Almost every month we invest $250,000 in another awesome business-oriented startup. In the interests of transparency, here’s a quick run through of the Citrix Startup Accelerator investment criteria, structure and why we do it.
2015 Citrix Startup Accelerator Seed Themes
As part of the Citrix Innovation outreach, we invest in world class startups who are ‘re-inventing work’ or ‘transforming enterprise infrastructure’. Our companies leverage new technologies and trends to transform value and competitive frameworks. They drive real outcomes; reduced cost, improved efficiency, or increases in revenue.
- The re-invention of work
- Enterprise infrastructure transformation
The right companies have a realistic chance to disrupt their target industry, and to become a “10x” or high growth company. They have the right team for the job, with startup and enterprise business experience and deep technological expertise. In many cases, they solve a deep technological problem, so have strong intellectual property. In others, they bring deep insights into the market.
They have near-term customers with a burning need, and a growing longer-term vision. We particularly like companies that are based in Silicon Valley, or have a commitment to moving here, but this is not critical. We invest where companies are not directly competitive with Citrix, and where if the vision is successful, we would see a longer term impact on customers and markets that Citrix touches.
Our investment is generally part of a larger seed/angel stage round of between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000. In most cases this follows a small seed (friends and family) round and precedes an institutional A-round. In most cases, this implies that the company has some product/market fit validation – with one or two early customers lined up, but needs to further validate their market, or prove their product.
Our investment is far more than just the money. We have Silicon Valley offices in Santa Clara and many of our companies work from here. Our community is continually growing; having invested in over 28 companies to date, we have a broad range of experience and expertise willing and able to share best practices. We have deep experience with the challenges of validating early stage b2b and enterprise startups. And finally, we are closely connected to investors, customers and partners.
We are technology agnostic. Some technologies and trends we find interesting are: Containers, AR, Machine Learning, Natural Language, Vision, Visualization, Big Data, and IoT.
Citrix is focused on software that enables better ways to work, and the many ways that this software can reach us, in particular via mobile and IoT devices. Much of this capability is invisible to the end user, and is enabled by new computing infrastructure technologies.
These areas are evolving very rapidly, so we seek insights into emerging technologies and emerging market changes. By working closely with market driven startups, and helping them to succeed as independent companies, we are able to derive actionable insights.
In most cases, Citrix does not participate in future funding rounds. Where it does occur, it is driven by the Citrix strategic investment team, and occurs when a Citrix Product Group has a strong interest in closely aligning with that company. Our investments are expected to drive a significant return, which aligns our interests with the broader investment community.
Extraordinary new companies that fit the criteria above are encouraged to apply to Citrix Startup Accelerator for funding. Qualified referrals are highly regarded.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts (add a comment below or tweet me @michaelharries).
(Follow up posts will focus on the entrepreneur perspective, our other programs, and introduce some of the companies.)
Dr Michael Harries, Chief Technologist, Senior Director, Citrix Startup Accelerator