The priority application deadline is April 14 and applications will be accepted through May 31, 2023.
Why Strategy Track
Elemental’s Strategy Track is all about developing the right foundation to scale rapidly. We combine funding and coaching over the course of nine months to help you develop strategies for scaling quickly, and continue to provide resources and make introductions through your company's exit.
$350K of funding and a customized curriculum to develop and execute strategies for faster scale
How have our companies leveraged the Strategy Track for growth?
"We learned a ton about how to work with customers — we were able to convert almost all the CPG customers to paying customers when we went to market. And learned what our customers value, and what moves the needle on customer loyalty to drive sales."
"Participating in the Elemental program has been transformational for us. The coaches understand the nuance and complexity of the climate tech markets and equip you with the necessary tools to position your company for success."
"With Elemental, what I really like is the focus on equity and access and the well-developed curriculum that will help guide us and help us focus on what's important."
How Does It Work
Each company we work with is unique, and that’s a beautiful thing. We’ve designed our strategy track to be flexible enough to fit your unique stage and market. At the same time, we surround your company with a peer network and coaches that help to unlock strategies to scale. The Strategy Track is structured as two 14-week modules where you participate in selected modules based on needs and priorities. Each module is designed to drive inflection points around business development and organizational growth, featuring a mix of live workshopping and scheduled office hours.
1. Market Intelligence
Strengthen knowledge of the ecosystem, customer segments and associated value propositions and test hypotheses and assumptions around current product offering and business strategy.
2. Sales & Growth
Apply lessons from Market Intelligence to help set up the organization for repeatable sales and growth.
Become equipped with the knowledge, experience and ongoing tools to unlock greater traction through strengthened messaging.
4. Equity In
Engage with a robust set of tools and resources to build and maintain equitable practices.
Hone the skills to effectively fundraise from the right capital provider.
6. People & Operations
Work on a specific set of operational topics that support company growth, such as strategic organizational development, hiring best practices and more.
Work with Elemental’s policy fellows and consultants to gain a fundamental understanding of how to engage effectively with government and public policy from the local to federal level.
Our Work In Action
62% of founders say they changed their business model through working with Elemental
Here's one example. Meet Dimensional Energy:
Dimensional Energy transforms carbon dioxide emissions into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), sustainable diesel and consumer products. Through the Strategy Track, Dimensional worked on a go-to-market plan that expedites its pathway to profitability several years ahead of projection.
Through the Strategy Track, Dimensional deepened its equity practices and policies, grew its engagement with the policy environment and clarified its fundraising, messaging and operations strategy. For instance, the team worked with our fundraising coach to build a fundraising strategy that reframed its key activities and R&D path in terms of value creation over time. Ensuing support from Elemental’s messaging coach helped to communicate its value proposition to the needs of its customers and buyers. Dimensional emerged with a commitment from United Airlines, an Elemental Navigator member, to purchase 300M gallons of SAF over the next 20 years.
Applications open for Elemental's Cohort 12
March 13, 2023
Applications will be reviewed as they come in and select applicants will be invited to progress through interview rounds on a rolling basis.
Priority application deadline
April 14, 2023
Companies are encouraged to apply early and increase their chances of securing a spot in Cohort 12.
Interviews and reference calls
April – July 2023
Select applicants will be invited to share more about their technology, business and strategy for scaling impact. We will also spend time getting to know their customers, investors and community partners.
May 31, 2023 | 11:59 p.m. PT
This is the final deadline to submit an application for Cohort 12. The sooner you apply, the better chance you have at securing a spot in the cohort. It is possible that the cohort is filled ahead of the final application deadline so we encourage you to submit an application as soon as possible.
Selection and onboarding
May – October 2023
Cohort offers will be made on a rolling basis. Following program acceptance, companies will become acquainted with Elemental’s team, systems and services. Strategy Track companies will align on program priorities and prepare for our work together.
Cohort Kickoff and CEO & Leadership Summit
Cohort 12 companies will spend time in person getting to know the Elemental team, fellow cohort members and our partners through workshops and facilitated discussions. Then, we'll be joined by other alumni CEOs and and leaders from the Elemental portfolio to share knowledge and connect.
Strategy Track: Part 1
October 2023 – March 2024
Part 1 of the Strategy Track is focused on Market Intelligence with additional support customized around companies' needs.
