Our Criteria

New Media Ventures funds for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations building progressive power. Our primary focus areas are media & narrative, organizing & advocacy, and elections & civic engagement.

  1. Scalable with a proof of concept

    We prefer ventures with an existing user base (even if they are only beta users), demonstrated proof of concept, and a clear plan for generating revenue and/or growth. In some cases, we will fund ventures with little or no user base if there is compelling research proving the efficacy of the idea, or a clear opportunity to build power.

  2. Sustainable model and impact

    We have a preference for work that is sustainable and builds progressive power. We’d like to invest in ventures who expect to generate revenue, although they may not now, or who have a plan for a sustainable operating model. Note: We do not invest in one-off media projects like documentaries, although we might invest in a company building a sustainable business model for making documentaries!

  3. Strong, diverse team

    We look for leadership teams that have both the technical and business talent to create something great and who understand their market intimately. We are especially interested in democratizing access to capital and encourage people who have been historically overlooked in the startup community to apply. In our experience, founders with direct experience of the challenges they are working to solve are best positioned to do so.

  4. Progressive & mission-driven

    NMV is mission-driven and works to invest in entrepreneurs and activists building progressive power in the United States. We care about environmental protection, economic equality, racial justice, a thriving democracy, and more. The startups we support are mission-driven and seeking to make the world a better place.

Resources

FAQs

Why Apply

  1. What support do selected organizations receive?

    $50K to $150K in funding. We typically make investments in for-profits (most often via convertible notes) and give unrestricted grants to nonprofits. Additionally, NMV supports the portfolio through:

    – A network of founders where leaders ask questions, identify problems, and surface solutions in community.

    – Webinars and one-on-one coaching to help new leaders navigate organizational and operational challenges, like setting goals and managing cash on hand.

    – Catalyzing additional funding by connecting them to donors and investors at our flagship event, the NMV Summit, and at other times of the year when possible.

    – We’re currently refining our program in response to feedback from current portfolio members and look forward to rolling out the next iteration of our support program in the months ahead.

  2. Does NMV take equity / what terms do you use? Are you open to revenue-sharing?

    NMV usually invests in for-profits via SAFEs and convertible notes. We expect to consider revenue sharing agreements in the future; however, in 2021 we are not yet set up to invest through this mechanism.

Eligibility

  1. Who should apply?

    New Media Ventures funds across various fiscal structures, including for profit and nonprofit.. We’re looking for scalable solutions from diverse, mission-driven teams that are working to advance progressive change. We’ll consider supporting:

    • – Early stage ventures working to build and scale solutions in this context

    • – New programs and / or collaborations of larger organizations that are positioned to develop new tech tools or other cutting edge approaches that could be transformative for the progressive movement

    NMV funding is best suited for early-stage projects or startups (pre-seed/seed stage) for which a one-time investment of $50K to $150K can make a meaningful difference. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs and activists who are strengthening our democracy, building progressive political power, and/or empowering historically marginalized communities


    Ultimately, we hope to find the best technology and innovations and love to be surprised by things we haven’t seen or considered before. You should look at our portfolio and our most recent investment slate to get a sense of the breadth of organizations we support.


    Please see eligibility criteria listed below for more guidance on eligible startups and organizations:


    • – Early Stage nonprofit (501c3, c4, 527) and for-profit organizations

    • – With innovative solutions, tech tools, or programs with potential to scale

    • – Building the political power of communities marginalized by current and historic oppression

    • – In any of NMV’s sectors -- media & narrative, advocacy & organizing, and/or elections & civic engagement

    • – At a stage where $50K - $150K in funding would be catalytic

    • – Based in and/or seeking to make an impact in the U.S.

  2. What is NMV looking for?

    Scalable with a proof of concept: We prefer ventures with an existing user base (even if they are only beta users), demonstrated proof of concept, and a clear plan for generating revenue and/or growth. In some cases, we will fund ventures with little or no user base if there is compelling research proving the efficacy of the idea, or a clear opportunity to build power.


    Sustainable model and impact: We have a preference for work that is sustainable and builds progressive power. We’d like to invest in ventures who expect to generate revenue, although they may not now, or who have a plan for a sustainable operating model. Note: We do not invest in one-off media projects like documentaries, although we might invest in a company building a sustainable business model for making documentaries!


    Strong, diverse team: We look for leadership teams that have both the technical and business talent to create something great and who understand their market intimately. We are especially interested in democratizing access to capital and encourage people who have been historically overlooked in the startup community to apply. In our experience, founders with direct experience of the challenges they are working to solve are best positioned to do so.


    Progressive & mission-driven: NMV is mission-driven and works to invest in entrepreneurs and activists building progressive power in the United States. We care about environmental protection, economic equality, racial justice, a thriving democracy, and more. The startups we support are mission-driven and seeking to make the world a better place.

  3. If I’ve applied to NMV in the past and been rejected, can I apply again, and how?

    Yes! Just fill out the Startup Intake Form to let us know you would like to be considered again. We suggest emphasizing what has changed about your org/company/project since the last time you submitted. We encourage you to reapply during a later investment season.

  4. If we’re a part of the portfolio already, can we re-apply for more funding?

    Right now we're considering follow-on funding for for-profits in our portfolio, but not for nonprofits. We're considering how to handle this for nonprofits and will keep you posted. If you are a for-profit portfolio member seeking a new round of funding, please reach out to our investments team!

  5. Do you fund / make grants to startups outside of the United States?

    We only support projects that are making an impact in the U.S. We will consider supporting projects led outside of the U.S., but that are seeking to enter the U.S. market.

