Fellows-To-Founders Venture Studio Program

Field application

Opportunity Description

At DIAL Ventures we solve the biggest challenges in Agri-Food, one of the fastest-growing industry investment segments, by tackling high-impact areas like sustainability, traceability, food safety, and environmental impact to name a few. The DIAL Venture Studio engages with you as an entrepreneur through our fellowship program to provide all the resources required to move you quickly into a founder role opportunity in your newly created startup.

Participant Profile

Innovation Fellows are entrepreneurs at heart and will possess an innate drive to accomplish great things. They will accept measured risks along a path to potential great rewards. They will be humble and willing to learn from their mistakes and accept coaching from experienced startup veterans. Their default will be collaboration seeking joint team successes. They will innovate and consistently measure their progress while being flexible enough to adjust their course as needed. They will be self-managers with enough ego to accept many "noes" on the path to a big "yes".  They possess high self-efficacy and are internal locus-of-control dominant.

Venture Studio Activities

  • Ideas sourced from industry and research.
  • Concept testing with industry partners.
  • Business and market entry plan development.
  • Pre-seed stage funding to launch your company (up to $1M).
  • Assist with business creation resources such as software, product design, key hiring, marketing, financial and legal.
  • Minimum viable product development.
  • Field trial facilitation with industry partners.
  • Initial sales opportunities with industry partners.
  • Help in securing seed funding to transition into company growth.


Our studio is conducted twice each year with new Fellows entering as a cohort every February and August. They will be fully engaged in the company build and launch process according to the following projected schedule:

  • Weeks 1 to 8 - Industry learning, industry expert jobs-to-be-done, opportunity ideation and prioritization, value proposition development, startup leadership curriculum.
  • Weeks 9 to 18 - Solution development, wireframe testing, go-to-market strategy, financial modeling. business plan development and pitch for pre-seed funding.
  • Weeks 19 to 30 - Company incorporation, select Board, recruit team members, product development, secure field trials, company branding & marketing, capture initial customers.

Our program utilizes a residency model where the cohorts are together for a set schedule of one two-week, and then two one-week intervals. The residency session locations vary within each cohort but typically will include time in the West Lafayette-Central Indiana area, and one regional residency at sites on the West Coast, or in the Southwest, or Southeast U.S regions. The residency sessions are intense hands-on in-field and classroom learning experiences designed to teach you the agri-food industry and prepare you to run a startup. When not in residency work is done in a remote-first environment with the DIAL Ventures team and our studio partners.


Our ideation partner is EY Global Food & Ag in Chicago, and our business build partner is High Alpha Innovation located in Indianapolis. There may be occasional travel required between West Lafayette and these two locations during a residency.


  • $5,750 per month during concept development and up to pre-seed funding and company incorporation after such time there is a transition to the startup company compensation plan and accompanying Board-approved founder salary.
  • Round trip travel, accommodations, and scheduled meals while in residency.
  • Company ownership of 50% for the founder team and their designated employee stock pool.
  • Continued participation in the Fellows program is dependent on performance milestones established in the venture studio process. Although DIAL and its partners will provide assistance and desire to see success in all cases, there is no guarantee that a Fellow will graduate as a company founder.


This Innovation Fellows FAQ addresses many of the common inquiries. If there are other questions or concerns, please contact us at info@dialventures.com.

We are creating innovation in the Agri-Food industry by launching new startups every six months! We invite you to join our next cohort with the opportunity to become a company founder. The first step is to download our application instructions using the link above where you will see more detail on the position and the evaluation process. The Spring 2024 cohort application window closes on November 22, 2023. Start your journey with DIAL Ventures now!