Application deadline EXTENDED to June 12, 2019
NEW THIS YEAR!  Up to $5,000 in pre-seed funding available to startups accepted into the Pre-Accelerator program

 Before You Seek Support And Investment, Put Your Idea To The Test

The F³ Tech Pre-Accelerator is a program focused on viewing the traditional industries of agriculture and seafood through the lens of innovation and technology.  Through the coordinated networking of serial entrepreneurs, mentors, coaches, industry and subject matter experts, along with investors, F³ Tech aims to position Maryland as a leader in the sectors of agritech, aquatech, and envirotech.

The F³ Tech Pre-Accelerator program is specially-designed Proof-of-Concept process for startups and entrepreneurs looking to develop an idea or product towards commercialization.  This is the program for idea-stage or very early-stage startups to fully validate an idea for a new product or service, acquire valuable feedback from industry experts and serial entrepreneurs, and position itself to take advantage of a more aggressive, traditional multi-month accelerator program, F³ Tech or elsewhere.

During the Pre-Accelerator program you will be exposed to:

  • Assessing your idea
  • Validating the market
  • Evaluating customer acquisition
  • How to pitch and sales
  • Business model preparation
  • Handling intellectual property
  • Branding and marketing tactics
  • Finances and raising capital

The six-week Pre-Accelerator program is completely virtual.  Entrepreneurs and startups throughout the United States may participate in the weekly online sessions.  Each week there are two one-hour interactive webinar sessions as well as a one-hour mentoring session with a mentor/coach.  Each session requires participating entrepreneurs and startup teams to work between sessions and to submit the product of that effort for evaluation and critique.

It is encouraged that participants already validate any new technology or innovation before beginning the process of validating whether the product or service has commercial opportunity.  Therefore, though it is not required, applicants already having an innovation or technology at Technology Readiness Level 6 will receive priority consideration in acceptance.


Once accepted into the Pre-Accelerator program, you are eligible to apply for up to $5,000 in Pre-Seed Mini-Grant funding.  The Mini-Grant available for Pre-Accelerator participants is:

  • Technology Validation of $5,000




    • Entrepreneurs and startup teams must apply and be accepted to participate.  Participation is free.
    • Acceptance will be made by the program organizers based upon the appropriateness of applications, ideas, and the level of technology readiness.
    • No equity is taken in your company or idea.
    • Participating entrepreneurs and teams are encouraged to be connected with an incubator or a coworking space in order to be  part of a supporting community and network of other entrepreneurs and startups.
    • Though individual entrepreneurs are welcome to participate, we encourage teams of 2 to 4 founders.
    • Importance is placed on how solid the startup team members work together and their ability to be coached and take feedback.
    • Your idea or product/service should be innovative and address a market need within the industry sectors of agritech, aquatech, and envirotech.
    • Applicants must convince organizers that any new technology or innovation has already been validated, not just a business idea.
    • Companies should still be in the idea-phase and developing a value proposition.
    • Companies should still be pre-revenue.
    • Having some form of or the potential for intellectual property is a plus but not a requirement.
    • The program runs for six-weeks.  There are two one-hour online sessions and one in-person mentoring session per week.
    • Weekly deliverables are expected, mentorship sessions are required, and commitment is absolutely mandatory!

    • The desired outcome from participation is for entrepreneurs and teams to have a validated innovation or technology and startup business idea with a message consisting of a viable product proposition, refined marketing strategy and a practical development roadmap going forward.


What is the background of the program?
The 6-week program is designed for entrepreneurs and startups that want to commercialize an idea or product/service in the marketplace, having a focus in agritech, aquatech, or envirotech.

Are there any fees for this program?
No, there are not fees to participate in the program.

Who are the mentors and coaches?
The mentors, coaches, and speakers participating in webinars are drawn from throughout the United States.  They are serial entrepreneurs, subject matter experts, and investors from within the industry sectors of agriculture, seafood, and environment.  In addition, you are expected to find your own local mentor with whom you are expected to meet with once a week.  You and your mentor will be required to provide updates about your weekly one-hour session and what progress you are making towards the program’s objectives.

When is the application deadline?
The deadline to apply is May 19, 2019.

What is the timeline of this program?
Applications are open until May 19, 2019. The program itself runs from June 4, 2019 to July 19, 2019.

Who qualifies for this program?
Applications are now open to entrepreneurs and startup teams in the early-idea stage from throughout the United States active within the industry sectors of agritech, aquatech, and envirotech.  Funding is not provided.  You are encouraged to have already validated any science or technology involved in your business idea and achieve Technology Readiness Level 6 if possible.

How does full-time and part-time participation work?
The program is open to entrepreneurs and startups working both full- and part-time on their idea or product/service.  Full-time participants are encouraged to participate in a local incubator or coworking space to enable interaction with the their respective startup ecosystem.  Part-time participation is allowed for entrepreneurs and teams that spend only evenings working on their efforts.

Do I need to take time off from work to attend this program?
The program is designed for those already working full-time.  All interactive online sessions occur in the evening and mentoring sessions are scheduled at the convenience of the entrepreneur/team and mentor/coach.

How do I know if I/we are qualified to apply?
The program is designed for entrepreneurs and startup teams at the idea or early-seed stage,  having a working product/service and team members is recommended, but not required.  It can not be reinforced enough, but to benefit from the program you should have already validated any science or technology associated with your product or service.

How many members can join in a team?
Teams of up to four members may apply.  Individual entrepreneurs are also eligible.

Who evaluates the applications?
The applications will be reviewed by a team from the program organizers.