Conquer's participants could secure $20,000 in convertible funding, and would join the portfolio of MSU-run Red Cedar Ventures upon graduation.

Five US-based startups are set to join the summer 2019 batch of Michigan State University (MSU)-backed accelerator Conquer, with each of the initiative’s participants eligible for $20,000 in convertible seed funding.

The accelerator is open to all startups, rather than just spinouts, however the entrants have met criteria such as having a functional prototype and capital-efficient business model.

Conquer Accelerator is run by Spartan Innovations, an entrepreneurship-focused subsidiary of MSU Foundation, in partnership with the university’s Federal Credit Union.

Red Cedar Ventures, MSU’s university venture fund, automatically adds Conquer’s graduated startups to its investment portfolio but has not been confirmed as the source of the $20,000 note.

The latest cohort is Conquer’s fourth since launch in 2016, and includes museum guide robotics software developer Ayuda, blogging control panel creator GridPane and electric bike taxi fleet operator Skoop.

The other portfolio companies were named as HealthOpX, a marketplace enabling patients to seek medical treatment while abroad, and Pairaphrase, a web-based advanced language translation tool geared towards enterprises.

Conquer Accelerator’s program culminates on August 9, following a 10-week intensive course that will offer mentoring tailored to the needs of each startup, through guidance emphasising effective business planning and growth.

In addition to funding, the participants will gain a spot at the MSU Hatch co-working space, in addition to contacts from Conquer’s network of angel and VC investors.

Tom Stewart, program manager at Conquer Accelerator, said: “Startup accelerators are marathons for entrepreneurs. Teams devote ten solid weeks to their companies, often working until three in the morning to think through challenges.”

Paul Jaques, program director, added: “Our program strives to limit the pitfalls associated with startup failure. We provide a launching ground for emerging companies, both from within MSU’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and across the state.”