Frequently Asked Questions
1 Who is the program for?
The program targets start-ups in early stage but already with at least MVP and some traction. The goal is to help you build the traction, prepare you for the serious investment and connect you with the right people. We work closely not only with VCs and business angels but also with corporate partners and public authorities.
2 How and where is the program run? What about COVID-19?
Challenger Accelerator takes place in Bratislava. Most of the workshops, meetings, and mentoring sessions will take place at our office at the university campus at Ilkovicova 2 or in various locations in the town center. No one knows what the situation with Covid-19 will be like in the fall, but we are ready for all scenarios. We have good experience in running acceleration programs fully online, in-person, or hybrid. Our priority is to have as much of the program in-person but will look closely at the pandemic situation, and change to online whenever needed.
3 Do you invest in companies that go through the Challenger Accelerator?
We do not invest in startups directly, but we connect you with investors. The winner of our program can negotiate an investment of at least 250,000 EUR through our main investment partner Crowdberry. We have a strong track record of connecting start-ups with the right people and receiving the investment is all up to your skills and the company potential. Over the last years, the startups that participated in our acceleration program raised more than 700 mil EUR in external funding! On top of that, we will award financial grants of up to 60,000 EUR for the best startups in the program.
4 What is the time commitment?
The program requires at least 2 days a week in Bratislava for a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 3 company representatives (preferably CEO/CTO). Many founders are from other countries and rotate during the program. During a typical week, you will have a 4-hour group session on Tuesday afternoon covering the most essential topics. Wednesdays are dedicated to individual mentoring and coaching. On Wednesdays, we also organize networking events, inspiration talks by successful entrepreneurs or investors, and other special workshops. Some individual mentoring sessions can also take place during other days of the week, or even virtually, based on the availability of mentors and startups. Due to the pandemic situation, the program and format of Challenger can change, but the time commitment will remain similar.
5 How many people from our team should participate in the program?
At least one team representative should be present at each session. It does not have to be the same person each week.
6 What is the application and selection process for the program?
You need to submit your application via the F6S platform (https://www.f6s.com/challengeraccelerator/apply) by 28th September. The answers provided in the application form should provide a convincing case on why the company should be selected for the program. On the 30th of September, the best startups will be shortlisted for an all-day selection Bootcamp which will take place on the 10th of October 2020. Following the pitching and Q&As, the selection committee will select the batch of 12 – 14 companies which will participate in the program.
7 What are the criteria for selection?
You need to have an MVP with traction, potential customers, or subscribers. We look closely on the innovativeness of the product, market potential and team.
8 What if I don’t have MVP yet?
9 What can I expect from the program?
Only you can make your business succeed. But we can promise to push you for real results and tough love to get your closer to your goals. You can also expect new connections, feedback, and knowledge. You’ll get it in different formats: 1-1 mentoring with experts, business coaching, networking events, business workshops. We’ll help to develop your own customized plan and will make sure you’ll get the most out of the program.
10 What is expected from me?
Active participation, hard work and dedication. Throughout the program we’ll constantly evaluate your progress. If it will seem that there isn’t mutual fit in the expectations and outcomes, we’ll need to say farewell to each other’s even before the final demo day.
11 Do you have any specific verticals that you focus on?
Our focus is on sustainability. We are looking for the next Steve Jobs in clean-tech, climate-tech, green energy, smart mobility, circular economy, or smart city. If you don’t fit in any of the categories, you can still send us your application. We closely evaluate each start-up and can make the exception in specific cases.
12 We have already received funding; can we still apply?
Yes. However, the limit for the funding is 500 000 EUR.