  6. What do you consider proof of concept?

    We expect ideas to have encountered reality - not simply a plan on paper. This could be a prototype or a test that provides some (even if it’s relatively little) evidence or data that your venturet is feasible. We often share the example of how Upworthy got started -- using a test they did through MoveOn to demonstrate that audiences would share powerful videos. In some cases, we will fund ventures with little or no proof of concept if there is compelling research proving the efficacy of the idea, or a demonstrated need and opportunity to build power.

Process

  1. What does your investment process look like?

    Due to founder feedback and an increased innovation pipeline, NMV is overhauling our investment process in line with our core principles of equity, responsiveness, and sustainability. We are shifting to a continuous investment cycle with two investment seasons each year -- a spring season and a fall season.


    Starting this August, submissions will be open and accepted continuously and investments made on a rolling basis. Responding to founder feedback, we aim to shorten the timeline between submission and investment decision to just 2 months on average. This new system will also help reduce bias by ensuring that all founders go through the same evaluation and selection process (see below) – regardless of when they apply and whether they have connections to NMV’s network.

  2. What happens after I submit the Startup Intake Form?

    Startup Intake Form submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis by NMVs’ investment team, with priority given to those submitted by that season’s recommended submission date (see below). NMV will invite organizations who are a fit to our eligibility criteria to submit a more in-depth application. After evaluating applications, NMV’s investment team will shortlist startups and interview those teams. The NMV team will then conduct final and deeper diligence on a subset of interviewees and make final funding decisions. We will move money on a rolling basis.

  3. When should I apply?

    We’re opening for submissions in August. Our Startup Intake Form will be open indefinitely from then on.


    We will have two suggested deadlines each season. If you apply by 3 months before the end of the season, we guarantee we will consider your submission in that season. If you apply 2 months before the end of the season, we will try our best to process your submission in that season, but you might get rolled over to the following season. If you apply after that, you should expect that your application will get rolled over to the following season.


  4. How quickly will you process my submission?

    We aim for everyone to hear an update from us within 30 days of submitting your initial Startup Intake Form. If you have not heard from us by then (not counting the last two weeks of December), please feel free to check in with us here: invest@newmediaventures.org


    We aim to reach final funding decisions by an average of 2 months after submission, including the diligence phase. This requires your help, however! As we are going through diligence, we ask that you do your best to be responsive to our requests for information.


    Note: Our processing times will likely be fastest for submissions we receive in the “off-season” -- e.g., between December and February, and between June and August -- and slowest for those received in a big bunch right at the soft deadlines for each season.

  5. What should I expect during due diligence?

    NMV conducts diligence, a thorough process to determine whether we will invest in a venture, for the opportunities that most align with our thesis.


    During diligence, you can expect:

    • – Multiple conversations, including a 45–60 minute meeting to get to know the founders, view a demo (if applicable), and answer additional questions that have come up post application submission

    • – An assessment of market, financial documents, and competitive research

    • – Customer and investor calls, financial modeling and analysis, a theory of change/power building assessment, product tests (if applicable), data room access (if applicable), etc.

    • – Conversations with experts in your field, etc.

    Your responsiveness is critical to moving the process forward.


    Although intensive, this process is meant to serve as a filter to move forward only the best opportunities for NMV, which go beyond financial goals and include vision and values alignment.


    We know fundraising can be hard. If during this process we decide to pass, our team will communicate the decision promptly.


  6. What is Airtable?

    Airtable is a cloud collaboration platform used by hundreds of businesses, startups, and funders to host and share information.

  7. Will I be required to create an Airtable account to submit my startup information?

    The application does not require you to create an airtable account, though you can do so if you would like.

  8. How long will it take for me to fill out the Startup Intake Form?

    We’ve designed the Startup Intake Form to be as streamlined as possible, and we expect that it should take no more than 15-20 minutes to fill out the form.


    Please note that Airtable does not have an autosave function.


  9. Can I edit my application once I have submitted it?

    You will not be able to edit an application once it is submitted to Airtable. If you accidentally submit an incomplete/inaccurate application, you can submit a new application. If you do so, please notify us at invest@newmediaventures.org.

  10. How will the data I submit be used? Will it be shared?

    We will not share PII (Personally Identifiable Information) like email or phone numbers publicly, but we may share aggregated data on themes from the Startup Intake form across our network of funders, founders, and activists or to the public. We will keep details about your organization (e.g., financials, pitch decks, etc.) confidential.

  11. I’m finished! What’s next?

    Once you press submit at the bottom of the Airtable submission form, you will be shown text that thanks you for your time and confirms your submission. You should also receive a confirmation email from invest@newmediaventures.org. If you do not receive this email, please reach out to us.


    Thanks for sharing your work with us! We’ll be in touch soon.


  12. What should I do if I filled out the form and haven’t heard back from you?

    We aim for everyone to hear an update from us within 30 days of submitting your initial Startup Intake Form, and we are working hard to make that happen. If it’s been 30 days (not including the last two weeks of December) and you have not heard from us by then , please feel free to check in with us at invest@newmediaventures.org

  13. What reporting requirements do you have for groups you fund?

    • – For-profits: annual financials and impact report

    • – Nonprofits: right now we don’t have formal requirements, but we will likely start requesting periodic updates to ensure we can maximize the impact of our portfolio support program

    • – In addition, we expect all startups we fund to work with us to prepare a pitch for, and attend, our next Pitch Day / Summit. In Feb 2021, this event was virtual for the first time; we don’t yet know whether the 2022 Summit will be virtual, in-person, or hybrid.

Learn more about NMV

Find out more about who we fund and what kind of individuals are in our network. Also explore resources for entrepreneurs in Tools for Change.

Learn More