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Is it time for startup founders to have their own Common App?

While VCs have access to large amounts of money, the currency they really care about is deal flow, and it is a moving target. An early bet on the next major company can guarantee the full return of a money (and more) and bring renown to the investor.

Since this is the case, the newest offering from Afore Capital’s portfolio company seems like a particularly generous choice. The venture capital firm is introducing what it calls a universal application for pre-seed business entrepreneurs after closing a $150 million fund in May 2022. A startup Common App, patterned after the well-known undergraduate college entrance application, would enable entrepreneurs to easily pitch numerous investors using the same basic form and pitch deck.

This is how it operates: Afore Capital’s Afore Alpha is an accelerator that provides entrepreneurs with a conventional pre-seed transaction. The application asks if the startup has applied to or interviewed with Y Combinator as part of an internal benchmarking process, as well as other questions about the founding team, pitch deck, recent victories, motivation, and more.

If you get in, you’ll get a $1 million lead investment via a $10 million post-money SAFE, which is, as Afore points out, five times more cash and five times the value than accelerators like YC and Techstars provide.

Applying founding teams to Afore’s programme will now have their applications sent out to a network of thirty or more investors at the venture capital company. Afore calls this group of investors “pre-seed specialists,” and its members include Allison Barr Allen of Trail Run Capital, Allison Pickens of The New Normal Fund, Em Herrera of Night Ventures, and Rex Salisbury of Cambrian Ventures.