Lunar Startups Cohort Criteria

Lunar Startups is a unique, long form incubator experience occupying a floor in Osborn370. Powered by the Knight Foundation, we have a strong commitment to supporting entrepreneurs from underrepresented and underserved communities.

The program fee is $100/month per team member. It’s FREE to apply; startups are selected for our program each December.


To be eligible to enter the Lunar Startups, a startup must be at an early stage of development, and each team must meet basic qualifying criteria:

  1. At least one team member can commit to attend the programming in person in St. Paul, MN. The majority of these programming experience are Tuesday - Thursday, between 10am and 4pm. There are occasional high value events outside of these times.

  2. At least one team member is committed to working 30 + hours a week on this venture.  

  3. You have clear majority ownership of your IP.

  4. Your company and/or founders do not have any ongoing legal action (such as bankruptcy, court disputes, etc.) among past or present co-founders, investors, partners, or customers.

  5. You will participate in all evaluation activities including surveys and interviews before, during, and after the program.

  6. You commit to paying the $100 per person per month programming fee. This is required to access the benefits and opportunities associated with the programming including AWS credits, Google Adwords, and a reimbursement fund for travel, marketing and tech.


We believe that we can add the most value to startups who have made a significant commitment and validated that there is a need for their product / service. Traction we like to see is demonstrated in customers, capital, and clicks.

Customers: you’re already bringing in regular monthly revenue.

Capital: External stakeholders have contributed to the company. This can be personal loans, pitch competition winnings, angel or friends and family investment, etc.

Clicks: Your product is currently free but there is significant usage to demonstrate your product is wanted in the marketplace.

What does commitment mean?

You have a product / service that you are actively bringing to market and have traction with customers / users. Testing and sales are a part of your day to day operations and you’re actively planning the next iteration of your product or service. You are tracking your monthly users and revenue. You also have a team that is starting to assemble either formally or informally.

What if I don’t have answers to all the questions on the application?

We understand that many entrepreneurs solving critical problems might not have expertise is every area. If a term or question on the application is new to you or your not measuring it yet, tell us (and Google it)! This helps understand where your greatest opportunities for growth might lie. We don’t expect startups to be perfect. But we do want a clear picture of where you are in the process.

What if I still have a FT or PT job outside of my startup?

If you’re applying to the cohort and have other paid work, we expect that you have a lot of flexibility with your job. We want you to be able to take advantage of the unique experiences that we are creating just for you. Unlike other accelerators, this isn’t a 24/7 program. However, we have found that startups who spend a significant portion of their work week in the space are able to leverage more benefits from the program and the surrounding community as many VIP visitors frequent the space.

What does validated mean?

You can show demonstrated user growth and revenue on a monthly basis. This initial traction could also include attracting additional resources including funding, top talent, etc. You have clear market validation and are setting your company up to move into scaling.

What about geography - I live outside of Minnesota or would have a decent commute to St. Paul?

We’re all about attracting great startups to our cohort. However, we will require people to relocate their headquarters to St. Paul, Minnesota. If this is out of the question and you can’t commit to being in the space 2 days a week, Lunar Startups might not be the right fit.

What does underrepresented and underserved communities mean?

We are referring to womxn (all femme identifying persons), people of color, LGBTQIA+ and others who feel marginalized in a startup community. We have intentionally and thoughtfully designed Lunar Startups with these communities. It’s important to emphasize that Lunar Startups is open to everyone, especially those who want to build intentional, inclusive communities. If you’d like to be a part of Lunar Startups, we expect you to work as an ally, advocate and champion for all entrepreneurs.


Application Process

Our cohort application is hosted on and we will have two phases of questions during the application process. Click on the button below to see the questions that we will ask on the application in Phase 1. Please note: F6S also has a number of questions they require as part of their process about your revenue, share holders, etc. If you have questions about the application, email


  1. Review the criteria at the top of this page.

  2. Make a team profile on (even if you are a founder of 1).

  3. Go to

  4. Complete your application by January 13th, 2020.


  1. January - Selection committee will narrow down applicant pool

  2. Semi-finalists will be invited to answer additional questions about their company within 1 week of request.

  3. Final Selections announced second week in February

  4. Cohort 3 Starts March 9th,2020  

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