What is the difference between pre-seed and innovator-in-residence?

Unshackled Ventures is a venture fund that invests in great early stage immigrant founded startups. As part of our main focus, we invest capital in companies. But for the rare individual talent, that still needs time to ideate, validate and recruit their co-founders, we have created the Innovator in residence program. This is similar to an entrepreneur-in-residence program.

How far along should I be with my startup before applying? What is “too early”?

We invest in startups at the earliest stages. As long as you have understood your value propositions, a customer segment and their willingness to pay, you are ready for us. We don’t need to see any product. In fact, we hope we are part of that journey. We sometimes call ourselves the day 0 fund.

What kind of founders are you looking for?

Entrepreneurial, determined and innovative: Be creative, not afraid to fail until you succeed, visionary and out of the box thinker. Ideally, you are looking to make a big difference, not a marginal or incremental improvement.

Is there a size of a round too big for Unshackled VC to invest in?

Currently, we are focused on early stage (pre-seed/seed) investment opportunities. We lead our rounds and if you are raising more than $500K you are probably not the right stage for us. A big part of our focus is on helping founders from day 0.

When can I approach you for pre-seed funding?

When you are ready. Warm intros through someone we know and trust are great, but you can also share information about yourself and your startup through a short form here.

What does the selection / evaluation process look like?

We apply standard venture funding evaluation processes. We have published our investment criteria here. We always try to operate on founders’ timelines, but make decisions only after a thorough view at the business.

What are the Unshackled terms?

We invest up to $300k and are happy to lead pre-seed rounds. We target an 8-15% ownership in all of our investments.

What are the requirements to apply for the Innovator-In-Residence Program?

All applicants should be currently authorized or eligible to be authorized to work in the USA. This includes citizens of the USA, permanent residents, and individuals on work-visas like H-1B, F1, TN, E3, H4, O1, etc. If you are uncertain of your work status, please apply with all details you know and we’ll see if we can consider your application. If you don’t have a work visa yet, but have a business you know we should support, apply anyways.

What do you look for in innovators?

We are looking for passionate technologists with a strong vision for the future of technology and relevant experience to make that vision a reality. 

What should I do if I want to work or intern for Unshackled VC?

We are always looking for talented people to join us in any meaningful capacity. Please email us at info@unshackledvc.com with your resume and an interesting cover letter.

What collaboration opportunities do you look for?

While we are a venture firm, focused on investment opportunities, we always look forward to collaborating with all kinds of organization including and not limited incubators, accelerators, universities and our colleagues in the venture capital industry.

What types of visas do you work with?

If you have work-authorization or can secure work-authorization in the U.S. we will work with you.