+ What happens at Powerhouse?
+ I want awesome office space for my solar+ startup. What does the incubator offer and how do I apply?
+ How can I get funding for our startup?
Powerhouse is a nexus of early stage solar+ software investors. From small Bay Area angels to Silicon Valley VCs, our capital partners trust us to bring them the next greatest deal. For our network of investors, it’s not if they should invest in new energy, but who’s next. While you’ll definitely meet investors by being in the Incubator, if you want warm intros with our credibility to back you up, apply to the Accelerator.
+ What kind of events happen at Powerhouse?
The question really is, what kind of new energy events don’t happen at Powerhouse? From SunCode Hackathons with industry leaders like Sunrun and Sungevity, to Powerhouse Circle, an intense investor speed-dating event with Obvious Ventures and Emergence Capital at Intersolar, to epic solar+ parties like New Dawn sponsored by industry giants SolarCity and SunPower.
+ Why did you choose the name Powerhouse?
Because that’s what the solar+ industry is and that’s what our entrepreneurs are.
+ Where are you located?
Powerhouse is in the heart of Oakland’s vibrant Uptown district; the neighborhood with all the cool new restaurants and bars. Our address is 426 17th Street Suite 700 - steps above the 19th Street BART station.
+ How do I get to Powerhouse?
Powerhouse is less than 20 steps from BART - depending on how you walk. We have secure bike parking in our basement along with a bike repair station flush with tools and a pump. There are even showers. Car parking is available around the office and is $8-15/day.
+ How much space do you have?
Powerhouse has 14,707 square feet of LEED certified office digs spanning the top three floors of our beautiful, century old building. We can see City Hall, Lake Merritt, Cal Berkeley’s campus, the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate bridge from our windows.
+ How’s the wifi?
Powerhouse has invested in an enterprise-grade gigabit internet, with Cisco wireless access points providing great wifi throughout the office, and dual redundant internet connections providing fast and reliable connectivity. With built-in security enhancements and proactive monitoring, we empower our startups to safely build world-changing solar+ businesses.
+ What kind of work stations do you have?
Hydraulic desks for those who like to stand and work. Our conference room tables are made of actual solar panels. We made them ourselves using crowbars and gorilla glue. We work on solar while we work on solar solutions. Some desks are shared and are available on a first come first serve basis each day.
+ Can I have my own office?
We keep small offices available as meeting rooms when you need some privacy. We also have a large conference room in the penthouse. There are a limited number of private offices. Contact [email protected] for availability.
+ When would I have access to the office?
You’re an entrepreneur. You need access 24/7 and we give it to you.
+ What else is in the office?
Shared kitchen stocked with coffee, tea, and healthy snacks. Rooftop deck with BBQ that have made for many fun events.
+ Can I host an event at Powerhouse?
Yes, contact [email protected] for details.
+ Would I get a mailbox?
+ Can competitors be in the incubator?
Powerhouse has a collaborative culture. Competitors are welcome if they are willing to share the space.
+ When is the Accelerator?
Powerhouse runs two 6 month cohorts a year. One from January through June and one from July through December.
+ How much do you invest?
Our cash investment is small but the investment we make via our network is huge. The cold hard cash is $10k, but the value Powerhouse brings is in the connections we make for your business. From intros to angels and VC’s, customers, and talent, our investment isn’t about the check, it’s about you.
+ What are the terms?
Following a three-month probationary period, and subject to certain conditions, Powerhouse will invest $10,000 and reserve the right to invest up to a total of $50,000 in exchange for a convertible note and warrant. The convertible note will automatically convert, at a discount, into shares of the company’s preferred stock issued in the company’s preferred stock financing. The number of shares and the purchase price of the shares will depend on the terms of such financing. The note may also be converted or repaid at maturity.
The warrant will be exercisable for a number of shares of the company’s preferred stock equal to 5% of the company’s outstanding capital stock immediately following the company’s preferred stock financing or, if the company does not have a preferred stock financing before an exit event, then the warrant will be exercisable for a number of shares of the company’s common stock equal to 5% of the company’s outstanding capital stock as of the date of issuance of the warrant. The purchase price for the preferred stock will be equal to the price per share of such shares of preferred stock and the purchase price for the common stock will be equal to the par value per share of the common stock.
Please note that the above is intended to be a summary of the terms. Upon your acceptance into the program, we will provide you provide you with the form of note and warrant for your review. Such agreements will supersede anything contained herein.
+ Will you sign an NDA?
No, and most angels and VC’s won’t. However, we won’t share what you submit with anyone other than our Selection Committee.
+ Do I need to write a business plan?
No. Just follow the application process which includes a deck, financial model, and if we like that, an in person interview.
+ Will you fund startups working on the same opportunity?
+ If accepted, how often do we meet?
The value of Powerhouse is not just in who we introduce you to, but also in our time together. We meet with every Accelerator startup every week. The purpose of the weekly meeting is to strategize and push progress. Intros to the right people are done post meeting based on what you need that week. Additionally, we arrange bi-monthly workshops with industry executives and investors monthly 1:1 office hours with experts in residence.
+ Do I need to move to the Bay Area?
Yes, the value is being here.
+ Does my business have to be incorporated in the US?
+ What am I evaluated on?
Powerhouse puts entrepreneurs first and we put startup founders first when we’re reviewing applications. We know your business model is going to change in the 6 months you’re with us so we care more about you as a person, and how you will lead your company, than we do your current product and projected market share. For entrepreneurs we look for innovation, leadership and grit. Ideally you have a cofounder or two, including a technical founder.
+ We’re a small (or big team). Should we apply?
We’ve invested in startups that had one person and startups that had 20. Our sweet spot is pre-seed or seed rounds and tend to be 2-3 on staff when they join the Accelerator.
+ We already have some funding. Should we apply?
Depends on what you want from Powerhouse and how much you will need to raise. If you want connections to customers and capital, then go for it. Our value is not in the small cash investment we make, but the network we make available to you.
+ We do hardware and software. Is that ok?
Powerhouse is most interested in software and storage solutions (solar+) that help spread solar to the masses. Hardware and software combos are welcome to apply but we won’t evaluate straight hardware plays as it’s not our area of expertise.
+ Why weren’t we invited to interview with the Selection Committee?
We accept a very limited number of solar+ startups each year. The caliber of companies that have been accepted so far have set a high bar. There is often not anything particularly wrong with your application, but rather, we are comparing potential success with potential success. Don’t let it stop you from proving us wrong.
+ What’s the process for submitting my application?
Powerhouse accepts accelerator applicants twice per year. Cohorts run from January-June and July-December.
You can find instructions on how to submit your application under our 'Accelerator' page or by clicking here .
+ Will you help us raise a round if we’re not in the Accelerator?
Our commitment is to the startups we’ve accepted into the Accelerator. We focus our time and resources on their needs.
+ We don’t want the funding but will you make intros for us?
Our focus is on the companies that we’ve accepted into the Accelerator.
+ ...Can I drop by?
Our entrepreneurs are heads down building their businesses and we want them to be as focused as possible so we don’t take walk-ins. That said, connect with us first if you want to come by. Contact [email protected]