What is GammaRebels?
GammaRebels is an accelerator program for technology startups, organized by HardGamma Ventures. It focuses on accelerating and developing startups through mentoring, advising and sharing both business & technical knowledge.
What is an accelerator program?
It’s an intensive program for startups – young businesses receive mentorship and support, plus a little bit of funding.The acceleration program lasts for three months. More details (only in Polish, sorry) here: Krzysztof Kowalczyk’s speech.
What are the minimal requirements to take part in the program?
Your startup must have a minimum of one technical co-founder and have a working prototype.
When and where is this program held?
The program lasts 3 months. The exact dates of the program are to be announced. The program is held in Warsaw, Poland. We have all year intake – the next edition will start in November 2012. You can apply here.
What language is official? And why it is not Polish?
English, because we want GammaRebels to be open for startups from different countries. Some of the program’s mentors are English-speakers and do not speak any Polish and hosting the program in English increases our mentorship pool. Moreover, startups within GammaRebels should think globally, so English seems to be the best choice.
How can I apply?
Send us few slides about your startup and, if available, a link to a 3-minute film about the team and your startup. The film will be viewed by us before the slides so tell us about your startup and try to attract our attention in a business way.
Slides should cover following issues (our description is long to make your slides short and clear*):
1. Cover. Include your logo, tagline, and complete contact information.
2. Summary. Summarize the key, compelling facts about the company.
3. Team. Highlight the past accomplishments of the team – have you ever worked together on anything before? If you know your teammates from a battle, the risk of the relationship collapsing is minimised.
4. Problem. Have you field-tested the product? Did you talk to the potential clients? What makes you believe that someone will want what you’re producing?
5. Solution. Introduce your product and it’s beneﬁts and describe how it addresses the problem you just described. Include a demo such as a screencast, a link to working software, or pictures. God help you if you have nothing to show.
6. Technology. Describe the technology behind your solution. If appropriate, mention patent status.
7. Marketing. Who are the customers? How big is the market? You summarized this in your Problem slide and this is your opportunity to elaborate. How are you going to acquire customers? What customers have you already acquired? Saying just “we’ll use social media to promote” is NOT enough.
8. Sales. What’s your business model? If you have sales, discuss the sales you’ve made and your pipeline. What are the microeconomics and macroeconomics that turn your business into a $X million revenue business? Emphasize the microeconomics (each user is worth $1/year because…) instead of the macroeconomics (if we can get 1% of a $10B market…).
9. Competition. Describe why customers use your product instead of the competition’s. Describe any competitive advantages that remain after the competition decides to copy you exactly. Never deny that you have competitors — its okay to compete.
10. Milestones. Describe your current status and prospective milestones for the next 1-3 quarters for your product, team, marketing, and sales. Use a table with the quarters on the x-axis and the functions on the y-axis. Also include quarterly and cumulative gross burn (your expenses, assuming zero revenue) for the next 1-3 quarters. Don’t build a detailed ﬁnancial model if you don’t have past earnings, a signiﬁcant ﬁnancial history, or insight into the issue. What hypotheses did you test in the last round of ﬁnancing and what were the results? What hypotheses will you test with this round?
11. Conclusion. This slide can be inspirational, a larger vision of what the company could accomplish if these current plans are realized, or a rehash of the Summary slide.
12. The WOW factor – what is it about your product that will make the world a better place, and what will make everyone go “wow”?
*Based on “Pitching Hacks: How to pitch investors” by Ventures Hacks.
I’ve already sent you a movie and slides, what’s next?
The next step is a face to face interview: your team and our GammaRebels team. We’ll arrange interviews individually.
I live outside Warsaw. Will you refund the travel cost?
Unfortunately not. If you can’t afford travel costs to Warsaw, we’ll schedule a Skype interview with your team. But it would be better for both sides to see each other.
I’ve already been interviewed, what’s next?
Be patient. Soon we’ll announce who achieves enrollment into the next GammaRebels class. Don’t worry, it won’t take long so you’ll have enough time to prepare to come to Warsaw.
We’ve already been working on our startup for a while. Is GammaRebels appropriate for us?
It is a program for every startup looking for an acceleration of it’s business with the help of our mentors and peer startups. It’s best suited for those startups that haven’t already raised a series A round from later stage investors.
We’ve already taken some funding. Can we still apply?
Depends on the funding and existing terms. Contact us: email@example.com.
