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An acceleration program based on customer development, targeting teams with global aspirations, who are building SaaS products.


In Autumn of 2012, we set down with the Partners to discuss what can we do to increase the chances for success of early stage stage startups. Between 2011 (when Innovation Nest was launched) and end of 2012 we met with many entrepreneurs (startups) at conferences, meetups, and workshops. We spent many hours discussing business models, potential market strategies, customer segments. We also spent hours and hours, talking about products, their minimal viable versions, development roadmaps and viral coefficients. The time spent with entrepreneurs gave us a lot to think about. We knew we had a good process of helping startups at a seed stage but this process was not available to startups just at the start of their road to success (mostly pre-product). Suddenly all the pieces came together – we decided to launch an acceleration program, and that is how ACCELERATE came to existence.

Twice a year (Autumn and Spring) we head out to search for the most promising teams, with the best potential to build a global business. Teams apply for our acceleration program during which we work together on their business model and product. The goal of ACCELERATE is to speed up the process of customer development and getting out of the building to test the product in market conditions.

What to expect?

ACCELERATE is aimed at startups, focused on building a global business. We are mostly interested in Software as a Service type products targeted at the Small and Medium Enterprise or professionals market. It is best that you have a working prototype or you already have a product on the market but you would like to take it to a new market. The program is divided into three steps:

Recent years have seen an explosion of incubators and accelerators popping up all over the world. ACCELERATE might seem similar on the surface, but under the skin it is a whole different story. We believe that the incubator/accelerator model does not work that well unless startups are offered full support on each stage of financing. This is why instead of building a separate entity we decided to incorporate acceleration into the investment process of Innovation Nest. This gives us a lot of flexibility and allows startups going through ACCELERATE to focus on the business not on raising funds. This means that once the acceleration process comes to an end and the business looks promising, we can give further support through our seed program. We know that building something grand, sometimes takes time to build.

How to apply?

Each year we hold two batches of ACCELERATE – Spring and Autumn. We start accepting applications for the Spring batch in January. Applications for the Autumn batch start in September.  The application process starts with filling out our application form with some basic information about your startup. Once we have closed applications, we start with interviews. After the interview stage we announce the teams who are invited to our Customer Development workshops.

During the selection process we mostly look at your team. Startup ideas often evolve, and we believe that a strong and focused team is the safest bet we can make at this stage. The best teams will have two or three founders, with a background in tech, design, marketing/sales. As we are deeply convinced that the road to global success leads through Silicon Valley, your ability to speak english is a prerequisite.

Not less important than people is the idea you are trying to turn into a global business. That said we will favor teams who go after a big market, especially in the Software as a Service space. The ideal team should already have a working prototype, and be ready to release a first version of the product in a couple of weeks.

Read about accelerate

Documents you might find handy


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