How to make a good application to Carbon13

> What is “potential” to us

> The application process structure

> Tips on how to prepare

Carbon13 is a talent-first venture builder. 

This means we assess applications to the venture builder based on your potential as an individual, not on your startup ideas.

Therefore you should focus your application on showing us your strengths as an individual, do not pitch a startup to us. Your application is your chance to share your experiences, your areas of expertise and your motivations and values.

What is “potential” to us?

Why don’t we just say we assess you on your work record or achievements? Simply put, there is no such thing as a typical founder. No such thing as a typical trajectory in entrepreneurship, or typical skillset, or typical mindset. In fact, the entrepreneurial world has been held back by a misguided focus on a narrow definition of the word entrepreneur.

If you want to reduce emissions through a scalable venture, you should have the confidence to apply to Carbon13. We do not want you to self-select yourself out and not apply because you worry you don’t fit the popular idea of an entrepreneur.

Potential is also what you bring to the cohort

Alongside our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we also want to bring people together out of siloes created by industry, skillset, and social groups. It is hard for someone to find a founder from within their own networks who can bring the difference in perspective, skills and experiences that makes a cofounding team truly unique, credible and investable.

As a founder on our first cohort said “it’s like you’re a guitar player trying to build a band except you only know other guitar players.” You have to break out of your silo to find your singer, drummer and bassist. Your CTO, your CEO, your COO and so on.

So, by “potential” we mean we are looking at what you bring to the “band” or cohort of 70 founders. We still look at your experience and work history because you still need to show us that you are “talented” – that you could build a high-growth high-impact startup if given the right support – but we’re not looking at your CV to match a job spec or list of qualifications.

And finally, your “potential” means your potential to benefit from Carbon13. We want to see that you understand what Carbon13 does, and how it specifically could benefit you. What do you want to use Carbon13 to do? What are you missing that Carbon13 provides? Why would the other 69 founders want to work with you? If our mission is to reduce CO2e emissions by millions of tonnes, how does that apply to you?

The application process structure

When applications are open for the next cohort then you can expect the following Stages.

Stage 1.
Visit the Apply Now page which contains the Stage 1 form. This is your first step in applying for Carbon13. We ask for your contact details, and ask a couple of questions about your intention to apply. You only need to provide brief answers here of 100 words or so. 

Stage 2.

This is the most important stage for written answers – this is your opportunity to show us who you are as a person, and you should spend quality time on carefully thinking out your answers. 

Important: You must complete Stage 1 to gain access to Stage 2. You will receive a link in your confirmation email shortly after your completion of Stage 1 which takes you to our SurveyMonkey Apply page where you will need to create an account to start your application. This is a platform to access, complete and manage your application. If you do not receive an email shortly after completing Stage 1, check your spam, and then contact us directly.

We strongly recommend that you create your SurveyMonkey Apply account and confirm your email address as soon as you get your Stage 1 confirmation email – it should only take a few minutes. 

Then when you’re ready to start completing your Stage 2 application, you can log in to your account and view the modules you need to complete.

We will also ask at this stage for information that we use for data gathering purposes, which we do not use to assess your application. This is information such as your gender.

We strongly recommend you pay attention to the “Your experiences” section in Stage 2 – many people rush their answers to these, but they’re among the most important to us.

We also strongly recommend you read the “tips on how to prepare” below before you complete Stage 2 as they will help you make a good application. In particular, watching a webinar will help you understand what impact you personally can make with Carbon13. 


We invite successful Stage 2 applicants to interview. You should expect to have two interviews conducted online.

Tips on how to prepare

Remember you are applying as an individual, so do not pitch a startup in your application. If you have a cofounder, they must apply separately and will be assessed separately. (You will have the opportunity to tell us they’re applying in your Stage 2 application, and we definitely want to know if you are “already a team”.)

Watch a webinar. We hold regular webinars for potential applicants to understand the programme in more detail, meet us, and ask any questions. We’re real humans who work on Carbon13, so we would love to meet you on these webinars, and see where we could support you if you choose to apply. 

Contact us. Email us at We’ll answer any questions you have, and arrange a short call with the relevant person, if you need.

Read our resources. You can do your research before you apply to Carbon13 by reading about who should join Carbon13, or seeing who’s on Cohort 1, or browsing our FAQs.