Who can apply?
Play Labs is open to all startup teams that are in our target range of playful technologies. The 2018 batch will add a focus on blockchain/digital currency in addition to our other playful tech fields (esports/video games, AI/Machine Learning, VR/AR).
We do not require an MIT affiliation to apply, but having an MIT affiliation helps as a certain number of slots are for MIT affiliated companies.
To qualify as an MIT-affiliated team, at least one founder should be an MIT alumni, MIT student, or Faculty member. Alumni or students can be from any full time or part-time undergraduate or graduate program. To indicate the MIT affiliation, the MIT founder should use their MIT address at submission time.
Visiting founders are teams which have no MIT affiliation. We welcome visiting founders submissions as long as you are 1) using playful technology, and 2) can be in Boston for the summer program.
Play Labs is open to startups at any stage - pre founding, pre-seed, seed, etc. - however, upon acceptance into the program, the founders/team must establish their startup as a legal entity to get the investment. If you are a new startup, we will help you with the process of establishing your company.
What is the deadline to apply and when are the winners announced?
The next accelerator will be Summer, 2018. Applications must be submitted by March 15, 2018. Finalists will be selected in late March / early April, and admissions to the program will be made in late April/early May.
However, we will consider Late Applications on a case by case basis until the Accelerator starts if we have slots open.
When is the program?
The program will formally run from the week of June 11 through the week of August 15, 2018. Our Demo Day, which is well attended by investors and members of the MIT community, will be he held in mid to late August (to be announced).
How many companies do you admit every session?
We don't have a set number, but our target number is 10 companies for the 2018 batch.
For our last batch (summer, 2017), we admitted 13 companies.
Do I need to be in the Boston area while admitted in the program?
You will need to be in the Boston area for the duration of the program (mid June -mid August). You do not need to be in the area during the application process, but you must be available to come to Cambridge/MIT for the interview process in March or April if you are chosen as a finalist.
I/we have two separate ideas, can we submit 2 different applications?
No. Please choose the idea you are most committed to and submit that one.
Am I too early for Play Labs? Am I too late for Play Labs?
You are never too early for Play Labs - even if you have an idea you want to build over the summer, and haven’t formed your startup yet, you can apply. If you are accepted, then you will have to form the startup in order to participate in the summer. We can help with the formation process.
If your company is further along (i.e. if you have at least $100k in annual revenue or you have raised at least $100k in investment), you may be eligible for our alternative participation terms.
I am a solo founder. Is that a disadvantage?
Some accelerators discourage solo founders. We don't. Many solo founders have gone on to create great startups, so you can apply on your own or as part of a team. However, if you have never done a startup before, you should know it's a lot of work and it's great to have others on the journey with you.
Do I need to form my company before applying?
No, you do not need to have your business legal entity formed to apply. However, if you are accepted into the program, you will have to form the company before we can make the investment. We will help you to get the company formed if you don't have one.
What if I have a company formed already?
This should be OK. We can work with your existing entity or recommend any changes necessary to get investment. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this info at playlabs.tv
If I do not have an MIT affiliation but I am still in Boston, can I apply? Can I get In?
Yes, though we encourage having an MIT affiliation, we have a number of "visiting founder" slots for those that don't have an MIT affiliation. You will definitely increase your chances of being accepted significantly by adding an MIT student, alumni, or faculty/staff to your team.
ARE THE TERMS NEGOTIABLE?
Our standard participation terms are $20k for 6% in common stock. If you are further along as a company (i.e. you have raised at least $100k in financing or have at least $100k in annual revenue), and/or if you do not require our $20k investment, we can discuss alternate participation terms, if you are selected for the program. We encourage teams at all stages who are pursuing playful technologies to apply.