Announcing Catapult's Accelerator - "Nuclear Cannon!" "It was time." Said April Lane, Catapult's Executive Director. We were sitting around thinking "We've raised some Series A rounds. How do we bilk, I mean milk, er..., I mean help other startups to get to that same point?" An accelerator immediately came to mind.
Like Catapult, Nuclear Cannon! has a unique design. Admission is determined through peer selection but it also incorporates an even more unusual feature - physical exercise. Catapult has hired a Marine drill sergeant to also work with the companies. "We need to whip these yellow bellies in to shape!" barked Sgt. Linville while doing push ups himself.
Though techies may be thought of as fatties eating Twinkies in to the wee hours, "we're going to change that" proffered Lane. Thus far, the physical exercise hasn't seemed to stop young tech startups from showing interest in the program. "It's good for my top line and my bottom" urged Vishal Shah as he struggled with sit ups in preparation for the program. Even the 45% equity requirement hasn't been a deterrent.
The name Nuclear Cannon! was conceived by Catapult's PR sponsor, Propllr founder Josh Inglis. "We wanted a name that mirrored the meaning of the word Catapult. And when a nuclear bomb goes off debris gets flung everywhere. It sort of Catapults that stuff. Plus, there's exercise in there which is new. So, boom!"
Look for program participants to be marching around 321 N Clark after Midnight. And, if you think you have what it takes to join the program, drop an e-mail to thestartups@catapultchicago.