RED Labs Summer Accelerator Program
Applications open January 2024
RED Labs Summer Accelerator Program is a 12 week program designed to help teams of UH students, faculty and recent alumni who have a startup idea. The teams spend the summer attending startup-focused curriculum sessions, getting advice from startup founders and community mentors, and working on their startup. The program then culminates with the Bayou Startup Showcase, a demo day where RED Labs teams pitch their idea in front of the Houston Startup community.
What should you expect:
- Twelve weeks of curriculum focused on entrepreneurship
- One on one mentorship for you and your team
- Legal office hours to advise on legal issues including intellectual property and incorporation.
- A joint cohort with Rice University’s startup up accelerator, OwlSpark
- A demo day to launch your business for the Houston community
What do you need to apply:
- An idea for a tech startup. Business ideas should be tech-focused or scale with technology -- meaning it shouldn’t be a restaurant or consulting company - those need more people or infrastructure to scale.
- A validated customer. Team should have already started customer discovery on their business idea and validated the market. Need help with this? Check out some of our classes on tech startups (Intro to Tech Entrepreneurship and the Pre-Accelerator).
- The skills to build. We look for teams that can build their startup idea. Meaning, if you have an app idea, someone on your team can build the app or your team can pay someone to develop the app. This doesn’t mean that you have to finish building over the summer, just that you are able to build it.
- Flexibility and coachability. All teams will receive a lot of feedback throughout the summer and being flexible, learning from customers and mentors and being willing to pivot makes for an ideal RED Labs team.
- Commitment. Ultimately we want teams who are excited about pursuing their startup idea and willing to put in the time and effort over the summer to launch the idea.
How to apply:
Applications open January 2024
The program begins in May and culminates with the Bayou Startup Showcase in early August (date TBD).
Curious about the Bayou Startup Showcase, click on the links below to watch previous classes pitch.
- Class 3 (Summer 2015)
- Class 4 (Summer 2016)
- Class 5 (Summer 2017)
- Class 6 (Summer 2018)
- Class 7 (Summer 2019)
- Class 8 (Summer 2020)
- Class 9 (Summer 2021)
- Class 10 (Summer 2022)
Does everyone on my team need to be associated with the University of Houston?
No. To be eligible for RED Labs Summer Accelerator, you only need one team member that is either a current student at UH, a current faculty member at UH, or a recent alumni of UH (graduated in the last year). The rest of the team can be composed of whoever you need to get the job done.
How much does RED Labs Summer Accelerator cost?
It’s free! That said, there is an *optional* three credit hour course associated with it (ENTR 4394/7394) and if you need those credits, you can enroll. If you are enrolled in the class, you do have to pay for the associated credit hours.
What exactly is the Bayou Startup Showcase?
The Bayou Startup Showcase is a demo day where RED Labs and OwlSpark founders deliver a 4 minute pitch to the startup community. Click on the links below to watch previous Bayou Startup Showcases.
Can I apply as a solo founder?
Yes, you can still apply as a solo founder. You still have to have all the requirements expected from the startups, and there is generally a greater commitment required from the founder. We do find that teams are generally more successful with more than one founder on the team, but it is very possible to be a successful solo founder.
What’s the time commitment?
We generally have about 6-7 hours of curriculum, sessions and mentorship scheduled each week. That said, this program is intended to provide resources and support you as you launch your startup. You should expect to spend a significant amount of time outside of that scheduled time working on building your minimum viable product, talking to customers and launching your business.
Below is the schedule from the summer of 2023 for RED Labs Class 11. Please preview to get an understanding of the time commitment of the program. The schedule does change year to year but generally, there is a bootcamp with 9am to 4pm days at the beginning, low time commitment sessions and check in the middle of the summer, and pitch practice and the Bayou Startup Showcase at the end.
Bootcamp: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
May 17 through May 26
Additional Tuesday Sessions: 9 a.m. - 4.pm.
May 30, June 6, June 13, June 20, and July 11
Check-ins and Speaker Session: 20 minute team check in and
lunch time speaker 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
May 31, June 7, June 14, June 2, June 28, July 5, and July 12
Pitch Practice: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. OR 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
July 17 - July 21 (online)
July 24 - July 28 (in person)
Bayou Startup Showcase: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.