Strategy Track: Part 2
April – July 2024
Part 2 of the Strategy Track is focused on Sales & Growth with additional support customized around companies' needs.
The Not-So-Fine Print | Funding & Equity
Each company selected into our Cohort 12 Strategy Track receives $350K. We typically use either a Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) or convertible notes (see FAQ for more). Additionally, as Elemental is constantly looking to fill gaps in the market, we may provide more funding options in the future.
Funding is tied to three agreed-upon milestones, meaning companies do not get the full investment up front, but tranches are released as deliverables are complete.
On average, Strategy Track companies join Elemental with:
Have more questions? Download the Cohort 12 Application Packet to learn more about the program.
How do I know if I'm a fit for Strategy Track?
Team: Diverse and experienced teams with deep knowledge of their industries and a proven track record of execution. We expect active participation from the CEO and one additional executive team member.
Technology: Companies that have developed a scalable solution that shows growth potential beyond their home market. We like for the technology to be validated by a third party and market demand.
Track Fit: We want to see that you are at the right stage of growth and that working with Elemental will be transformational for your company.
Can you provide more information on the funding instruments you use?
As a nonprofit organization, any proceeds from our investments go to supporting future climate tech entrepreneurs. We use either a Simple Agreement for Future Equity (“SAFE”), convertible note, or in some cases may be able to participate directly in an open round. We’ve shared a high-level overview below and will provide more specifics upon acceptance into the program.
Simple Agreement for Future Equity (“SAFE”):
Y Combinator created the SAFE as a simpler alternative to convertible notes. It allows investors to purchase shares in a future round at a pre-negotiated discount (industry standard is 20%). We like this investment vehicle because it is founder-friendly and flexible, allowing us to work with companies outside of their usual fundraising cycle. Accepted companies will execute three separate SAFEs with Elemental, each aligned with program milestone deliverables and payment amounts.
In some cases, we will use a convertible note. This flexibility allows later stage companies to choose the instrument that is right for you. If you’re interested in learning more about the commercial terms of our Convertible Note, we can share that information further into the application process. Accepted companies will execute three separate notes with Elemental, each aligned with program milestone deliverables and payment amounts.
In some instances, Elemental will be willing to directly participate in an open round if the timing aligns with completion of the milestones deliverables. In addition, as Elemental is constantly looking to fill financial and programmatic gaps, we may offer other funding mechanisms in the future, such as additional debt offerings. We will work closely with accepted companies to find a path that makes sense for both parties.
How much time can I expect to spend on program work?
The core program runs October 2023 – July 2024 and companies can anticipate 2–5 hours/week of workshops, 1:1 coaching, and applied strategy work for your CEO and one additional team member. They will also participate in regular (typically monthly) check-in calls with Elemental’s Director of Innovation to update our team on the engagement and identify any opportunities for support. Members of the leadership team are expected to join our core events, complete the Equity In curriculum (8–10 hours) and participate in the Community of Practice sessions (6 hours).
How many companies participate in a Strategy Track cohort?
The Strategy Track features a mix of 1:1 instruction with Elemental coaches and collaborative, live workshops with the group. We’ve found that somewhere between eight to ten companies is the sweet spot for the Strategy Track. At this size, the group is small enough such that coaches can intimately get to each team and business, while being large enough to enable meaningful feedback, collaboration and learning with your fellow group members.
How does the rolling acceptance timeline impact cohort selection?
The rolling application process was designed with the following outcomes in mind:
- Elemental can be more nimble with our due diligence process and get back to you with questions and decisions at a faster rate.
- Accepted companies will have access to Elemental’s suite of services even before Cohort Kickoff in October. Accepted Project Track companies will be able to launch projects on their own timelines, rather than waiting until the full cohort has been onboarded.
- Because we only fund 15–20 companies per year, the sooner you apply, the better chance you have at securing a spot in the cohort. It is possible that the cohort is filled ahead of the final application deadline (May 31, 2023) so we encourage you to submit an application as soon as possible. Rest assured, all companies will be evaluated using the same criteria.
Who participates in the programming? Can I apply if I'm a single founder?
Companies must have at least two full-time employees to participate in our program. We ask that the company CEO and a second dedicated team member be involved in the module programming throughout the entire engagement. We are happy to have additional team members participate as is relevant to their role and interest.
Do I get to choose which program modules I participate in?
Strategy Track program is split into two 14-week parts, during which companies participate in selected modules based on needs and priorities.