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Pssst, wanna have some acceleration?

#startup #accelerator
November 25, 2021
In our previous post, we told you about our journey in establishing the headquarters, the challenges along the way, and Stef. Today, we continue by sharing our experience with startup Acceleration programs.

First, what’s an accelerator or business incubator?
It’s an initiative for early-stage start-ups which supports them with mentorship, industry connections, and resources. Simply said, it’s a start-up school that helps entrepreneurs kick-off and scale their businesses.
Accelerators can be generic or focused on a specific market niche, technology, or location. There are plenty of them, so be sure you’ll always find one for your project, the most popular being:
✅ Fintech;
✅ Medtech;
✅ Entertainment;
✅ AI;
✅ VR;
✅ Blockchain;
✅ Or the one established by your country's government to support local projects.
Who seeks shall find.

When you find the one, check the rules, conditions, and acceptance criteria.
✅ Some programs are absolutely free, others are paid and the price ranges from $500 to 5000.
✅ Some programs take equity and that’s usually up to 7%.
The conditions can be as diverse as the programs themselves. Our suggestion is to always carefully examine the agreement and all the legal documents before jumping in, for this may affect the future of your company.

Why does a start-up need to take part in an accelerator?
Draivn, startup ,
open mobility, accelerator,
business incubator
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”
At the beginning of Draivn’s journey, we wanted to go fast and made too many mistakes. Then we found advisors who guide us through all the traps and pitfalls by the very moment. We have a dedicated post about that, by the way.

Accelerators are just the same, they help you achieve success through multiple initiatives:
Mentorship. Professionals in Sales, Marketing, and Product development will teach you to market yourself, create a good pitch, set up an MVP, approach potential customers, and do other things you can not go without as a start-up.
Industry connections. Corporate partners are an integral part of any accelerator. They are outstanding industry players and niche leaders that seek new ideas, bold projects, and founders to cooperate with. The main goal of start-ups is to attract them.
Funding. All the startups are seeking investments at one stage or another. And accelerators lend a helping hand here by attracting VCs, angels, or investing themselves. For example, Ycombinator invests 150k in all the program participants, while others mainly focus on the demo day to present your startup to investors.
Fun. Accelerators are like colleges for startups, where you find friends, learn new things, have fun, and get in trouble.
As you see, an acceleration program can be a rocket jump for a start-up and is a must-have for anyone launching a venture from scratch. And Draivn was not an exception here.

As you may guess, we used Draivn’s patented (waiting for approval) pipeline approach. We were looking for programs meeting the following criteria:
✅ Mobility,
✅ Insurance,
✅ B2B,
✅ early-stage,
✅ friendly terms for participants,
✅ relevant corporate partners,
✅ credibility and reputation (be aware of the all-comers programs – these are tricky).

And though our criteria were quite demanding, we came out with a list of programs to apply for.
Some companies accepted our applications, and we moved to the pitch stage. Others never came back, though we know how to be persistent. Silence is a common thing with VCs these days, don’t you think so?
Numerous pitches and selection days resulted in a number of rejections (Hi, Ycombinator). But there were programs that accepted us, but we couldn’t join, like F10. And there was Insurtech Munich Hub that appeared to be a perfect fit for us, though it is not an accelerator in the classic sense.

Insurtech Munich Hub and why it’s a perfect accelerator.
Insurtech Munich Hub wasn’t the only one who accepted Draivn, but the most relevant for us. And here’s why:
✅ Conditions. No participation fee or equity are required. Niiiiice. Plus, the terms and conditions are 100% transparent.
✅ Corporate partners. Generlali, Allianz, Munich Re and Ergo, Nurnburger, HUK, SAP, VKB and many others watch the startups.
✅ Highly relevant investors. Anthemis, P&P, EOS ready to support startups with something more than words.
✅ The program structure. The main goal of the program is to set up and develop a use case with its corporate partners and present the solution during the demo day to attract investors.
✅ The atmosphere - the whole team created a unique approach to make innovations happen.

Special thanks to: the champion Dale Sodergren, Bhushan Chhatre, Reinhard Saller, Esther Eva Prax, Corine Ackermann, Daryna Kornieieva and the rest of the team.

It’s been a while since the program was over, but we are still in touch with the Insurtech Hub team. Just recently, we exchanged our updates on a call. Not to mention the connections with corporate insurance and technology companies we negotiate business cases with.
And though we did not manage to immediately find a proper use case, we discovered the market potential and opportunities and the lack of them as well, saving tins of time and energy on business development.

So, the first love is the one to remember, but not the only one, and new adventures are ahead waiting for Draivn. And our road leads us to the Netherlands to take part in the at Yes!Delft program we’d been proudly accepted for.

To sum up:
✅ It’s never late to go to school, even if you are a start-up.
✅ Who seeks shall find, even if you look for something that is out of usual.
✅ The easy track is not always the best track.
✅ Read thrice, sign once.
✅ The best thing is sometimes the one that never happed to you.
✅ Few people know, but the turtle bet the hare only after participating in the acceleration program.
✅ Funding and fun have much in common. At least the first three letters.
✅ Accelerators and VCs have something in common - be prepared not to receive feedback or receive come-off. In this case push them until they provide that feedback or die (hard).
✅ The best answer you can receive is “yes”, the second best answer is “no”. The worst variant - no answer at all.
✅ Accelerators are made and run by people. And the best thing you can get out of them is longlife connections, so humanity always wins. Don’t forget about it.
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