Paul-René Albertini was previously CEO & Chair of Warner Music International. He co-founded Sushi Venture Partners who set up Startupupbootcamp Israel. In this article, Mr Albertini tells us why his team decided to focus on starting an accelerator program and why startups should apply.
Starting a company, creating great products & raising funds are challenging tasks. As Chair of Sushi Venture Partners (and in previous roles) I receive regular requests for meetings with entrepreneurs. This has only increased over the years. The task of deciding whom to meet and follow up on is never straightforward, particularly with startup teams creating new products in rapidly evolving fields such as digital media, mobile, web & games, amongst others. One thing that helps us filter is focusing on areas where SushiVP collectively has access to relevant senior contacts in established corporates, tech companies or vc firms with experience of a particular startup’s niche. We normally solicit an informed opinion on the startup’s approach and the pains it is addressing or opportunity it is creating. This feedback helps in two ways: 1) it complements and guides our views on the startup’s prospects and 2) provides valuable feedback on the direction of the startup’s product development. It also gives us an idea of the invest-ability of the product and team. Responses we receive typically confirm the opportunity, tell us what works, what doesn’t and how much it really costs – which we communicate back to the teams.
Accelerators focus startups.
To the seasoned observer of technology startups, this process of nurturing product development and involving industry contacts may sound similar to what an accelerator does. It is one of the main reasons we set up the program in Israel with Startupbootcamp. Accelerators help us wrap a structure around what is typically an unstructured process in the early stages, namely, turning an idea into a product with users or potential revenues, setting up a company with a good team and winning the attention of investors to help you grow and win. The short time in which these programs run allows a team to focus on getting their product developed to the point where they can win clients, gain users, clearly pitch what they do and hopefully convince investors what they have is special. During the program close proximity of the teams to each other helps the exchange of best practice. They also have access to a wide range of mentors who drop in for meetings, give regular talks and get involved. All the while the teams are funded which means they can focus on delivering and refining their products (instead of chasing freelance work to make ends meet). At the end of the program each team will be ready to present to an invited audience of angels, VCs and corporate investors. In Startupbootcamp’s case there is a track record of more than half the teams attracting further funding.
This focused approach can make accelerators a useful platform to kick start the development of your company and help you make useful connections.
One week left for applications.
At SBCIsrael a good number of talented teams have applied to our first program and we have started the process of filtering applications. We still want to encourage more teams and for this reason I am extending the application for another seven days after which we will take referrals from our contacts and mentors.
On the 25th of November we hold our selection day with twenty shortlisted teams. Ten finalists will be announced on the day who will join the program in December.
I look forward to receiving your applications.
Paul-René Albertini, Chairman Startupbootcamp Israel
About Startupbootcamp Israel
Sushi Venture Partners is a new VC firm focused on Israel. They recently announced their first Israeli accelerator in association with Startupbootcamp in Haifa.
The program will run for three months starting in December. A combined package of €15,000, office space, mentoring, industry connections & support services are on offer for selected teams to fast track product development. This culminates with an Investor Demo Day in March 2013 where teams will present to an invited audience of angel, vc and corporate investors.
We’re broadly interested in applications for digital media, ecommerce, mobile, web, games and music as these are popular areas with consumers and acquisitive corporates. If you have any queries please get in touch with us.