For UpRamp, the CableLabs-backed program, the benefits go both ways – the startups selected get some valuable exposure with cable operators and some guaranteed commercial deals, and, in exchange, UpRamp gets a small stake in the startups that are selected.
“[W]e ask for a 3% equity stake as warrants in each private company in the program,” Scott Brown, VP of technology outreach at CableLabs and managing director at UpRamp, explained via email to an inquiry about the investments. “We find this is small enough to be practical for companies this scale, but big enough to make sure that all interest are aligned. We do not view this as a profit center, but rather a way to make certain that all sides have skin in the game.”
Those arrangements are also clearly stated on UpRamp’s application web page, which makes note of the 3% equity take, that it funds up to $120,000 per team, and it funds four programs per year. “This is about doing deals, not demo days,” it explains.