IL-Celerate 2008 FAQ’s

How much will you invest into our startup?
Participating companies will receive up to $15,000 in funding through the IL-Celerate program. This payout will be structured as $5000 per founder (up to $15,000 total). The additional funds will be paid ratably, in monthly periods over the 12-week program. Participants must continue be enrolled in the program in order to receive continued funding.

We don’t really need the money. Does it still make sense to apply?
We expect many of the applicants will not need the money. And in fact the money is only a small part of what IL-Celerate does. The money we invest works more like financial aid in college: it ensures that the people who do need money can cover their living expenses while IL-Celerate is happening.

What if we’re doing something expensive?
We’ll still fund you, but instead of trying to build something launchable in three months, the goal becomes to build an impressive proof of concept to take to later stage investors to raise more money.

Do we need to write a business plan?
Not for us. We make funding decisions based on our application form and personal interviews. We love demos, but we rarely read business plans.

Can a single person apply for funding?
Yes, but the odds of being accepted are much lower. A startup is too much work for one person.

Do we have to be US citizens?
No, as long as you can get here for at least three months. IL-Celerate will require that at least one member of the founding team is a resident of the State of Illinois.

We’ve already been working on our startup for a while. Can we apply?
Of course. In fact, we consider it a good sign that you’ve already started working.

Will you sign an NDA? How do I know you won’t steal my idea?
No, we won’t sign an NDA. No venture firm would at this stage. The informal commitment to secrecy on our application form is more than any VC would make.

Why didn’t you accept our application?
We can’t get into talking about individual applications. But don’t take it personally if we didn’t accept you. It could be simply that we didn’t understand the domain well enough to judge.

We don’t want funding, but will you give us advice?
Sure. We will focus, for now, however on the companies that we have invested in.

Are you looking for investors?
We’re not looking for investors in IL-Celerate now, but may in the future. However, but you are welcome to invest in the companies we fund. We will organize a batch presentation to investors late in the summer. If you’d like to be invited, send an email to

Who’s behind the program and why are you doing this?
The IL-Celerate Program was
Developed by Illinois Technology Association (ITA) and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce (CEC) in association with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Activity (DCEO)

Who do we connect with?
One of the primary aspects of the IL-Celerate program will be a series of group and one-on-one talks with leading practitioners from areas of specific need to seed-stage companies. These talks might include:

  • C-Level executives in all technology industry disciplines
  • Business development professionals in larger technology corporations (to discuss how they consider acquisitions)
  • Community resources (e.g., the CEC)
  • Lawyers
  • Leading technologists at “cool” companies
  • Angel capitalists
  • Public relations experts
  • Successful entrepreneurs
  • Venture capitalists

Does does the IL-Celerate provide? Office space, Internet, legal, hosting, etc?
Participating companies will be given office space and associated services including furniture, Internet access, phone service, and conference facilities in the ITA’s TechNexus. The TechNexus is a technology community center developed to support the ongoing collaboration of the technology community in the state of Illinois. The IL-Celerate program must also provide its participants access to the products and services they will need at a free or reduced cost. These providers might include:

  • Accounting
  • Graphic design
  • Hardware and Software
  • Hosting
  • Legal work
  • Other technical services

Membership in the ITA
Participating companies will receive full membership privileges into the ITA for the duration of their participation in the program, as well as for one year afterwards.

How can we get funded after the summer?
We provide the seed funding to get you going, but you may well need more funding to really make it. Near the end of the summer, we’ll organize an Investor Demo Day where angel investors and venture capitalists from all over the country will check out your technology and listen to your pitch. We’ll coach you so you’re as effective as possible, and do everything we can do help get you follow on funding. We may also fund your company further ourselves in some situations.

When is the deadline to apply and what’s the overall timeline?
The first deadline for application will be June 20th. If you have more than one idea, feel free to apply multiple times. Additional deadlines will happen throughout the year as the program progresses.


4 Responses to “IL-Celerate 2008 FAQ’s”

  1. Looking for funding? « IL-Celerate blog Says:

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    […] more information at the IL-Celerate blog. The FAQ on the site is very […]

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