Applications open for improved L-Spark accelerator

L-Spark, the Kanata-based incubator and accelerator for enterprise software, announced Thursday it is accepting new applicants for its accelerator, which will start its second session this fall.

The fall 2015 cohort will operate under L-Spark’s new Ignite Program, which it calls “a set of proprietary and proven methodologies developed for the unique challenges of accelerating enterprise SaaS company revenue and investment.”

L-Spark managing director Leo Lax said his team learned some “significant lessons” from the inaugural session and is now “driving them home” for the new group to come.

The biggest change, Mr. Lax said, is there will be no predetermined value attached to the startups that enter the program.

By letting the market set the value of the companies, Mr. Lax said a lot of friction will be removed from the process.

“We’ve created a much stronger alignment by not creating this ‘I’m worth this and you are worth that and that’s why we should cut a deal’ process. We leave that to the market and we prepare them to make that happen,” he said, adding a company’s market-set value will be a number acceptable to everyone.

One thing that won’t change, Mr. Lax said, is L-Spark’s hands-on approach to mentoring.

In fact, it will grow under the new program with the introduction of a one-month boot camp, where 15 to 20 startups will be assigned a mentor who will work with them one-on-one to “solidify, clarify and massage their company, their business, as well as their pitch,” he said.

Once the boot camp is complete, the startups will make their pitches. While there is room for as many as six new companies, Mr. Lax said the accelerator will not “fill spaces for the sake of filling spaces.”

Last year, only two companies met L-Spark’s strict criteria, and Mr. Lax said that philosophy remains the same.

The selection committee includes representatives from companies such as Google, Microsoft, OpenText, Mitel, IBM and Amazon. C-level executives will work with selected startups throughout the program, helping to plan their goals for growth and funding.

The committee is targeting SaaS companies with a commercial product, at least $10,000 to $30,000 in monthly recurring revenue and disruptive technology in a growing market.

Applications can be done online or through an appointment with an L-Spark team member. The deadline is Aug. 28.