So you want to go to bootcamp?

Accelerators are very popular and the number of efforts to help new companies get to through to launch is proliferating. So why should a start-up consider joining such a programme and what should they hope to achieve? Here we talk to Andy Shannon, the head of Startupbootcamp Global, an organisation which has been providing accelerator programmes for budding entrepreneurs since 2010. He tell us what steps businesses should take in preparation for joining a accelerator programme and what challenges participants will encounter once aboard. But he begins by looking at why there is so much interest in the start-up scene right now.

GamCrowd: Why do you think there is so much interest in the start-up scene now?

Andy Shannon: There are several factors, one of them being the shift in perceptions for those joining the workforce the first time. Instead of wanting to join, for example, a bank or a management consultancy firm after finishing university, now graduates are looking at becoming their own boss much earlier in life. This has become an increasingly attractive option, more attainable and accessible with the advancement of technology, easy access to information and the increasingly high-profile success stories of young start-up founders making it big. Think Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Uber, TransferWise etc. Furthermore, governments around the world have put their money and policies behind initiatives that support entrepreneurial activities - meaning that access to capital be it in the form of equity or loans - has improved for first-time founders.

GamCrowd: What is it do you think that an accelerator can give a new business venture?

Andy Shannon: One of the biggest advantages for founders who join accelerator programmes is the access to a network of mentors - serial entrepreneurs and industry specialists - who can guide the first time founder by sharing their insights, learning points, mistakes, and expertise. For instance, at Startupbootcamp, we have a network of mentors all hailing from a specific industry who we connect to our start-ups. We also make valuable introductions to leading investors in their region as we know how difficult it is for a first-time founder to secure a meeting, let alone develop a long-term fruitful relationship with investors.

GamCrowd: What do you think participants take away from the process?

Andy Shannon: When start-ups join an accelerator programme like ours, what they are essentially signing up for is rapid growth in the space of three months - something that would normally take a more than a year to achieve. Furthermore, each Startupbootcamp programme provides direct access to the most relevant connections in the start-up’s industry. For example  over a the three-month programme period start-ups meet over a hundred partners, investors, and mentors that take a hands-on role helping the company develop their product, validate their business model, secure pilot customers, and raise funding.

GamCrowd: What do you think are the most important factors behind successfully launching a start-up?

Andy Shannon: There are several things we look at when deciding which 10 start-ups to select (out of hundreds of applications) for our programmes of which the team is at the top. For a start-up to successfully apply and join a start-up not only does the start-up idea needs to be strong, but there has to be a committed and ambitious core team (around two or three people) behind the idea to go through the intense acceleration of our programmes, and to truly make an impact.

GamCrowd: What preparation should entrepreneurs undertake ahead of participation in an accelerator programme?

Andy Shannon: Entrepreneurs should be fully committed to starting or scaling their business to the next level, but also know their market, competition and ideal customers inside out. The worst assumption a new founder could make is that they don’t have a competitor.

GamCrowd: How long has Startupbootcamp been in operation?

Andy Shannon: Startupbootcamp was founded in 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark, with a core idea of supporting, investing in and scaling the world’s most ambitious start-ups. Putting entrepreneurship at the heart of what we do, our four co-founders: Alex Farcet, Carsten Kolbek, Patrick de Zeeuw and Ruud Hendriks are all serial entrepreneurs and early-stage investors with over 20-plus years’ start-up experience each. Within five years since Startupbootcmap was established we have become the world’s largest accelerator network in the world - with 12 accelerator programmes in 10 cities across Europe, Asia and US and thousands of mentors around the word. You can see more about how we work here.

GamCrowd: How do you see Startupbootcamp evolving in the next year or more?

Andy Shannon: Last year was a milestone year for Startupbootcamp as we expanded from being a European accelerator to a global one with new programmes launched in both to Asia and the US in 2015. Furthermore we have invested in more than 300 start-ups around the world who have raised in access of €118 million in investment. As one of the unique things that differentiates Startupbootcamp from other accelerators is our focus in running industry-specific accelerator programmes, we are looking at further expansion in 2016 where we will be at launching several new programmes in new cities designed for start-ups looking to scale in specific sectors i.e. Transportation, Digital Health, Fintech and so forth as well as to connecting with the most influential people within those industries (corporate partners, mentors and VCs’). This means that we will be looking for more entrepreneurs this year that ever before. So entrepreneurs interested in joining our programmes or finding out more about us should visit our website: www.startupbootcamp.org. 

