campus. Our amenities include parking, high speed internet, access to two professional conference rooms and of course, all-you-can-drink coffee.
  • Connections to Business Resources and Investment Capital
    We provide a multitude of services, including marketing, accounting, and legal resources at pro bono or preferential rates. By joining our entrepreneurial community, you gain access to a multitude of connections, resources and investment capital opportunities within the UNC Chapel Hill and Orange County business community.
  • No Equity
    Launch takes no equity! All we ask is that you come ready to work and to grow both your own venture and the Chapel Hill startup community.

Which Accelerator Should My Startup Attend?

What is the most difficult part of working with startups?

Launch Chapel Hill
Each startup is different. However, most struggle with similar issues at the beginning: finding the correct initial market, building the technology, and finding early funding. Launch Chapel Hill is able to help in all 3 areas, but some teams are more open than others to our suggestions and advice. When teams are willing to learn and work hard we can solve these problems. Consequently, when they are not, it makes our task much more difficult.

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What do you enjoy the most; what do you find most appealing about working with entrepreneurial startups?

Our teams show creativity and passion on a daily basis, which is very inspiring. As a staff, we take great joy in helping our companies reach their goals. We love to look back at the progress teams have made from the first day in our program to the end of the 22 weeks.

What are the three most important factors startup entrepreneurs should consider when contemplating attending an accelerator?

  1. Am I ready to receive feedback on my company?
    If an entrepreneur does not want any advice or is unwilling to change his direction at all, then he/she should not attend an accelerator.
  2. Are you in a place in your life where you can dedicate serious time to your business?
    We always tell our teams that the more time and effort you can dedicate during our 22 week program, the more success you will have.
  3. Is the accelerator a right fit for you?
    We encourage all our applicants to come to our information sessions and learn as much about our program as possible before applying! Accelerator programs can vary greatly and it is important for teams to do their homework.

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Tell us about your success stories; which are the most interesting companies to have participated in your program?

Uconnection was founded by two UNC undergrads, Taylor Meyer and Zach Hunter, who were also on the tennis team. They went from 1 to 3 to 17 campuses and are now in over 500 campuses across the nation! Uconnecton offers students exclusive deals, daily specials, and more from all the dining and nightlife venues in their college town.

Quantworks was founded in 2015 to address the growing needs of entrepreneurial and innovative companies. They have gained immediate traction helping firms produce their analytic initiatives and monetize their data. Whether Fortune 100 or early stage ventures, Quantworks works with today’s most visionary product and project leaders. By plugging in our network of strategists, data scientists, architects and modelers, we are revolutionizing what development looks like.

Seal the Seasons buys fruits and vegetables from small to medium sized farms in North Carolina. They then sell their products in North Carolina stores in order to make local produce available all year round. They pledge to give 20% of their profits back to NC communities.

What else would you like to share?

Launch Chapel HillApplication for our next cohort is now open! Teams have until May 21st to apply and the application is now live!

Are you familiar with other accelerators you believe should be spotlighted?  If so, we would like to hear from you.  Tell us about them, sharing your comments below!

Pam Goforth

Pam Goforth is Research Manager for FundingSage, which provides valuable information, tools and resources to entrepreneurs seeking to start, grow and fund a business.