In 2013, we were challenged by the Academic Incubator Foundation of Poland (AIP) to help create “Ready to Go,” a program that would help young entrepreneurs in Poland build products and services that can succeed in global markets and to give them the tools to create business models that will allow these startups to be profitable and scale. Our Pre-Acceleration Program was created based on our experience working with 7 cycles of startups in the Ready to Go program. At the end of the program, the startups are well positioned to launch their products in the market and to possibly enter an acceleration program such as 500Startups.
The program lasts 3-6 months and is executed in four (4) phases:
- Company Selection – we work with the sponsor to identify 5-10 early stage startups that have a strong founding team and what we believe is a viable product concept.
- Orientation and Initial Training – The selected startups receive 2 days of training in their home country. The training is focused on the business culture of Silicon Valley and cross cultural communications.
- Silicon Valley Immersion – The cohort spends 2 intensive weeks in Silicon Valley. They receive extensive training on Lean Startup, Business Models and Basic Business Skills. They are partnered with a mentor drawn from our pool of over 100 experienced entrepreneurs. The founders have the opportunity to meet potential customers and partners to validate their business idea and their emerging business model. The visit ends with an opportunity to pitch a group of Angel Investors.
- Working at Home – The startups then return to their home country to continue working on their business, performing customer development and building the first version of the product, based on all the feedback they have received. The continue to work with their Silicon Valley mentor over Skype.