EXPLORER TEAM

Explorer Teams Resources Web Page

  • Info Sessions
  • Program Structure
  • Eligibility
  • New Team Application Dates
  • ​Application Process
  • Award Rubric
  • Expectations
  • Use of Funds
  • Equity, IP, and Giving Back

Explorer New Teams Information Session was held on Februrary 24, 2021.  See slides here and Zoom recording here.

  • Explorer is structured into 2 cohorts per year (Spring/Summer, and Fall), and each cohort has an application associated with it.

  • As a new Explorer team, you can apply for any cohort. You can also be a one person team if you don't have team members yet. However, we strongly encourage you to recruit at least one partner to join your venture.

  • As a continuing Explorer team, you must re-apply and re-qualify to join and continue in Explorer. Your re-application may be for an extension to use your current funding or you can request additional funding for the subsequent cohort. You will not automatically be admitted to the next cohort and your team’s commitment from the current cohort (including team attendance, interaction with mentors, the timely deliverables, communication with the Explorer teams) will be heavily weighed in the evaluation.

  • Explorer can provide (pending an evaluation of your proposal), in collaboration with the ILO/Fablab, Green Energy Park (GEP), StarGate and MASciR physical space and equipment access for those projects that require it and are relevant to the mission of the collaborating organizations.

  • Explorer awards up to 250.000 MAD cumulative funding per idea/venture. The application you qualify for (over or under 50.000 MAD) is determined on a cumulative basis, for example:

    • If in your first cohort you received 20.000 MAD and are now applying for 40.000 MAD, you now have a potential cumulative funding of 60.000 MAD and you are in the over 50.000 MAD application range.

    • If in cohort 1 you received 20.000 MAD and are applying for 20.000 MAD, you fall in the under or equal to 50.000 MAD application range.

  • The funding that you are given is subject to very strict spending guidelines. There are two ways to spend your funds. A first is your team purchases the items and then submits a reimbursement request and the second is in-kind services. Both are limited to specific categories. Please see Use of Funds tab on this website. However, all expenditures must be approved ahead of time and paid for by your mentors and the Explorer program BEFORE any purchases are made.

  • Eligibility Organizations: UM6P, GEP, MASCIR, 1337, YouCode, Cadi Ayyad, Hassan II, Mohammed V, and Al Akhawayn Students (undergraduate, masters and PhDs and postdocs), and researchers.

  • Eligible members (see Eligibility Organizations above) and their teams that have a startup idea that they are already working on or want to start working on are eligible to apply.

    • All business models are welcome, including non-profit, social ventures, commercialization of eligible organizations (see Eligibility Organizations above) research and projects.

    • This does not include internships, charities, or research that you are not actively trying to commercialize or bring to market.

  • Teams can have members from any eligible department or organization (see Eligibility Organizations above), as well as non-UM6P members.

  • A team must have at least one full-time member from an elibile organization (see Eligibility Organizations above) in a leadership role.

  • Upon graduation or terminating affiliation with any of the eligibility organizations (see Eligibility Organizations above), a team is no longer eligible to continue within Explorer.

    • Recruiting an eligible member to the team for the sole purpose of continuing the participation in Explorer will not be accepted as an eligibility criteria. Such addition to the team must happen at least ½ a cohort in advance. Please consult with the Explorer staff early about any clarifications required.

  • Team members can be added/deleted up to middle of cohort (through Explorer portal).
  • Team absolutely must be committed to Their Business

    • Completing/Revising LBMC, Customer Segments, Customer Discovery, Early Adopters

  • Teams must disclose prior or other sources of funding. This will not exclude you from being in the Explorer program in any way.

Applications deadline for the Spring 2021 Cohort is March 5, 2021.  Please click here to register and apply.

  • Well thought out and written descriptions, in English, of the items below.  One liner/sentence descriptions, or incoherent descriptions will result in immediate rejection of the application.  Please make sure to put clear thought in your writing and run it by colleague(s) and/or mentor(s) beforehand.

  • A short video showing how to register and fill out an application can be found here.

  • Submit an online application and provide:

    • A clear description of the problem that your idea addresses.

    • A clear description of the proposed solution

    • A short description of your project that can be shared publicly

    • A description of the team members and their skills

    • A high-level project plan, including milestones

    • A description of achievements to date

    • A budget plan showing how you will use your Explorer funds

  • Decisions will be sent by email and will include:

    • Feedback from reviewers.

    • The awarded funding amount if the Explorer Funding Board decided to award you under 50.000 MAD.

    • An invitation to present virtually to the Explorer Funding Board, along with the max amount that you are allowed to request.

    • In some cases you might be asked to have a virtual interview prior to making a decision

  • Funding Board (over 50.000 MAD applications only):

    • If you are invited to present to the Funding Board you will need to virtually present your pitch deck

    • Presentations are virtual and are 5 minutes long with 15 minutes of questions

    • Decisions will be sent out with feedback and the funding amount awarded if any.

Whether you are exploring a new idea or are ready to seek outside investor funding, the Explorer Funding Board will assess your business proposals based on one or more of these criteria:

 

Requirements/Criteria (Funding Levels 10.000 - 50.000)

  • Application has identified a clearly defined problem

  • Application has identified one or more potential technology, science and/or market solutions to the problem

  • Application has identified a clearly defined market and/or customer segment(s)

  • Business, economic and/or social impact on community

  • Project has educational potential for students


Requirements/Criteria (Funding Levels 50.000 - 100.000)

  • Completed LBMC with evidence of several itermations on it.

