Maker-centric startups within 300 miles of Austin eligible to apply for $100,000 of seed money, training and future funding opportunities; Informational barbecue lunch with the founders to take place on Dec. 11

(AUSTIN, TEXAS – Dec. 1, 2017; source: Juice Consulting) – Sputnik ATX, Austin’s newest accelerator focusing on growth companies, invites entrepreneurs within a 300-mile radius of Austin to apply for its 2018 inaugural program by Dec. 25, 2017. Potential applicants are invited to attend an informational lunch, Monday, Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. at the company’s Austin headquarters to meet the team and learn more about the unique accelerator. The theme will be “A Very B2C Christmas,” where interested participants may send their best ideas for a B2C product/service as part of a contest to attend. To learn more and RSVP, please click here.

Sputnik ATX was named after the first satellite to enter Earth’s orbit, an event that touched off a new era of innovation and competition that influences the world still today. The accelerator was born out of a venture fund founded by Oksana Malysheva and Joe Merrill. After investing in companies around the world, the entrepreneurial atmosphere of Austin inspired Malysheva and Merrill to consider the city as a new home for their efforts. Sputnik ATX launched here on Oct. 4, 2017, the 60th anniversary of the Sputnik-1 launch.

“The word ‘Sputnik’ means companion in Russian, and it describes exactly what we have created our accelerator to do — partner with and mentor the startups we fund,” said Oksana Malysheva, co-founder of Sputnik ATX. “We are passionate about accelerating these companies through our program; and believe that the combination of capital, rigor, education and mentoring that Sputnik ATX offers will provide the best opportunity for success for our class.”

Oksana Malysheva, co-founder of Sputnik ATX

Entrepreneurs living within a 300-mile radius of Austin (including San Antonio, Dallas and Houston), or those who agree to move their businesses within that radius if accepted into the program, qualify to apply.

Sputnik ATX is focused on companies that already have a minimum viable product and at least one customer. Once chosen, the startups will each come to Austin for 100 days beginning in Jan. 2018 for classes, mentoring and funding guidance. Sputnik ATX will provide office space for up to four members as well as a $100,000 investment via SAFE note. At the end of the three-month curriculum, participating startups have an opportunity to present their product and company to a panel of investors to vie for additional investments and funding.

Sputnik is focused on early stage companies, rather than proto-companies, like some incubators and accelerators. Sputnik ATX is perfect for a company that already has the minimum viable product and really needs help with product/service marketing and sales.

“We are obsessed with helping startups get sales and market traction,” said Joe Merrill, co-founder. “This includes a focus on basic sales skills, as well as marketing and product marketing/development. Oksana and I have a very complementary skill set, in addition to more than two decades of investing and startup experience, I am an economist and former US Diplomat and Oksana is a physicist, a marketer and management consultant. Our professional experiences span many different areas, and between the two of us, we probably know something about almost every industry – at least enough to be dangerous. We have deep experience in education, fintech, agriculture, manufacturing and retail.”

Joe Merrill, co-founder of Sputnik ATX

“We don’t see ourselves as competition with anyone here in Austin,” said Malysheva. “Rather, different accelerators commonly support and invest in the same startups, becoming less traditional ‘competitors’ and developing camaraderie in the entrepreneurial world.”

For more information, please visit Sputnik ATX at www.sputnikatx.com.

About the Sputnik ATX Founders:

Once part of the strategic teams of McKinsey and Motorola, Sputnik ATX co-founder Dr. Oksana Malysheva used her skills and passions in leadership and education to shift focus to building strategies for positive social change and innovation. Malysheva is a trained PhD physicist originally from the Ukraine, and found Austin to be a location with great weather and beautiful sights, along with the structure and flexibility to host a new accelerator for local business growth. Although she has an educational background in physics (Dr. Malysheva holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in physics as well as a B.S. and M.S. in physics from the Moscow Institute of Technology), Dr. Malysheva’s professional interests are driven by her passion for leadership, mentorship, innovation and education. As a venture capitalist, her interest in elevating the trajectory of the people she associates with to reach their fullest potential is central to her mission and her vision in all of her professional endeavors. You can find Oksana on Twitter at @Oksana_ATX.

Joe Merrill is the co-founder of Sputnik ATX, and partner in the Linden group of venture funds based in Austin, Texas. Merrill is a former U.S. diplomat and served as a political, economic and consular officer at U.S. Embassies in Bosnia, Nigeria, and South Korea as well as postings at the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C.. After leaving the State Department, Merrill worked in corporate treasury, finance and development at Deere and Company before entering the private equity world at a Carlyle-Apollo education fund, Apollo Global. Overall, Joe has over $3 billion of transaction experience in venture investing. Merrill has also founded and exited two start-ups, Pan Am Education and Smart FundEd. He enjoys running around Town Lake in Austin, especially with his wife. His blog can be found at www.econtrepreneur.com and you can find him on Twitter at @Austin_VC.




To RSVP for the Dec. 11 barbecue lunch, for general coverage requests or press inquiries about Sputnik ATX, please contact the team at Juice Consulting:

Heather Wagner Reed                         Tyler Ostby
713 208 3891                                          210 854 9119