We Have the Most Comprehensive Internationalization + Startup Acceleration Program in the U.S.


This is a combined effort between HTFL and us to ensure the business and immigration strategies are in perfect sync so any potential immigration-related issues can be prevented.

Sign Up to Our Accelerator Program

Depending on the original visa applied, there are times that visa alterations are necessary to maintain legal status or to reach an immigration strategy goal. Since a business-related immigration status depends on the results of a business strategy after implementation, we will make any necessary adaptations to meet visa requirements, as best as possible.

To increase all chances of success, we work hard to put together the best support network for our onboarding startups and we are constantly seeking ways of strengthening it.

Our Accelerator Is Based In Chicago…

  • Lower cost of living compared to SF, NY, Boston, and Miami;
  • The highest venture capital returns of any startup hub in the U.S;
  • Highest concentration of Female Founders in the world (34%);
  • $5.9B in funding in 2017;

… With A “Foot” In Boston

  • Top city for startups according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation;
  • The 7th most valuable startup ecosystem with 6th highest Startup Output (# of startups) in the world;
  • 7th highest numbers of unicorns;
  • 2nd highest % of immigrant founders in the U.S. and 10th in the world

The Startup Accelerator Cohort Program

Onboarding Phase Prior to the U.S

The initial selection process is done while the startups are still in their country of origin. The pre-requisites help choose the ones with higher odds of success.

To be considered for the cohort, startups must:

Product/Model: Originality, innovation, and fast scalability are characteristics highly valued by American investors;
Capability: Have proven market validation through an initial market share in the country of origin*;
Team: A solid team with efficient internal communication procedures is essential during the internationalization process. It’ll ensure the domestic parent is stable and is providing the necessary support;
Immigration: Meet initial visa requirements, determined by HTFL Immigration.

We will work in collaboration with each VC company to help choose the startups with the best chances of success.

*Ideally, a startup with, at least, 1 year in the market with an average monthly growth of 10-15%.

Onboarding Phase in the U.S: Month 1

Welcome and adaptation, on both personal and professional fronts. We’ll help the fresh entrepreneurs to settle and adapt to Chicago, including preparing them for the winter time.

We offer:

Legalities: HTFL will form the American subsidiary, including the partners’ contractual agreement, with a well-defined exit strategy. HTFL and Idea Lunchbox will work together on the immigration-versioned business plan;
Planning: Plan and strategy of the American company, while adapting the foreign parent company’s vision.
Relocation: Furnished apartment and assistance with health insurance and public transportation (Lease from October 22, 2018, to April 22, 2019).;
Adaptation: Chicago and 1871 tour and winter preparation assistance.

Women-majority founders will be registered with The Women’s Business Development Center – Chicago (WBDC) – with access to their network, events, and mentors

Business and Immigration Strategy Alignment:

  • HTFL and Idea Lunchbox will work together to adapt, when necessary, to a new immigration status and related business requirements.

Relocation Assistance:

  • Furnished apartments with washer and dryer, covered for 6 months;
  • Utilities included: gas, electric, internet, water/sewer;
  • Assistance in the purchase of winter garments, shoes, and accessories.

Incubator: 1-year membership to 1871 (tech startups) or its sister incubator Matter (healthcare startups), in partnership with
Idea Lunchbox

Included in the membership:

  • Standing and treadmill desks;
  • High-speed internet + printing;
  • Conference rooms + event space;
  • State-of-the-art podcast studio;
  • Locker rentals;
  • Communal kitchens;
  • Nursing rooms;
  • On-site restaurant (Freshii) + coffee and snack machines.

Growing Phase: Month 1 – 6

We will work side by side with the entrepreneurs to secure the adaptation of their product to the U.S. market and to increase the odds of investment acquisition.

We will provide:

Product: Using design and development resources, we’ll work with the startup to adapt the product to the U.S. market;
Marketing: Growth hacking for U.S. market validation and penetration;
Investment Requirement: Initial technical due diligence to prevent potential future investment delays;
Business Development: Access to multiple networks of mentors, workshops, presentations, soft launches, and pitch practices.

Entrepreneurs will learn how to operate and maintain their businesses in the U.S., as well as further develop their professional and leadership skills.

  • Networking opportunities, including weekly catered Happy Hours;
  • Quarterly speed networking with mentors, investors, board members, corporate partners, and other entrepreneurs;
  • Over 500 events a year, featuring talks from successful entrepreneurs, VCs, tech leaders, and other influencers;
  • 1871’s extensive network of investors, mentors, educators, civic leaders, and corporate and community partners;
  • Curated workshops to meet each startup’s needs, from the 30+ workshops available monthly;
  • 1-on-1 mentorship with a dedicated mentor in alignment with 1871’s mentors;
  • Investor-versioned business plan, executive summary and pitch deck;
  • PR/Media exposure with major media, such as Chicago Tribune and Forbes;
  • Hands on growth hacking strategies with fully implemented SEO, SEM, SMM, design and development to reach all potential markets within the U.S.;
  • Community integration and pitches through 1 Million Cups Chicago.

Launch Phase: Months 5 – 6

The entrepreneurs will learn and practice pitching strategies, as well as continue to be exposed to potential strategic partners, mentors, and investors, through networking and soft launches.

Entrepreneurs will:

Networking: HTFL will form the American subsidiary, including the partners’ contractual agreement, with a well-defined exit strategy. HTFL and Idea Lunchbox will work together on the immigration-versioned business plan;
Practice: Have a week-long Boston networking trip for more exposure, and meet successful entrepreneurs, potential investors and strategic partners;
Funding: Receive a complete business and financial plan, accounting for all potential investment options (investments, special low-rate loans, crowdfunding, etc);
Launch: Launch their company in one of the two major startup events in the U.S., SXSW or TechCrunch Disrupt.

Each Cohort was planned for launch in one of two major startup events in the U.S., SXSW or TechCrunch Disrupt.

1 full immersive week in Boston, in partnership with WorldBoston:

  • Flight + Hotel + Ground Transportation;
  • Cambridge Innovation Center Mentors;
  • Pitch presentations for WorldBoston’s partner investors;

Major Launch at SXSW or TechCrunch Disrupt, including onsite services: 

  • SXSW event – full 10 days;
  • TechCrunch Disrupt event – full 5 days + 5 days of events in SF.
  • Flight + Hotel + Ground Transportation;
  • Event Exhibitor Entrance Fee;
  • IT and development support;
  • Dedicated PR/Media support for all Cohort’s startups;
  • Support from all Idea Lunchbox’s leadership to assist with presentation, pitches, and networking;

Our Startup Support System

Forbes Councils
Forbes Councils
Chicago Public Schools

If you’re interested in signing up to the Startup Accelerator Cohort Program, please fill out the signup form in this link.

Sign Up to Our Accelerator Program