Progression Labs was started in the summer of 2013 as a collaboration between several Venture for America fellows and VegasTechFund.
“Both groups are passionate about bringing and supporting entrepreneurial talent Downtown and decided that a residential program was the best way to do that,” said Adam Joseph, Product Manager at Project 100 and Venture for America fellow. “They also noticed a funding gap for companies between the early idea stage and the VegasTechFund portfolio, and wanted to create a space for talented teams in that gap to grow and thrive.”
The Progression Labs team believes downtown Las Vegas is fertile grounds for entrepreneurs.
“With the recent explosion in tech, the city itself is a startup and our community is an incubator,” the team explains on the Progression Labs website.
Progression Labs aims to nurture three to six companies in each wave. These companies are given $20,000 in working capital, $5,000 to cover office expenses and rent, three months time to work on their project, a one-of-a-kind mentorship network, and a host of learning opportunities that only the world’s largest urban experiment can provide.
So far, there have been two waves of companies through Progression Labs. Applications for wave 3 are now being accepted until May 25, 2014 and the program will run June 23, 2014 to September 26, 2014. Check out the team’s one pager here.
“Through the first two waves, we’ve learned that the teams get more out of the program when they become friendly with one another, lean on each other for support as they navigate the Downtown tech scene, and when they collaborate,” Adam Joseph said. “We were impressed with how the second round teams took the initiative to organize weekly sessions during which the group broke down the challenges one team was facing and brainstormed to address them. We’ve also learned the importance of making smart, deliberate intros for the teams to mentors in the community and visiting experts widened the entrepreneurs’ perspectives on how to address many of the fundamental strategic challenges they faced with such an early stage startup.”
He believes diversity of industries and backgrounds of Progression Labs teams enables them to join the Downtown entrepreneur community with a fresh perspective that ends up benefitting the entire ecosystem.
“Most of our teams come from outside of Vegas, and bring fresh ideas, positive energy, and enthusiasm to Work In Progress, Downtown Speaker Series, and lots of community events around Downtown,” he said. “They also help to diversify the entrepreneurial landscape by filling the gap between brand new and accelerator-ready companies. And, those that leave Vegas after the program increase the visibility of what is happening here around the country.”
Interested in applying? Adam Joseph says he and the team behind Progression Labs are looking for specific criteria for the program.
“Passion, hustle, and execution. We want teams that live and breath their mission whether it’s solving an existing inefficiency or creating something new of value,” he said. “We’re also excited about teams that can take the initiative to and learn from and give to the community resources around them.”