Not your conventional Accelerator

Starting a business is one of the most difficult things you can imagine doing. It can also be very lonely, even in a big city. We support entrepreneurs solving meaningful problems in the world across many industries by leveraging our truly world class mentor network, providing access to curriculum and topic specific experts, and of course helping with capital resources.

We are one of the first accelerators in the world to offer flexible capital alternatives, a mentor network that can compete with any of the top tier programs, a professionally run program, and an amazing community that all will help you increase your odds of success. 


September 15th, 2016: Applications Open 

December 16th, 2016: Applications Close

December 21st, 2016: Top ~15 candidates notified

January 11th: 2017 Cohort announced!

March 6th, 2017: Teams arrive in Telluride and get settled

March 13th - June 29th, 2017: Program

June 30th, 2017: Demo Day

Western Rise Pitch


We've assembled a world class group of mentors. One of the greatest assets of Telluride is the amazing volume and diversity of incredibly accomplished people who call this place home or spend as much time here as possible. We run a two step process to match you with the mentors that are best for you: first we ensure you meet with the mentors who have the most experience relevant to your needs and second: we establish clear expectations around three possible commitment levels to ensure both parties have a successful relationship. Our goal is to help create relationships that go beyond just this venture and help unlock the amazing power of the global network through this group. 


Upon acceptance, each team is given the choice of $30k for 5% equity OR debt in the form of a loan. Both are instruments to help you meet your goals and prepare you for growth and possible further investment from our network and beyond. 

Too many of today's programs are built on high-growth, moneyball strategies that force companies into relentless growth in the pursuit of massive returns for the investors. The high growth route is great for some companies, but we believe in supporting entrepreneurs whether they are aiming to disrupt massive industries OR the entrepreneurs looking to build meaningful and moderately sized companies without giving up all of their ownership to investors. There are pros and cons to both, and we're happy to work through the choices with you. Our intent is to provide more flexible options to entrepreneurs based on their business models and end goals. 

  • Equity: $30k for 5% equity in the form of a convertible equity note. Very similar to the Techstars or the YC SAFE note. 
  • Hybrid Loan: $30k that is repayable after a grace period at only 5% interest, but it converts to equity in the event a startup is wildly successful in terms of revenue, takes a major financing round, or sells their company. We're working hard now to finalize the exact structure of this creative, startup friendly offering! 


Ask locals around Telluride why they moved here and it's almost unanimously "the community." This is truly a special place full of amazing people. Our remoteness can be challenging but it has created one of the most authentic mountain town communities you'll ever find. Throughout the program, we help integrate you with the local business owners and community leaders. When you move to Telluride as  an entrepreneur, you're not just building a business, you're contributing to the future of the community, and everyone here can tell you that for every ounce you put into it, you'll receive exponential rewards in return. There may not be a better place to have this quality of life AND have ambitious, meaningful, and stimulating work. See more about the broader community at


Beyond the local community, one of the greatest values of any accelerator program is the peer group. Being around other passionate and dedicated founders tackling many of the same issues is not only helpful on the hard days, but it can truly accelerate your growth as an entrepreneur. We can almost guarantee that you will forge life long friendships with the other founders in the program. 


This isn't school, and you won't have homework, and we know that you still have a business to build while going through the program. The program's curriculum will ensure that we evaluate all key aspects of your business and give you access to some top experts from across the nation in very specific areas. Check out our full schedule here.  Our key principles around curriculum approach are: 

  •  JIT Information: We might revisit content or run custom for specific teams at any given time as it is relevant to their businesses.
  • One size does not fit all: Some companies may not benefit from every planned session or mentor. We’ll work actively to identify these before each session to maximize productivity.

  • Max of 10 hours / week of required formal content/curriculum (not including activities). The teams are still building and running businesses

  • There are 5 primary aspects of the program that will be ongoing throughout, and we will have at least 9 specific topics of focus that will be addressed both as needed and more formally with experts from our network.

Curriculum Philosophy and primary areas of focus

Curriculum Philosophy and primary areas of focus

A standard week at TVA

A standard week at TVA

TVA Demo Day event for investors

TVA Demo Day event for investors

Post Program & Alumni

Support for TVA companies doesn't end after the program. We know that over the long-term our alumni network becomes an incredible value to all future teams. We'd hold quarterly check in calls to ensure we're doing anything we can to be helpful. We also host an annual alumni event right before our demo day to continue to provide access and opportunity within the entire TVA network. Ultimately, we aim to be a supporter for life of all individuals that come through the program, be it this idea or the next!