It must be said that in my history there is not much of a stable storyline, rather curvy I would say. Once I left home at 19 it was a rollercoaster to end up in Türkiye where boredom is unknown but with my storyline finally going straight. I surely found my home here thanks to the geography, climate and food but most of all thanks to my wife and partner. In that sense, agility and decide fast on changing situations has become my second nature. When I announced Now Sprint! Accelerator, the mentorship was going to be online based. The workshops I already had but now I will also perform them online. So it is a kind of FFWD to the situation I wanted to be in. Depending on the next days, as the government might call for even stricter rules, we will be able to decide on the timing but the program stays the says, just online now.
One of strongest points is that we ask no equity and that will not change of course. Our business model is that the participants pay a very modest fee to participate after being selected. In the meantime, we already received quite a lot of applications but for the first one, and online, the program will be offered for free. It are strange times for all of us and the most important thing now is to start and to continue. As for the selection, we will focus on Women and Refugee Founders. Call it positive discrimination. I can hear the voices already in my back throwing stones at me as for using the word refugees or even putting emphasis on them. You can keep your stones for yourself. I have been working with displaced youth (if you prefer this term) for a couple of years now and they have a harder time than brothers and sisters that are happily living in their streets for all their lives.
A quick recall on the program:
- Week 1 A Design Thinking. Define your researched problem.
- Week 1 B Pitch Problem and Market. Discuss
- Week 2 A Define your Value Proposition
- Week 2 B Finalise Business Model Canvas. Share and Discuss
- Week 3 A Customer Development
- Week 3 B MVP. Share and Discuss
- Week 4 A Financial Plan
- Week 4 B Create your Pitch Deck
- Demoday first following Saturday
There will always be a theoretical part and a practical part and you can expect homework. It is not a lean-back approach at all. Do not forget, we aim the teams to be ready to pitch in front of real investors. We focus on the validation of the teams as such and the product-market fit. We are stage-agnostic and vertical agnostic, so no matter where you are, we will accelerate you. The result can also be that despite pivoting and hard work the result is still negative. Better to find that out fast instead if trying for months and spend useless time and money.
The choice of mentors is simple and straightforward. Or specialists in a certain domain or founders who went through at least one funding round and with traction. Why I find this so important and most of all why not the big corporate names? I am a big fan of empathy. Of course, the big corporate names look great from a branding point of view, and there are some very good ones among them, but I want to focus on the journey of the startup teams. A founder who went through the first round knows what it is to reach that point and can give very useful and first-hand information, and share a great experience. Corporate mentors are great for network expansion, fast access to etc, but most of them never started a company from scratch so their advice is most of the time more useful in a later stage. Look at what Endeavour is doing, they built a full organisation around scale-ups.
Here are some of the names that joined us already and more are coming. We do not aim to brag with 50 mentors blabla, just great people that can be useful to the startup teams.
Didem Altop, Managing Partner at MatterScale Ventures; Co-Founder at 2C Project House; Branka van der Linden, Entrepreneur, Effective AML Compliance Officer, Risk Mitigation Specialist; Özlem Yalım, Head of Brand Strategy at TEPTA Lighting; Bilgehan Yılmaz, Founder, CEO DüğünBuketi.com; Adil Zehir, Founder at BlindID; Selinay Filiz Parlak, Co-Founder at Bluedot Technologies, Ahmet Polat, Founder and CEO LOKI; Çağrı Selçuklu, CEO & co-founder DUCKT. More names will be announced.
As for the investor partners, we have now onboard: Atanova Ventures, Telos Angels, TR Angels, StartupFon, MotionLab Berlin (partner). Soon we hope to announce more international partners but you can already see where this is going.
For participation or partner requests, just send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The final starting days will be announced as soon as possible.
Stay safe, follow the advice of specialists and never forget that also this will pass.