Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Warmed Up with a Vengance

So how hot is it with you?

It's 35 degrees outside my office window. That's why I'm running a tropical roster at the moment...Getting up at the crack of dawn to be able to take a few hours off at midday when it really starts to boil. Luckily this video of all the events taking place at High Tech Campus Eindhoven is really cool.

Indeed it is the ecosystem and network that makes these campuses unique. You can copy buildings and procedures. But the mix of people is unique. And startups that get in to Startupbootcamp HightechXL in Eindhoven get access to a wide range of events being planned just before, during and after the program.

The hot weather is no distraction for the great conversations we've been having with teams applying for the Startupbootcamp HightechXL accelerator program. We're talking with teams all over the world as the on-line deadline for applications is fast approaching.

In my conversations with early startup companies, I realise that there are big differences between the world of app development and those involve hardware in their solution. As you're out there searching for the sustainable business model, as Steve Blank would say, it's much easier to tweak a line of code rather than rebuild a piece of hardware. Which is why the HightechXL programme is fine tuned to the needs of high-tech companies.

Bart Lugard is in charge of our global search for teams.

"Of course, in high-tech, we’re looking for strong teams that have more than an idea. The winning teams will start the program on November 11th with a proof of concept or technology proof of principle. Ideally, they should have a demonstrator or a working prototype. A friend of mine put it like this. The prototype should have reached a stage where if it drops on your foot, it would hurt! What he means is that paper plans are not usually enough."

"We have had questions from companies who are specialising in software only. But in each case this software is somehow connected to a piece of dedicated hardware. Like a vehicle. Or a specialised sensor, or a robot."

It is important to understand that during the three months we will not focus on developing the technology any further. Instead, we use the time to fine tune the business model, validate the customer base, engage with lead customers, sign up pilot projects as well as prepare a world-class investor pitch for Demo Day. Others have described our program as building a real-world business strategy.

Why Apply Early?

It makes a lot of sense to sign up today because late comers often lose out! Stand out from the others. Remember many applications at an accelerator program come in during the last week before applications closing. Our advice is to apply early, even if you have not yet finalised everything (like getting a video pitch ready). Fill in what you can and consider applying for one of the on-line pitching sessions. That's a great chance to ask open questions to the program organisers and some of the lead mentors. They may come back with advice and suggestions that can improve your chances of getting selected. You still have time to tweak the application. In the period from 6 to 2 weeks before applications close (i.e. that means July and August 2013), the program management and their mentors usually have more time available. Our team in Eindhoven is watching the incoming applications and may already approach you for an initial conversation.

Remember, they can only do this when they know you are applying for the program.

Finally news that we're arranging Pitch days right now. Sign-up first in order to take part.

·       At Startupbootcamp HightechXL, we’re setting up a days in August for Open Pitches, either in person or via Skype. Those who have applied early have encouraged us to continue with this great opportunity to learn more about applicants and watch their progress.
·       Technical tip: Make sure you have a reasonably fast/stable Internet connection before trying to pitch over Skype.

·       Remember, the closing date for on-line applications for the Startupbootcamp HightechXL 2013 program is September 8th 2013. That's a firm date because we want to be fair to others. Don't leave it until the last minute!

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