Q. SHN: What is Tarmac TX?
A. Tarmac TX is a 9-month 100% free accelerator program that has been set up by CALSO (a 501c3 nonprofit organization) in partnership with 3M. Its goal is to support startups developing tech-based solutions addressing social and environmental issues. It is part of a global network of 13 accelerators in 10 countries (San Francisco, Paris, Hong-Kong, Casablanca, Amsterdam, Brussels, Austin, Tunis, Luxembourg, Santiago, and Cape Town).
Q, SHN: Where are you based?
A. Tarmac TX is hosted at Tech Ranch, in North Central Austin.
Q. SHN: Who is heading up the accelerator?
A. The program has been designed by Nicolas Hazard, the President of CALSO. Locally, Tarmac TX is run by Esteban Fabiao. Esteban’s experiences as a consultant (A.T. Kearney) along with his project and team management skills are very valuable for the success of Tarmac TX. Having lived in Paris, Sao Paulo, and New Delhi, his international exposure is another asset for the selected teams to benefit from a different perspective.
Q. SHN: What do startups receive for participating?
A. Seven startups will be selected for the program. From May 2016 to January 2017, they will receive free co-working space at Tech Ranch, mentorship & one-to-one relationship with 3M’s engineers and employees, events and workshops, and networking opportunities (both locally and internationally).
Q. SHN: When are applications due?
A. The deadline to apply to Tarmac TX is April 8, 2016. Applications can be submitted on www.tarmactx.com.
Q. SHN: What kind of startups are you looking for to participate?
A. The program aims at supporting startups developing tech-based solutions addressing social and environmental issues. They can either be for profits or nonprofits, as long as the technology they are working on has a positive social or environmental impact. Ventures of any stage are eligible for Tarmac TX.
Q. SHN: Are there any funding opportunities for the startups?
A. CALSO, which is the nonprofit organization running Tarmac TX, is not seeking to make any investment itself. We want to help the startups which will be selected for the program with all the issues they are facing, including fundraising. We plan on connecting each startup with the right funders when they need to raise money.
Q. SHN: Why is this kind of accelerator needed in Austin?
A. Austin has an incredibly vibrant social impact ecosystem. The number of social enterprises created in Austin is growing. At the same time, the city has a high concentration of tech industries. Tarmac TX aims at bridging the gap between technology and social good. But social enterprises have a real need for business support services. They need help to structure their project and to be able to scale. Tarmac TX brings together experts from various backgrounds to guide those social entrepreneurs and help them take their project to the next level.
Q. SHN: How often do you plan to do the accelerator?
A. This is the first edition of Tarmac TX but we intend to have this program every year.
Q. SHN: Anything else you would like to add or make a point of?
A. The Selection Committee will be held at 3M Center on April 22, 2016. Ten to 12 startups will be pre-selected to pitch in front of a jury composed of experts in social entrepreneurship, as well as experts from the corporate sector, the local government, and the academic sphere. We are very excited with the great applications we are receiving! We are looking forward to helping these wonderful initiatives!