Acceleprise Ventures, a San Francisco-based incubator anchored by investor Sean Glass, announced a new $3.5 million fund with a pronounced enterprise app bent. It also announced 10 newly funded companies.
The company works with 8-12 pre-seed B2B companies per round to help them grow from acquiring their first customers “to building scalable and repeatable processes that can fuel growth,” managing director, Michael Cardamone explained.
“We launched in June of last year, receiving about 100 applications for our first cohort and ultimately took seven companies that went through the program from August – December 2014. By December, we received about 215 applications for our second cohort that started in January and accepted 10 companies (less than a 5 percent acceptance rate),” he wrote in an email.
The company plans to use this fund to eventually invest in a total of 50-60 companies over five rounds. “We are in our second of the five we plan to do with this fund. The rest will be used for follow-on investments in subsequent rounds. We are doing two [rounds] per year from January to May and again from July to November,” he said.
At a high level, when Acceleprise looks at applications, it’s looking for a strong team with direct experience dealing with the problem they are trying to solve and the technical experience to execute and iterate on the product quickly.
That means no newbies need apply and the team at Acceleprise understands enterprise software at an acute level. It includes Karen Appleton, who was the eighth employee and an executive at Box, Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight and Rowan Trollope, SVP at Cisco, among others. Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo is also an investor.
“We take a very hands-on approach in crucial areas such as UX/design, product strategy, sales process, marketing and fundraising. We also make critical introductions to potential customers, partners, hires and investors throughout the program,” he said.
While that’s a sales pitch you would expect from any accelerator, he claims they truly look for quality over quantity. “We feel really good about the quality of companies we are seeing,” he said. He believes that will help fuel the growth of the company over time, especially since it is concentrating on enterprise SaaS companies, an area that’s poised for continued growth.
So far, it has chosen a range of B2B companies that cross SMB to the enterprise. Some examples are Nova, which focuses on tech to advance computer-human interfaces. What this means on a practical level is that interfaces have been tuned to individuals, and their goal is building products that do that. Another company, Pick, founded by early Yammer employees, is attacking meeting scheduling.
Acceleprise is obviously not alone in the accelerator market, even one that focuses on the enterprise. Earlier this year, we wrote about Alchemist Accelerator, another Silicon Valley incubator taking aim at this same market, but there seems to be space enough for competitors to battle it out.
It means B2B companies that previously might have found it hard to find an accelerator focused on their needs now have more choices — and that’s certainly a positive.