  • A clear 5 minutes business pitch to present to the funding board (in English).

  • Initial customer interviews/surveys completed with initial conclusions/direction identified

  • Team has a plan for customer discovery with some initial/pilot customer discovery completed, MVP design/concept, and initial technology identification

  • Early adopter(s) clearly identified and engaged.

  • Initial proposal for a business model, including, potential revenue streams, cost structure, team buildup plan.


Requirements/Criteria (Funding Levels 100.000 - 250.000)

  • Team has completed preliminary market research and has proposals for a viable business model (i.e. business plan)

  • One or more early adopter implementations completed with clear results/conclusions

  • Pitch deck (5-min and 20-min)

  • Ready for due diligence, including addressing IP, corporate structure, founder agreement, equity positions, contracts, …...

Once you become part of an Explorer Cohort you will be invited to (and you must do as a requirement for good standing in the Explorer program):

  • Check your inbox on a regular basis since Explorer’s communication is via email.

  • Attend a kick-off session online

    If you are not able to attend your team’s kickoff session, you can access a kickoff webcast, available in the Explorer Teams Resources Web Page under the kickoff tab.

  • Attend all mentoring sessions. (attendance and participation at all mentoring sessions are mandatory and failure to do so will result in your exclusion from the Explorer program)

  • Contact Explorer management and your Mentors if you are not planning on attending your session(s).

  • Attend 4 workshops.

  • Submit a monthly status report and a final report

  • Attend a Funding Board showcase at the end of your cohort

  • Take advantage of as many of the resources that we provide as you can

Funds will only be available once all your team members have gone through the first session.

 

To help you prepare a budget for your application, the guidelines for permitted use of funds are below. Note that all expenditures must be approved by your mentors AND the Explorer management before any spending.  These approvals are strictly subject to the policies of UM6P Ventures and are at the total discretion of the Explorer management.

 

Allowed Expenses

  • Software licenses that are essential to your business (if it cannot be obtained for free and must use educational discounts)

  • Computing resources (i.e. Cloud Computing).  Explorer will provide you Cloud Computing credits and access through a single resource.  We have arrangements with IBM Cloud  and UM6P datacenter.

  • Web hosting services (e.g. Godaddy, Networksolutions, Google, ..)

    • Costs must be reasonable and necessary

  • Hardware parts & materials (if not available through free means at UM6P or affiliates). These purchases will be procured by an Explorer entity and loaned out to teams for usage.

  • Equipment (not laptops, tablets or servers) (if not available through free means at UM6P or affiliates). These purchases will be procured by a UM6P entity and loaned out to teams for usage.

  • Travel costs to meet with potential customers and conduct customer/market research (within reason)

    • Domestic travel ONLY (no foreign travel of any kind)

    • Note that we must follow UM6P policies strictly including travel permission. For example, if UM6P has a ban on travel (e.g. for COVID-19) then the Explorer program must adhere to these restrictions.

    • Travel is ONLY allowed for Customer Discovery.

    • Market research and customer discovery expenses (e.g. to meet with prospective customers or subjects of market research). Explorer will ONLY cover your expenses, you will have to cover any customer expenses yourself.

  • Services (e.g. hiring Developers and Contractors)

    • Explorer funds are not meant to be used to pay for outside developers or contractors for your team. We encourage you, if you need these services, to find someone with that expertise to join your team. Alternatively, please use resources from within UM6P/YouCode/1337 (e.g. interns).

    • Explorer will provide in-kind services (Developers/manufacturing/researcher/ ….)

    • Only 25% of your total budget may be used for labor services (i.e. hiring people).  Exceptions can be made under very limited conditions.

  • Legal Fees are limited to 10.000 Dhs.  These legal fees are encouraged to be spent on intellectual property protection (e.g. patenting).  Again, exceptions in rare cases could be made.  Explorer and mentor approvals are a must just as with any of the other spending.

 

 Non-Allowed Expenses

  • Gifts, alcohol, and items not directly related to the team project

  • Team dinners, meals, outings

  • Tax, including VAT and franchise taxes

  • Personal computers, laptops, tablets smart phones or servers.

  • Education courses

  • Conference fees (unless it is very specific to customer discovery and will save multiple trips to multiple vendors). Explorer will not approve conference fees for scientific/research purposes.

  • Rent for housing.

  • Co-working space rental. As stated above, Explorer will be able to provide working space depending on your proposal and approval through our partners on the UM6P campus or 1337/YouCode campuses.  Work in your dorm room, house, an empty classroom, a common area. Your institutions are full of places to meet and work together.

Explorer does not take equity in Explorer funded projects.  Teams do not give up any rights to intellectual property (IP) through participation in the program

  • Please make sure to understand how the use of any UM6P/GEP/MASciR/FabLab resources may impact their IP. Reach out to Explorer if you need any help with that.

 

Funding for Explorer (and other programs) is possible because of the deep commitment of UM6P Ventures and other funding entities

  • Please consider giving back to the program (e.g. mentoring, donations) when your venture is successful and you are able to pay back.

 

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