How we select startup companies for early stage accelerator?

The beginning of the year is exiting because we are in the middle of the process to select the Batch 2 of Orion Startups. To be a new accelerator program, more than 100 applicants from +30 countries is a good number.

We will take only 5 new companies to get funded (30,000 USD) and accelerated by 5 months in the Technological Park Orion in Chihuahua, Mexico, this means we take only the 5%.

Compared with the first batch, this time we have companies from more countries, with more traction, more experienced teams, more advanced products, so, the road to select the finalists is more complicated.

We run the selection process on 6 stages:

1. Application.

First of all, startups must to apply online. We are using F6S platform because it allow us to track the applications, communicate with the entrepreneurs, the mentors can do evaluations to the companies directly in the platform and we have access to startups applying to another accelerators of Global Accelerator Network.

At this stage, startups fill a form about their company, the team, the idea, problem, market, previous funding, etc. It is the first contact between the startup and the accelerator. If you want that any accelerator takes you seriously, fill the form like a professional, no matter if you are on idea stage.

You can see the form questions here: https://www.f6s.com/orionstartups/apply

Tips:

  • Be sure to fill ALL the form.
  • Be concrete, we need to read a lot of applications, so we want the right information about you and your team.
  • Don´t lie.
  • Use all your media resources: video, social media links, web, etc.
  • Be prepared to be stalked. We always click on founders profiles.

2. Investment thesis.

The second stage is about be sure which startups fill with our investment thesis. On Orion Startups case, we invest on IT early stage companies, any industries, looking their first investment round, with a prototype ( no ideas ), innovation and strong teams (builders on the team).

Tips:

  • Make research about the accelerator before apply.
  • Be sure of your startup is the kind of accelerator is looking for.
  • Define what are you looking for? money, mentors, product, market, investors, traction, growth?

3. Interview.

If you get this stage is because we have interest on you. We do some interviews to amplify information of the form. We want to know more about your product, your team, traction, and see if you are what you are looking for.

These interviews are a 20 min Skype / Hangout call with the team, some of the questions are: What is your company? Who is your competition? What are the roles at your team? Why Orion Startups? What is the current status of the company? What happens after the program? What happens if not Orion? Why should we choose your project?

Tips:

  • Put attention to your email.
  • Be on time for the interview.
  • Do a technical check before the meeting.
  • Select a good place for the interview, without noise and distractions and with a good Internet connection.
  • Be honest.

4. Detailed information.

Once you are at this stage, is because we are really interested in know more about you. Now, we ask you for evidence, documents, or anything that can add value to your application process. For example: traction numbers, finance information, intellectual property evidence, demo of your product, links about your presence on media, etc.

Tips:

  • Answer quickly.
  • Take time to prepare the asked information (content, design, structure)
  • Trust. We don´t want or need to steal your idea.
  • Answer quickly.

5. Mentors evaluation.

On this stage we ask for some help. We give access to the F6S platform and your evidence to our mentors. We ask them take time to evaluate you on five aspects: team, business model, degree of innovation, potential market, maturity of the idea and general comments about the company.

For us, is very useful, because some of them have been on industry by years. Most of the time, they give us a different perspective or points of view that we did´t see.

Tips:

  • You can´t do anything at this stage.

6. Investment committee.

Final round. Our investment committee decide where the money will go. This stage starts with a quantitative approach of each company and finally a qualitative approach where all of them interact at the same room to share they point of view about each company.

Once they get a final decision, we make an offer to the selected companies. If they accept, the due diligence process begins.

Tips:

  • You can´t do anything at this stage.

Captura de pantalla 2016-01-27 a las 6.00.52 p.m.

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