Maximize Startup Growth
You're the story. We're the Catalyst.

Apply to Our Accelerator

Every fall and spring we accept founders into Catalyst, a 12-week nonprofit accelerator program that helps student, first-time and overlooked founders de-risk their startup, launch an MVP and land their first paying customers.

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Community Members
Non-dilutive funding raised
Created Exits
Revenue Generated

Founder Stories

"We won Michigan Entrepreneur Summit 2021. The first place prize helped LeaseMagnets open our first office. That summer, we got into YCombinator, and I went full-time. Maximize helped us scale to over $250k ARR."

"We quit our summer jobs in 2022 to pursue Catalyst with our idea to build Protein Pints. One year later, we are consistently selling out at 10 Meijer’s super centers in Michigan."

Our Pillars


At Silicon Valley, you get big checks in exchange for equity up front. Instead, we help you to bootstrap, build a revenue generating MVP with customer discovery, and ensure that you have a product that your customers want, need, and are willing and able to buy.


We support founders in developing disruptive technologies, pioneering new categories, and becoming first movers. We focus on creating novel solutions for significant global problems. Through an iterative approach, we help founders build technologies that positively impact the world.


Leadership is about building founders up holistically, focusing not just on their business but also on their personal, emotional, and spiritual well-being. It's about showing up every day as your best self and supporting your peers. It's about giving first, going the extra mile for your team, and contributing to the community.


Mentorship is about surrounding yourself with a peer group, a mentee group, and an advisory group, creating a network where you can both give and receive support. It's about gaining the best education and avoiding pitfalls in your business to reach the next level faster.

Choose Between Two Experiences

If you're a student, first-time or overlooked founder and you'd like to pursue your startup full-time, apply to Catalyst Accelerator.
Detroit Hacker House
  • In-person program
  • We cover your cost of living so you can focus on one thing and one thing only - building your startup.
Learn more
Ann Arbor
  • In-person / online hybrid program
  • Provided co-working and event space
  • We plug you into the heart of the action happening across Michigan
Learn more

Success Metrics

Diversity and inclusiveness of the founder and fellow class
# of founders, researchers and fellows retained and attracted to HQ in Detroit, MI over 5 years
Revenue generated by program and startups
Funding raised by program and startups
# of startups that are in market in 5 years
Testimonials from the founders, researchers, interns and contributors
*Our goal is to help you produce a revenue generating MVP

Tune In

Enter your details to hear about the founders, their startups, and their progress in Catalyst Accelerator.

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What is the target stage for Catalyst?

The target stage for Catalyst is founders have less than $100,000 ARR and specifically ones that do not have an MVP.

What are the requirements of Catalyst accelerator?

Founders must attend a minimum of 80% of all workshops, roundtables, coaching calls, and weekly events. They must also receive approval from Maximize to pitch at demo day.

Does Catalyst take equity in my startup?

No. We are a nonprofit accelerator. We have a 14-day challenge where startups must earn $555 in the first 14 days of the program to be granted full acceptance. This money is deposited into an escrow account and returned upon successful completion of the program's requirements.

What are the key outcomes I can expect from Catalyst?

Our goal is to help you walk away with an MVP and your first three paying customers.

Does Catalyst guarantee funding for my startup?

We do not guarantee funding in the program, but we assist with grant writing, make you aware of pitch competitions, and connect you with platforms that provide access to non-dilutive funding.

Can I participate in Catalyst virtually?

Yes, we have a hybrid component for the Catalyst accelerator. The Detroit hacker house is in-person and streams content to the Ann Arbor cohort, which also streams content back to Detroit. The program meets bi-weekly in physical locations across Michigan. While participants can participate completely virtually if absolutely necessary, in-person attendance is highly encouraged.

What is Emergence?

Emergence is our take on Demo Day. This year, we are hosting a retreat in Madison, Michigan, featuring a private pitch event and a relaxing retreat on a private lake. Food and housing will be covered, and we'll have boats, jet skis, kayaks, bonfires, and good times. This event will also lead into Michigan Tech Week, including a student pitch track competition in October 2024 in Detroit.