Accelerators are very popular and the number of efforts to help new companies get to through to launch is proliferating. So why should a start-up consider joining such a programme and what should they hope to achieve? Here we talk to Andy Shannon, the head of Startupbootcamp Global, an organisation which has been providing accelerator programmes for budding entrepreneurs since 2010. He tell us what steps businesses should take in preparation for joining a accelerator programme and what challenges participants will encounter once aboard. But he begins by looking at why there is so much interest in the start-up scene right now.

GamCrowd: Why do you think there is so much interest in the start-up scene now?

Andy Shannon: There are several factors, one of them being the shift in perceptions for those joining the workforce the first time. Instead of wanting to join, for example, a bank or a management consultancy firm after finishing university, now graduates are looking at becoming their own boss much earlier in life. This has become an increasingly attractive option, more attainable and accessible with the advancement of technology, easy access to information and the increasingly high-profile success stories of young start-up founders making it big. Think Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Uber, TransferWise etc. Furthermore, governments around the world have put their money and policies behind initiatives that support entrepreneurial activities - meaning that access to capital be it in the form of equity or loans - has improved for first-time founders.

GamCrowd: What is it do you think that an accelerator can give a new business venture?

Andy Shannon: One of the biggest advantages for founders who join accelerator programmes is the access to a network of mentors - serial entrepreneurs and industry specialists - who can guide the first time founder by sharing their insights, learning points, mistakes, and expertise. For instance, at Startupbootcamp, we have a network of mentors all hailing from a specific industry who we connect to our start-ups. We also make valuable introductions to leading investors in their region as we know how difficult it is for a first-time founder to secure a meeting, let alone develop a long-term fruitful relationship with investors.

GamCrowd: What do you think participants take away from the process?

Andy Shannon: When start-ups join an accelerator programme like ours, what they are essentially signing up for is rapid growth in the space of three months - something that would normally take a more than a year to achieve. Furthermore, each Startupbootcamp programme provides direct access to the most relevant connections in the start-up’s industry. For example  over a the three-month programme period start-ups meet over a hundred partners, investors, and mentors that take a hands-on role helping the company develop their product, validate their business model, secure pilot customers, and raise funding.

GamCrowd: What do you think are the most important factors behind successfully launching a start-up?

Andy Shannon: There are several things we look at when deciding which 10 start-ups to select (out of hundreds of applications) for our programmes of which the team is at the top. For a start-up to successfully apply and join a start-up not only does the start-up idea needs to be strong, but there has to be a committed and ambitious core team (around two or three people) behind the idea to go through the intense acceleration of our programmes, and to truly make an impact.

GamCrowd: What preparation should entrepreneurs undertake ahead of participation in an accelerator programme?

Andy Shannon: Entrepreneurs should be fully committed to starting or scaling their business to the next level, but also know their market, competition and ideal customers inside out. The worst assumption a new founder could make is that they don’t have a competitor.

GamCrowd: How long has Startupbootcamp been in operation?

Andy Shannon: Startupbootcamp was founded in 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark, with a core idea of supporting, investing in and scaling the world’s most ambitious start-ups. Putting entrepreneurship at the heart of what we do, our four co-founders: Alex Farcet, Carsten Kolbek, Patrick de Zeeuw and Ruud Hendriks are all serial entrepreneurs and early-stage investors with over 20-plus years’ start-up experience each. Within five years since Startupbootcmap was established we have become the world’s largest accelerator network in the world - with 12 accelerator programmes in 10 cities across Europe, Asia and US and thousands of mentors around the word. You can see more about how we work here.

GamCrowd: How do you see Startupbootcamp evolving in the next year or more?

Andy Shannon: Last year was a milestone year for Startupbootcamp as we expanded from being a European accelerator to a global one with new programmes launched in both to Asia and the US in 2015. Furthermore we have invested in more than 300 start-ups around the world who have raised in access of €118 million in investment. As one of the unique things that differentiates Startupbootcamp from other accelerators is our focus in running industry-specific accelerator programmes, we are looking at further expansion in 2016 where we will be at launching several new programmes in new cities designed for start-ups looking to scale in specific sectors i.e. Transportation, Digital Health, Fintech and so forth as well as to connecting with the most influential people within those industries (corporate partners, mentors and VCs’). This means that we will be looking for more entrepreneurs this year that ever before. So entrepreneurs interested in joining our programmes or finding out more about us should visit our website: www.startupbootcamp.org. 

Joelson Wilson

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