Eligible Companies

Companies incorporated in the U.S. that have the ability to scale are encouraged to apply. The SDAC will invest in any industry and in companies at any stage, although for the size of the investment early seed stage through Series A are ideal. See the Apply page for more details.

Selection of Quarterfinalists
Angel investors will review the information in Gust, rate the companies, discuss, and deliberate. During Round 1, investors will choose 24-30 Quarterfinalists who will move on to Round 2.
Selection of Semifinalists
Quarterfinalists are invited to meet the Investors and to give a 3-minute pitch with a short and moderated Q&A session. During Round 2, investors will consider the pitches, the Q&A, review the information in Gust and choose 12-15 Semifinalists who will move on to Round 3.
Selection of Finalists
The Semifinalists are invited to a networking event with the Investors and to give a 10-minute pitch with an open Q&A session. During Round 3, investors will consider the pitches, the Q&A, review the information in Gust and choose 5-8 Finalists who will move on to due diligence and the finale.
Due Diligence
The Finalists will go through a due diligence (DD) process. Investors will organize into DD teams for each company. Finalists will have a chance to attend a company dinner to get to know their team. Each Finalist will have a DD vault where they will submit required documents, will host a site visit, answer questions, and provide a variety of resources to the DD teams. The teams will report to each other weekly leading up to the finale. All Investors will have access to the final DD reports and vaults for each company. Each company will negotiate with the Fund Manager to define the deal terms before the finale.
Each finalist will make a 10-minute pitch during the finale, which includes entrepreneurs, investors, partners, sponsors, community leaders, students, and other interested individuals. Each DD Lead will give an abbreviated presentation with some of their considerations. Once the pitches are finished, Investors adjourn to a private space for their final deliberations and decision-making. They will choose a winner, and possibly runners-up and decide how much each company will receive in investment. These decisions will be announced at the check ceremony at the end of the finale. Funds will be wired, usually within 3 weeks.

Process for Entrepreneurs

The process for Entrepreneurs runs approximately seven months beginning in September, through the day of the SDAC finale.

Four to seven months before the SDAC, participating entrepreneurs have access to resources and workshops to sharpen their investment potential. Workshops begin in September.

Three months before the SDAC, entrepreneurs apply via Gust and pay the $149 nonrefundable application fee.

Two to three months prior to the SDAC, entrepreneurs work with investors as they review the opportunities – updating their Gust profiles, making pitches and/or answering questions.

Five to six weeks prior to the SDAC, extensive due diligence is performed on the Finalists before the investment decision is made at the Conference. During this time, each finalist negotiates the investment terms with the SDAC Fund Manager. Terms must be finalized before the finale.

The winner of the SDAC is publicly presented with a ceremonial check at the closing of the event. The winner and any runner-up companies usually receive the funds around three weeks later.

Process for Investors

The process for Investors runs approximately three months beginning in January, through the day of the finale.

Twelve weeks before the finale, investors receive access and training for Gust and begin reviewing deals, including 1-minute pitches for all applicants

Ten weeks before the finale, investors watch the 3-minute pitches of 24-30 Quarterfinalists companies and select 12-15 Semifinalists.

Seven weeks before the finale, investors review the 10-minute pitches of the 12-15 Semifinalists and select 5-8 Finalists.

Five to six weeks prior to the finale, investors begin the due diligence process for the Finalists and meet weekly to research, analyze and discuss.

One day before the SDAC, investors and finalists meet to answer any final questions at a VIP reception.

On the day of the SDAC, investors listen to the final pitches and then deliberate before making final investment decisions. The winner of the SDAC is publicly presented with a ceremonial check at the closing of the event. Investors may also choose one or more runner-up companies.

After the SDAC, funds will be wired to the funded companies, normally within three weeks. Investors will receive periodic updates from the companies and receive annual investment and tax information.