Your next step towards greatness
A program designed to ignite
the founders of the future.
Please check back in Fall 2022 for Reactor 2023.
Jun - Aug: Full-time
Jun - Aug: In-person
(Bay Area, CA)
for 2.5% in equity
We'll be hosting two info sessions this month. To join, please click the button below at the designated session times or add the events to your calendar!
Info Session No. 1
Wed, Sep 22, 2021 @ 5:00 - 5:45 PM PT / 8:00 - 8:45 PM ET
Info Session No. 2
Mon, Sep 27, 2021 @ 6:00 - 6:45 PM PT / 9:00 - 9:45 PM ET
At Floodgate, we talk about how $1B Thunder Lizards are hatched from atomic eggs. Atomic eggs contain all the raw materials needed for a breakthrough business: team, vision, and product-market fit. The Floodgate Reactor is designed for exceptional undergraduate builders and thinkers to combine forces and create atomic eggs.
So what does participation in the Floodgate Reactor look like? It is a founding experience for students that is laser-focused on finding signals of product-market fit. Students do not need an idea to apply, just entrepreneurial drive and a passion for a particular space. Floodgate will invest $50k into each student team with the goal of lightning fast iteration towards product-market fit. The program itself will have three phases, with the summer program being the focal point. Each phase is described in detail below:
Connect (Jan - Mar)
Connect is about your relationship with your co-founder. If you applied as a team, this will be an opportunity to improve your working relationship with your co-founder and get to know the cohort. If you are accepted as an individual, we’ll open up our networks to help find that perfect person for you. In order to participate in the summer program, you must have a teammate! We’re going to do everything we can to help you find that person, but it’s ultimately up to you to decide who you want to go through this program with.
Explore (Mar - Jun)
Explore is about finding the key inflection points and “why now” within your problem space. Together these insights will lead to earned secrets that can be the seed of a great business. We will have programming to help your team systematically tackle this challenge. The goal of this phase is to reach consensus on an initial idea and product to pursue. During this time, we will also be helping teams incorporate and teaching the operational ins-and-outs of running a business.
Build (Jun - Aug)
Build is all about the relentless pursuit of product-market fit. This will involve rapidly iterating on your product and on your understanding of the opportunity, customer, business model, etc. We’ll be offering weekly programming covering various topics related to building a business and achieving product-market fit. We’ll also be offering mentorship from the Floodgate partners, world-class entrepreneurs, and domain experts. We expect teams to relocate to the Bay Area for the summer, and we will be providing a co-working space for the cohort. Though the official Reactor programming will end in August, we encourage teams to continue iterating until they find signs of product-market fit or until they’ve decided the opportunity isn’t viable. If you find signals of product-market fit, we want to be your pre-seed investor! Our goal is to make your pre-seed investment seamless so you don’t need to waste valuable time fundraising.
We have found that the best startups are often founded by a superbuilder and a superthinker. A superbuilder is someone who eats, breathes, and sleeps code. They are constantly building and have a voracious appetite for learning and iterating on a product. A superthinker is someone who knows how to go deep in a space to find the earned secrets that can fuel a business. They have an obsessive drive to understand the history, competitive landscape, and customer pain points of an industry. We ask each applicant to self-select into one of these two categories.
You can apply as a team of two or as an individual, and you do NOT need to have a specific idea to apply! In the Connect phase, we’ll be discussing what it means to be co-founders. For those who apply in teams, we’ll be covering key interpersonal discussions you need to have to become great co-founders. For those who apply as individuals, we’ll be working tirelessly to help you find that right person. We will require any individuals who are accepted to have found a co-founder before the summer begins. We have full faith that this is possible for anyone who is accepted!
Note: We will be giving preferences to teams as we believe finding a co-founder is a very challenging task. We also are open to teams of two or more superbuilders if one of the team members is willing to take on the tasks of a superthinker.
Floodgate will provide each team of 2 with $50k in funding in the form of a SAFE note. The SAFE note will translate into 2.5% ownership of the business upon the next round of financing. Providing us with an ownership stake solidifies our commitment to you. We take great pride in each and every one of our investments. As such, we are committed to providing a world-class experience and full-access to Floodgate’s partners and extended networks.
