Among successful startups have been Bellabeat which helps expectant mothers hear and visualise their baby’s heartbeat and share it with loved ones, and Undagrid, a cloud service, network and hardware system for the IoT in industry. The full list of alumni can be found here.
With the deadline for 2015 fast approaching, I got in contact with another success story of Startupbootcamp, Relayr, to hear what they gained from the program, and what advice they had for teams applying now for the Barcelona program.
I met Jackson Bond, co-founder and Head of Product at Relayr. Bond had participated in the Amsterdam Startupbootcamp: Wireless & interactive Technologies, which ran from October last year to the beginning of this year. His team had applied to the accelerator program as they knew they had a great product, a cloud based tool for connecting IoT apps to devices, but they were struggling to enter the market. A friend recommended Bond that him and his small team, based in Berlin, make the move to the Netherlands.
The application was three skype pitches, which he found painless as he was focused and knew what he wanted from the program. Initially however, the team was concerned that the 8% equity share asked by the program was too high. Once they were accepted into the program though, they realized their worry was needless; they effectively doubled the valuation of the company by joining the program.
Three members of the Relayr team relocated and rented a flat together in Amsterdam for the duration of the program, something which Bond strongly recommends as it saves a lot of time by allowing the work to flow from day to night when necessary.
Bond described his experience of being in the program: “It was a super rigorous introduction in how to launch your company in the smartest way and in the fastest mode possible.” Relayr gained a lot from the program as they arrived with an attitude of working their mentors hard, “We were very aggressive and very demanding of peoples’ time, in really exploiting the mentors.”
This approach paid off for the team. Even before the Demo day at the end of the program, Relayr had secured pre-seed funding and had a new direction to get to market quickly. The trainings and methods of Startupbootcamp program helped the Relayr team get their focus correct and aligned, and taught all team members, who came from different backgrounds, how to work together as a lean startup.
After the program had finished Relayr returned to Berlin, and were offered three months of free office space, which they found extremely useful. They’ve since raised money through crowdfunding and launched their Wunderbar product this summer. In October they won first prize in the IoT innovation Grand Challenge at the Internet of Things World Congress, which came with a cash prize of $150,000.
Startupbootcamp propelled the Relayr team forward, as it has done with many other startups. Bond’s final comment was: “any startup team that wants to go to market quickly should join an accelerator.”