What we look for:
Large and growing addressable markets or high-value problem to solve. A plausible, "How do you get massive?"
Passionate, coachable, diverse founders with deep empathy for their customers. Demonstrated product proof points.
Most important skill set for founding team: Hacker, Hustler and Designer. Teams should be LEAN, have Focus, and Hustle.
Technology innovation rooted in next-generation technologies. All the stuff CMU founders are good at: Robotics, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Human-Computer Design, Advanced Materials, Security, etc. We look for unfair competitive advantage delivered by recent technical innovations.
A plausible, "Why now? What recently changed to create this opportunity now?” If someone else has tried it before, how are you different?
At least one founder needs to be affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University. Affiliation may be as an student, alum, faculty or staff.
All startups need an alum “lead Investor” to sponsor your deal. If you have an alum interested in or already invested, they can act as the lead for 99 Tartans. The lead investor is a very important role in the 99 Tartans model. The lead investor champions the investment during the member meetings. Much of a members’ investment decision is based on the rational and reputation of the member who leads. The best Leads has a long standing relationship with the founders. The Lead is the primary contact between 99 Tartans members and the founders for the duration of the investment.
If you apply without a Lead Investor, we can present your application to the group to see if anyone is interested in connecting to learn more.