Because this is an investment, it will require your team to incorporate. The incorporated entity will be the recipient of the $50k. If incorporation sounds like a big challenge, don’t worry! We’ll be leading you through this process step by step. We anticipate a significant portion of these funds will be used for you to cover your rent and living expenses in San Francisco. The remainder should be used for business expenses. If you happen to be in a hardware space and need additional funding, we will handle those on a case by case basis.
Along with direct cash funding, Floodgate has inked partnerships with AWS, Stripe, Zendesk, and many more services to offer you free credits and discounts!
Do you need an idea to apply?
No! You do not need an idea to apply. All you need is an entrepreneurial drive and a passion for exploration. If you’re already working on something, that’s great too! See below the next question for further discussion.
What if I’m already working on an idea on my own or in a team?
That’s fantastic! We love the entrepreneurial spirit and certainly encourage students to pursue their own endeavors during the school year. We see three possible outcomes if this is the case:
1.) You work on your idea throughout the school year and have conviction you want to continue exploring it. Fantastic! When you join the Reactor, you’ll continue iterating at a much faster pace and with additional mentorship, funds, and structure!
2.) Your idea achieves strong signals of product market fit before the summer. That’s amazing! If this is the case and you’re ready to raise a pre-seed round, we’d love to be your first check. This is our bread and butter, and we’re confident we can help you grow!
3.) You ultimately decide that your initial idea isn’t the right opportunity for you. No problem! We’re selecting exceptional individuals and teams for the Reactor. We’re confident that you will come up with something bigger and better to explore over the summer.
Can we have more than two people on our team?
We have a strong preference for teams of two, but we will consider applications for teams of three (no more). If you apply in a team of three, you must very clearly demonstrate the unique value of each team member. E.g. Why do you need multiple superthinkers or superbuilders? Is there something unique about your problem space that requires another specific skill set in order to quickly iterate?
Can I apply as an individual?
We’re committed to taking the absolute best people for the Reactor. That means we will consider individual applications. However, we also know that knowing someone is the right co-founder for you requires a lot of late nights and tough times together. Given that, we will be giving preference to fully formed teams of two. If you do apply as an individual, we strongly encourage you to be able to occupy the superbuilder role. We've found it's much easier to find a good superthinker co-founder match for a superbuilder than vice versa. If you are admitted as an individual, we'll be doing everything we can to help you find that right co-founder by March.
Can I apply as an international student?
Absolutely! We’ve worked with many international founders in the past, however, this program does not provide visa sponsorship.
Can I apply if I'm not an undergraduate student?
We will be giving preferences to teams with at least one undergraduate, but are open to teams of graduate students or recent graduates. These will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If you are accepted, we will require that you are not engaged in any employment opportunities that could create legal issues with IP ownership in the new company.
What happens if we find strong traction over the summer?
We have a long track record of investing in student teams here at Floodgate, and we love working with them. That is one of our primary motivators for running this program! If you find significant signs of product market fit, Floodgate typically writes pre-seed checks for student teams on the order of $500k-$750k to really go after product-market fit. Because the Reactor has no defined end date, we envision writing these checks all throughout the program.
If your team hits this mark, there are a couple of paths forward depending on your situation. If you are a rising junior, we would strongly encourage you to take a gap year to focus on the business. If you are a rising senior, we recommend turning this business into your full-time job!
Why does my team have to incorporate before the summer begins?
The $50k provided by the Reactor is an investment, not a grant. Therefore, we must put the money into a legal corporate entity rather than disbursing it to individuals. Floodgate will assist in getting all the systems in place to make incorporation efficient and seamless. Along with this, we believe it is critical for young entrepreneurs to learn the ins-and-outs of spinning up and spinning down a company. The better educated you are on these systems, the more time you’ll have to dedicate to building the next great company!
Do I have to be in SF for the summer?
Yes. We feel strongly about developing community amongst the cohort in the Reactor. You will learn as much from each other as you will from the Floodgate team. Without this in-person element, it becomes much harder to develop strong relationships and benefit from serendipitous interactions with the rest of the cohort.
If you have any questions, you can reach out to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure read through all of the other tabs before reaching out with questions!