PearX, an early-stage bootcamp
We partner with founders from their earliest days. We enjoy the challenge of going from zero to one.
Our pre-seed companies participate in PearX, an early-stage bootcamp for founders with high potential ideas. We have been leading pre-seed rounds for the last 10 years and we believe a small-cohort, 14-week program is the most efficient way to start building a company.
We customize PearX for every company and adjust it to their needs. For this reason, we are very selective with our pre-seed investments (less than 1% acceptance rate, 15 companies per cohort).
Hear from PearX alumni
Meet the W22 cohort, learn about their experience, and watch them in action at our Spring 2022 Demo Day.
How we help at pre-seed
Pear partners with you at every step of your journey.
Pick the right market
Picking the right market is critical. We help you size your market and thoroughly understand it. You will avoid markets that are too small and prepare to take on markets that have foiled many others.
Understand your customer
The best companies are built on deep and differentiated customer insight. Our companies go through a rigorous customer development process to discover promising customer personas and needs. Once you internalize your customer’s problems as if they were your own, you can start solving them.
Define your product
Based on your customer insights, we help you iterate on the minimum viable product that tests your market. Ship fast, learn quickly, and gradually discover where to double-down.
Iterate iterate iterate
We’re not afraid to make multiple iterations and pivot until we get things right. You can count on us to be honest with you whether the data supports your thesis or we should adjust the product.
Prove your product-market-fit
We help you define and hit the milestones needed to raise more capital. Not all traction is equally valuable, though. First, we focus on making sure your customers love your product; only then do we work on finding more customers.
Build your team
Your team is your biggest asset. We are here to help you identify gaps, set up a polished recruiting process or conduct interviews – all to ensure you’re bringing on the best.
We take an all hands on deck approach to make sure you can raise capital. We help you define your story, put together your deck, and pitch the right investor. We run a demo day twice a year that is attended by over one thousand investors.
Use our network
Whether it is a customer, a partner, an investor or another founder, we help you get the introductions to the people that matter most for your business.
COMPANIES SINCE 2013
How PearX works
Phase 1: Idea development
- Customer development
- Strategic market positioning
- Big company story development
- Defining key team needs
- Defining key KPIs for the program
Phase 2: Execution
- Build initial MVP
- Get early customer traction and data
- Go-to-market experimentation and development
- Iterate until you get it right
Phase 3: Demo Day prep
- Demo day/fundraising preparation
- Develop the pitch and iterate on the Demo Day deck
- Create fundraising strategy
Phase 4: Demo Day and fundraising
- Pitch to 1,000 investors
- Help you vet term sheets, negotiate the best terms, and close your seed round
Every batch 80+% of companies raise from tier 1 institutional investors.
The best in your corner.
Co-Founder & CPO Doordash
Founder & CEO Fable, Former CTO Cisco, Board Spotify & Microsoft
President Freshworks, Former President Impossible Foods
Co-founder & CPO Gusto
CTO Data Grail & Former CTO Stitchfix
Co-founder & CTO Cloudflare
Senior PM at WellBeam
VP Marketing at Branch
Lecturer at Harvard Business School
SVP of Product and Marketing at Cleo
Director of Engineering at Flex
Managing General Partner at Canonical Ventures
Managing Partner at Sterling Road
Venture Partner at Menlo Ventures
General Manager at Square
Visiting Lecturer at Stanford
General Manager at Square
Head of Hopper Homes at Hopper
Lauren Chan Lee
Founder & CEO of productLivity
Co-Founder at Stealth
Investor at Kearny Jackson
VP of Products at Yugabyte
Co-Founder of Young Alfred
Head of BD at Stilt
Founder & CEO of Sniffspot
Frequently asked questions
Who is eligible for this program?
Any founder who is starting a company is eligible to apply to PearX. Most companies have not raised any money prior to PearX, but in some cases companies have raised up to $2M at the time when we make our investment.
How does Pear choose teams for PearX?
We have an open application process and each company is reviewed by an investor on our team. If you are selected, there is one interview followed by a partner meeting where you will pitch to our team.
How much do you invest?
$250k-$2M – It depends on the stage of your company.
What if it’s just me and I don’t yet have a co-founder? Can I still apply?
Yes, we welcome solo founders and if needed, we can assist with Co-Founder search and match.
How do I know if I’m right for PearX? What if I’ve already raised capital?
We accept companies that have already raised capital but typically they have not raised more than $2M in total prior to joining PearX. Frequently, companies will raise additional capital along with the PearX investment.
Can I raise funding alongside PearX?
Companies typically decide to wait until Pear’s Demo Day to raise a large seed round, but many companies do raise additional capital alongside the PearX investment.
Is PearX an accelerator?
Most accelerators have dozens or hundreds of companies per batch with minimal individual attention. Pear has always made 10-20 pre-seed investments per year and we realized that companies have the most success when we work closely with them on a tight timeline. Every company gets two investment partners working closely with them to answer the toughest questions up front and help lay down the infrastructure for a long-lasting company.
80+% of our PearX companies raise successful seed rounds from institutional investors.
How large are your PearX cohorts?
We keep our cohorts intentionally small so we can really dive in with our founders. The maximum number of teams we’ll accept is 15. Each company gets hands-on support from at least two partners on Pear’s team meeting several times a week. Our cohorts are intimate enough for founders to build a true community, but small enough for a lot of tailored, personalized attention.
Who will I work with on the Pear team?
The PearX team includes all members of the Pear partnership. You will work with at least two of our partners (link to team page) along with many members of our ops and support staff. The specific partners you will work with depends on your vertical and the person on the team with the most experience in that space.
What are the dates of the program? Can I get support beforehand?
We run a Summer cohort that kicks off each year around July and a Winter cohort that kicks off around January.
We fund companies year-round on an ongoing basis, and will start working with teams right away, even before their formal cohort begins.
Does PearX happen in person or virtually? What if I’m not based in SF?
All companies are encouraged to relocate to the SF Bay Area for the duration of the program. We have found that companies have the best outcomes when they are in person with the Pear team and the other teams in the cohort.
We recognize that not everyone can be in the Bay Area at the same time so we stream most events and talks virtually as well.
What is the time commitment?
Every week there’s a weekly check-in, a speaker event, and one hour spent with your industry mentor. So a total of three hours of dedicated time, plus additional interactions with partners.
Will you fund multiple startups working in the same space?
While we’ll work with multiple companies in the same general area e.g. climate tech companies, we will never have competitors in the same class. Our goal is to build community and not competition!