"Without the grounding I got from Tacklebox, I would’ve never gotten into Y Combinator. The foundation I built at Tacklebox is still critical today."
— Deepak Chhugani, founder @ The Lobby (Tacklebox Cohort 8, YC W'18)
"I’m too early for…"
Our founders consistently hear they’re too early for the resources they think can help them. You’ve probably heard this, too.
Every resource that could move the needle for you - investors, accelerators, a CTO - is in no rush. They'll wait and see if you make it through the early-stage gauntlet that claims 95% of founders. Then, once you’re far less risky, they’ll help.
Unfortunately, that gauntlet claims 95% of smart, motivated founders with promising ideas - like you. Going from idea to early product is hard, counterintuitive and trips most people up. Luckily, we’ve done it. Hundreds of times. And it’s teachable, learnable, and practice-able. We’ve built a system to help our idea-stage founders crush that 95% statistic and get those second-level resources (if they need them).
“Tacklebox action items and advice drive my weekly agenda. With so much at stake - and with such varied startup advice out there - it doesn't get better than trusting a process and seeing results. I’m incredibly invested in my startup, and it’s great to know I’m in the right hands.”
— Rachel Serwetz, founder @ Woken (Tacklebox Cohort 15)
“I’m not sure what to prioritize…”
Most of our founders have full-time jobs when they begin Tacklebox, which means they’re working on their idea in the margins.
Their startups depend on prioritization, execution, and system building. We help you identify and execute on your differentiators, maximizing every second you spend on your idea. This is how our founders are able to make enough progress before they quit their job to know they’re working on something customers care about.
"I came to Tacklebox with an idea I'd thought about for years. I left with a process to test, evaluate, learn, re-test, and grow that idea - and validation with my customer. I've also got a network of founders in a similar stage facing similar challenges. My path forward is hard, but clear."
— Sam Alston, founder @ Big Lives (Tacklebox Cohort 8)
"I don’t know if my idea is actually good…"
Tacklebox founders usually have a lot to lose. Most aren’t dying to jump into just any startup - only the right one. Most of our founders actually enjoy their full-time jobs, and are great at them.
The best entrepreneurs we've met are incredibly risk averse. They don't leap into something before they know it's worth their time, and neither should you. About 85% of our founders still have full-time jobs during the program (though 40% of those end up quitting within a year).
We’ll force customers to prove they're worth your time. Once they do - and we validate a business process that is sustainable and meets your goals - then, you’ll quit and build something great.
What’s the program look like?
Tacklebox is a six-week program where founders meet in-person to run through workshops, speaker sessions, one-on-one strategy meetings, and investor pitches. Virtual sessions launching winter 2018. Get notified if you’re not in NYC.
Six foundational workshops lay the groundwork for your startup. From Customer Segmentation and Development to Customer Acquisition, Pricing, Messaging, EVPs (effort validation products) and MVPs, we run your idea through the gauntlet. You’ll see how your idea stacks up to our previous founders at a similar stage - those that have gone on to programs like Y Combinator, Quake, Monarq, NYFTL, etc. (or bootstrapped and built great businesses on their own). You’ll have a clear path forward at the end of the program.
One-on-One Strategy Sessions
Each week you’ll meet one-on-one with Brian Scordato, the founder of Tacklebox, to dig in on specific problems you’re facing. We establish a cadence of weekly tests to answer key questions with customer behavior.
Brians started companies, worked in venture, advised venture-backed startups, and been obsessively building Tacklebox the past 3+ years. He’ll be your surrogate cofounder during the session.
Speakers + Investor Pitches
Guest speakers, many of which are alumni, will give talks with a focus on tactical strategies you can implement immediately. We spend time talking about the mental and physical strain startups create and establishing sustainable work habits.
Some Final Details.
Alumni: 100+, 65% female founders
We’ve got an active alumni base of over 100 startups. Many of these founders have gone on to quit their jobs, raise money, join accelerator programs, or bootstrap and grow on their own terms. Over 65% of our founders are female, leading to a strong community of alumni seeking out opportunities for women-led startups.
We run monthly events for alumni, and alums have access to all of our cohort speaker sessions.
Mentors: Help from the experts.
We’ve built a stable of engaged mentors and advisors that include investors, operators, dev + design shops, legal - just about any support service you might need. Our partners are invested in the success of our founders, speaking and advising formally during cohort sessions and informally or via one-on-ones.
Tacklebox Angels: $15k+ checks.
We’ve got a group of angel investors that have invested from $15k to $250k in our founders. We think of these investors as a replacement for “friends and family” funding. These investors often look for our “one check” founders, the companies that will need some money to get going but likely won’t raise after that. You’re able to pitch these investors at any point after the program.
Cost: $2,500 / startup
We charge per startup and don’t take equity. This keeps incentives aligned, as we’re ensuring not only that your startup is worth you pursuing, but that we recommend the right path for you and your idea, whether that’s venture-scale or not.
Is this right for you?
Our founders are pre-product. Most haven’t started a startup before. Most don’t have a full team. We aren’t looking for crazy technical challenges.
We are looking for insights into customers. Founders that know a customer incredibly well, founders that have been unconsciously preparing for this idea their whole lives.
We’ll help you build the infrastructure around that.