2018 is the year to go far and beyond which is pretty much the same thing as saying it’s the year to continue to go global but better than ever. And Beta-i is going global without any fear. Proof of that is how we started the year, with two huge international programs one of them focused on Portugal. And this is just the beginning.
The first one is the Global Impact Challenge, that aims to foster moonshot innovations and startups that positively impact the lives of people living in Portugal, with an ability to scale and impact a billion people worldwide in 10 years. The challenge brought by SingularityU Portugal comes to our country for the first time after being in countries like Brazil, Canada or Norway.
The other one is Free Electrons. Yes, Free Electrons is back with its amazing USD 200,000 prize, no strings attached. This program is an opportunity for later stage energy startups to gain access to not one, not two, but eight giant utilities, including EDP, TEPCO, innogy and origin, which can help them expand and scale into new markets.
What’s in it for the startups? A lot. Beta-i going global means nothing if startups don’t go global with us. It’s an opportunity for startups to get to know different markets, explore their pilot and have investment opportunities. All of this, of course, if they try, because you know what they say if you never try you’ll never know.
How can startups try to go global? It’s as simple as applying and dates are the following: Global Impact Challenge applications close on February 6, 2018 and Free Electrons applications close on February 23, 2018. We’re rooting for all of you.
Alright, we all know how difficult it is to get into a top accelerator. You apply with your startup, you wait for the reply and then when the time comes, it’s either the cheer look on your face or the disappointment settling in. And filling in the application plays a major role in this.
So, how can you get the perfect application that will get everybody’s attention and join Lisbon Challenge right on time for the Web Summit this Fall? What should you add and emphasize? What’s the “make it or break it” factor? Well, just keep on reading because you’re about to find out.
We get hundreds of applications for Lisbon Challenge and it’s a long and arduous job to go through each one of them. In order to move on to the next phase, you really need to stand out by following these tips:
1.Team, team, team
I know this might sound a bit of a cliché. Everyone talks about the importance of having a good team but that’s no coincidence. Whenever we go through applications, the team is usually what grabs our attention. This is because, at such an early stage of your startup, there is very little evidence to show that your idea is amazing. So, instead, we rely on the team behind it, and their execution capacities, as well as their analytical skills. We like to see how teams validated their idea, specifically what tactics they used, and what conclusions they took out of it. Explain exactly what each one of you does, the background, why you’re building this startup together, etc. We definitely value more teams that have founders that cover both main areas: product and business. Also, clearly explain the equity distribution, because it helps us determine individual motivation and founders direction.
2. Do your homework
It’s really important that our accelerator matches your startup and your own expectations. For Lisbon Challenge we only take startups that are in product development phase, focusing on product-market fit, in particular. This can be Prototype, closed Beta, or MVP. We are not looking for startups that are focusing on growth, sales or internationalization (we used to, but not anymore), instead, we want startups that are building their final versions based on recent problem-solution validation. We like startups that apply lean analytics to their product development and are drawing conclusion based on customer behavior.
3. Get a recommendation
Most of the selected startups for Lisbon Challenge were referred to us by someone within our network of entrepreneurs and investors. See if you can find someone who has been through Lisbon Challenge before or someone close to the Beta-i network and ask for a introductory email.
4. Be detailed and know your numbers
Explain your product and business well. If you’re building a complex technical product, take your time to explain it and find a comparison so that it’s easy to understand the importance of your solution. You should be able to “sell” us your vision and demonstrate clearly what is your roadmap to achieve this vision. If you have any metrics on traction, KPIs or analytics, the more you share with us the better, but remember, you should always explain what are the underlining conclusions you have drawn from it, so we can get a sense of your decision-making process.
5. No bullshit (go straight to the point)
Even though you have to be detailed about your product and know your numbers, that doesn’t necessarily mean bullshit. Go straight to the point and answer the questions. If you don’t have numbers to show don’t try to fake it. Instead, just explain you don’t have it yet, but tell us about how you validated the idea, and what are the numbers you want to track in the future, why, and why will they help you determine your startup’s roadmap.
6. Surprise us – stand out from the crowd
If you want to get noticed you need to stand out from the crowd. Don’t be like everybody else that says they’re gonna get all their users through social media with no further explanations. Think of new channels, growth strategies, anything that can be particularly applied to your startup and business model.
7. Remember to add the video
For the video, it doesn’t matter if it is a phone video. What does matter is that you introduce all of the founders, and show us what you have done so far with the idea, what phase are you now, and where are you heading.
Now that all the tips are here, it’s entirely up to you to get it right. If you are still not sure if you are at the right phase for Lisbon Challenge, than email Isabel Salgueiro (email@example.com) or Nuno Machado Lopes (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Apply to Lisbon Challenge until this July 15th 2017, and we’ll let you know if you’ve been selected by August 15th 2017.
Would you like to meet Elon Musk, Stewart Butterfield or Marc Andreessen in Lisbon this year? Yes? Well, this could really happen since the Web Summit will be in Lisbon this year…
We know that building a startup takes focus, commitment and hard-work. But, it’s also about talking to people and creating relationships. From customers to investors, from partners to other entrepreneurs such as yourself…
You need to meet the right people. And that’s why you should come to Lisbon this year, right on time for the Web Summit 2016 this November.
In fact, we have just opened applications for the Fall Edition of our accelerator, Lisbon Challenge. Meaning, you would be in Lisbon from September to December.
Would you be interested in applying to one of Europe’s most dynamic accelerators?
Here’s what you should keep in mind:
- Alumni network of +200 startups
- Our startups have raised +50 million euros
- A network of +200 mentors you can reach out to
- Free office space in the centre of Lisbon
- Tailor-made workshops on the key challenges your startup is facing
- 150k in perks and no equity taken
Apply here until the 10th of June and grow startup in Lisbon.
What have people been saying about Lisbon Challenge?
“Lisbon Challenge can be the European Y Combinator”
Michael Seibel, Part-time Partner at Y Combinator
“The greatest thing about Lisbon Challenge is that it creates a cluster of entrepreneurs that are all going through the same journey. This means you get fantastic scalability and they learn a lot with each other. It’s also good for investors to meet several companies in one place.”
Mike Butcher, Editor at TechCrunch
“We were in the very first batch of Lisbon Challenge. At the time, we had just launched our student accommodation platform and it was the perfect time for us to get all the feedback from mentors and occasional speakers that Lisbon Challenge brought to us. Lisbon Challenge and Beta-i really helped us kick-start our business.”
Miguel Amaro, Founder of Uniplaces
“Popcorn Metrics was born during the Lisbon Challenge. During the program we were able to get our whole team working together in a super focused environment which enabled us to quickly get the insights to make a massive “zoom in pivot” and focus on building our current product to enable marketers to set-up their Marketing Analytics Stack without depending on IT. We built a hugely valuable network of mentors, investors and other cofounders – a network that still gives great value today. As a bonus from Lisbon Challenge, we also spring-boarded from Lisbon Challenge into London based Seedcamp (the largest seed investment program in Europe).”
Paul Boyce, Founder of Popcorn Metrics
Apply here and join us in Lisbon for the next edition.