After months of preparation and hunting for the best startups across Europe, CEED Tech cohort 2 has launched! With no time to waste our five programs across the CEE haven’t so much accelerated but rather hit ‘insane’ mode (we’ll save ‘ludicrous’ for a few weeks). Some teams commute from around the corner with others travelling thousands of kilometers: battling severe weather conditions to get here. First week finished, what happened?
Settling in and setting up
Our startups come from places all over the world. Even if some teams are local, they might need to relocate to a new town or at least to a our co-working spaces. They get tables and chairs. We even prepare papers, pens, post it notes, extension cords (basically everything a self-respecting startup needs). But importantly: COFFEE. Now it’s their job to settle in.
There are teams that need a new place to live - check! In some cases we did it ourselves, in others we asked help from the likes of Teleport. Others want to bring their entire office: desktop computers, bigger screens, boxes full of documents. The essential 3D scanner! That’s all part of moving in for the next three months so we can help them focus and start scaling.
Many teams need to set up companies and bank accounts, as they come from countries with different legal background or perhaps just haven’t got around to it. It’s not just the company itself, but also the structure inside the startups - share allocations, founders’ agreements, vesting terms.
Accelerators are in large part about building great relationships. First with us, the accelerator team and then with other founders in the cohort. Much of the first week is focused on getting to know each other. It’s crucial as we’ll be working side-to-side for the next three to four months, and remotely for a lot longer.
One way to do it is to have all startups introduce themselves and their teams. It’s important to get every member talking. Even the techies. Because everyone needs to be ready to pitch their company to any mentor and investor they meet. There’s always someone that will ask, “Who are you and what do you do?”
Many teams already have MVPs and early revenue, but they usually haven’t polished their one sentence pitch. There’s many ways to polish it. In the end we want to see something in along the lines of: “We (Value Proposition), for (Customer), because (Problem).” Startups might then even get an heureka moment: “Oh, that’s what we’re doing!”
Our teams have a deep industry knowledge. Typically they’ve worked for months to understand the market they’re entering to. But usually it’s a landscape view. And that’s why they’ve come to an accelerator. To focus and build a strong product that’s easily scalable.
We bring in some of the best mentors that help startups understand what they need to focus on in order to reach their goals. There are successful founders, experienced investors, startup experts and industry specialists, e.g. lawyers. When needed, we also bring in people with really specific industry knowledge.
Mentors listen to the ideas and ask questions that make founders think hard. Thatwise they see if they’re on the right track or if there’s something they’ve missed. Mentors also share tips about how to build a foundation that lets them scale more efficiently once their product is product-market fit. Some founders have already clicked with mentors, leading to nights in bars and deeper discussions.
Our teams are now ready to hit ‘ludicrous’ mode and start achieving their goals. Soon we’ll also shout them out and put them in contact with the heavy artillery of mentors.
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