FAQ

You can also contact us at team@pioneer.app.

What types of people and projects are you looking for?

We’re looking for ambitious, creative people working on something interesting that may one day turn into a business.

When in doubt, apply. Self-editing is one of the main reasons we don’t see more startups in the world. People—just like yourself right now—reading about things like Pioneer and deciding that gosh, it just isn’t for them. If you have no interest in turning your project into a business, we might not be the right home for you. Else, apply!

Which countries does Pioneer support?
Our goal is to be as international as possible. We may be technically unable to support certain countries (like North Korea), but we’re trying our best to appeal to everyone.
Am I too old for Pioneer? Too young?
Apart from any legal restrictions, there is no age limit for Pioneer. We think we can help young people the most, but we'll gladly fund anyone at any age.
How far along does my project need to be to get selected?
The main thing we look for is impressive progress. We've funded Pioneers that are just weeks or months old, as well as companies that have already raised money.
What do I get if I’m selected?
You'll receive...
  • Access to a network of 250+ founders in 50+ countries.
  • An invitation to a 1-month trip to Silicon Valley with other Pioneers.
  • A 3-month remote startup accelerator program.
  • Free company formation via Stripe Atlas or AngelList Stack.
  • An optional $20,000 investment at a $2M valuation (or higher).
  • And much more.
How are the 1% offer & investment option structured?

Because we've designed Pioneer to be as valuable as possible independent of any cash investment, the 1% offer is structured as a post-money SAFE that converts to common stock, instead of the typical preferred stock that an investor would take.

The investment option is a standard $20k post-money SAFE at a $2M valuation, or higher if you've already raised at a larger valuation.

Both the standard offer & the investment option include pro rata rights.

The investment option is for $20k at my last valuation or $2M, whichever is higher. What qualifies as my last valuation?
Broadly speaking, if you've already raised a significant amount of money from reputable investors at a valuation of higher than $2M, we'll invest $20k at that valuation. For example, if you've raised $250k from a variety of angel investors at a $5M post-money valuation, we'll likely also invest at a $5M post-money valuation. On the other hand, if you've only raised $10k in a small friends and family round, that may not apply. We'll discuss these terms when we extend the Pioneer offer.
Do I need to be full-time on my project to become a Pioneer?
You need to be full-time to take the $20k investment option, or plan to become full-time very soon. You are not required to be full-time if you only accept the cashless offer. However, if you are part-time, you're expected to focus on your company full-time during the 1-month trip to Silicon Valley, as you'll spend most of the trip working alongside other Pioneers.
Why should I enter the Tournament?
Pioneer is designed to help determined and ambitious people take their project to the next level. We’re providing a network, guidance and funding. You should enter if you think those things would benefit you.
Is there a deadline to enter?
No, submissions for the Pioneer Tournament are always open.
How does the process work?
After you submit your initial project description, you’ll go through the Pioneer Tournament. You’ll demonstrate weekly progress, vote on other participants, and see where you stand on our global leaderboard. You can learn more about the Pioneer Tournament here.
I’m in school or have a job. Can I apply?
Yes! We expect many Pioneers to be students or employed full-time. You just need to make sure you don’t have any legal conflicts (for example, an IP contract you’ve signed with your employer).
Can teams enter?
Yes. You can add your teammates when filling out your project description. Please don’t submit multiple projects per team.
Can I join the Tournament with multiple projects?
Not at the same time. We think that a singular focus will be key to your success. Each founder has one primary project they work on. You can always change your project later on.
How does voting impact my score on the leaderboard?
Your score will change as other participants vote on you during the Pioneer Tournament. Scores change based on the quality of other founders. For example, if you’re upvoted over a top founder, you’ll get more points than if you’re upvoted over a low-ranked founder. You still get points if you’re upvoted over a low-ranked founder—just not as many. Reviewers from Pioneer can also occasionally make a small positive impact on your score. The best way to reach and maintain a high score is to demonstrate impressive progress every week.
How will you choose the winners?

We review founders in the Top 50 on the Global Leaderboard and choose new Pioneers about every 1-2 weeks. Note that Pioneers are not counted when we review the Top 50. For example, if there are 20 Pioneers in the Top 50, we'll review all projects in the Top 70.

We take into account participants’ leaderboard positions, project descriptions, and progress when making selections. We're experimenting with the cadence and number of winners per week, so cohorts will vary in size.

How does the 1-month trip to Silicon Valley work?
We coordinate a light schedule—dinners, talks with successful founders, etc.—designed to help you make real progress on your project while working side-by-side with fellow founders. Our $20k investment is designed, in small part, to help Pioneers fund the trip. If you choose our alternative cashless terms, we'll book the round-trip flight for you. Pioneer doesn't otherwise pay for flights, lodging, etc.
What are the conditions of the investment?
You can read about the Pioneer offer here.
If I'm selected as a Pioneer, will I be offered the investment option?
Yes, all Pioneer offers include the investment option. You are not obligated to accept either offer if you're selected as a Pioneer Tournament winner.
I've already incorporated. Can I become a Pioneer?
All Pioneers are required to be incorporated as a United States C Corporation. If you're incorporated as one already, you're all set. If not, upon selection, we will help you to work out the best process for creating a US company (or US parent company) in which we can invest.
Are there any other fees for Pioneer?
No. Participating in the Pioneer Tournament is completely free. If you accept the Pioneer Offer, all benefits are in exchange for 1% equity in your company per the above terms, or up to 2% (depending on the valuation) if you also accept the investment option.