We don’t want funding, but will you give us some advice for free?
Unfortunately, we can’t. Helping teams takes our time and that of the mentors, and we value this greater than money we invest. But you can access us at quite a few events.
Can you recommend other investors who might be interested in our idea?
Please send your application to HardGamma Ventures, as GammaRebels is a part of it.
How much do you invest?
We invest EUR 4,000 per founder, no more than EUR 12,000 per team. So EUR 8,000 for two founders, EUR 12,000 for three or more. The goal is usually to give you enough money to build a version 1/Beta and cover your cost of living expenses during the program. You can use these funds to build the version that will attract further funding, or more clients. HardGamma Group is a partner of Google at The Google Developers Startup Pack as well as Microsoft, in terms of Microsoft BizSpark and BizSpark Plus. That’s why the participants except the cash investment up to €12.000 would also receive up to $80.000 of cloud services from these companies.
What does HardGamma Ventures get out of this?
10% of equity of your startup.
Can I negotiate the term sheet?
We have the same terms of sheets for every team, it is non negotiable. We want every startup in the program to have the same terms.
Is GammaRebels program somehow connected to EU funds?
No. That may mean less money, but also – far less red tape, and no administrative overhead and forms to be filled. We believe speed and ability to pivot is of the essence in startups, and EU funds usually take that away. Our funding comes from HardGamma Ventures venture capital firm, which invests in technology startups.
Why I should choose GammaRebels investment rather than apply for EU funds?
GammaRebels focuses on accelerating startups by mentoring, advising and creating an atmosphere for effective work. Our smaller investment and substantial amount of mentoring will get you further in three months than a lager investment from EU funded POIG programs. We promise.
We don’t really need the money. Does it still make sense to apply?
Accelerator programs are not about the money but about the mentorship and creating a critical startup mass in one place. The main value is the knowledge of our GammaRebels team and mentors who will support your startup. The money we invest works more like financial help: it ensures that the people who do need money can cover their living expenses while GammaRebels is in operation.
What if we’re doing something expensive?
We’ll still fund you, but instead of trying to build something launchable in three months, the goal becomes to build an impressive proof of concept and present it at a later stage to investors to raise more money.
Do we need to write a business plan?
Not for us. We make funding decisions based on our slideshow format and personal interviews. And we love demos.
Can a single person apply for funding?
Yes, but the odds of being accepted are much lower. A startup is too much work for one person.
I have a great idea for a technology startup, but I’m not technical. Will you still fund me?
So, you’re trying to start a bakery, but you don’t know how to bake? We will accept only teams with a minimum one of technical co-founder. We believe that you shouldn’t outsource your core business.
Can we do it without moving to Warsaw, Poland?
Sorry, no. What we do, we have to do in person, not “virtually”.
Do we have to be Polish citizens?
No, as long as you can get here for at least three months.
Can you get us visas?
No, sorry, we don’t do that.
Our group has two ideas. Can we submit two applications?
No, one team one idea, decide what is best for the future world.
Do you only fund startups that write software?
We’ll consider startups in any field, but the odds are better for startups writing software because that’s what we understand.
Will you sign an NDA? How do I know you won’t steal my idea?
No, we won’t sign an NDA. No venture firm would at this stage. If you want to succeed, you need to tell other people about your idea.
Can I be a co-founder of two startups that want to apply to the GammaRebels accelerator?
No. One founder can represent only one startup. Choose that one you are more passionate about.
Will you fund multiple startups working on the same idea?
Yes. If you fund many companies it’s unavoidable you’ll end up with some overlap. Even if you tried not to accept competing companies, you’d still get overlap because startups’ ideas morph so much. The way we deal with it is that when two startups are working on related stuff, we don’t talk to one about what the other’s doing. In practice, it has not turned out to be a problem, because most big markets have room for several slightly different solutions, and it’s unlikely that two startups would do precisely the same thing.
Why did you choose the name “GammaRebels?”
The word “Gamma” comes from name of HardGamma Ventures, the word “Rebels” describes the kind of people we’d like to attract – the ones that want to disrupt the world, and the ones that are brave enough to try and implement crazy things.
Can We apply if some of us have a full time job?
Can you be a part-time rebel, and work part-time for a government? The team leader & cofounder need to work on the idea full time, even before the GammaRebels stage. Other team members (if any) need to commit to full time for the duration of the GammaRebels program.
Are you looking for investors?
We’re not looking for investors in GammaRebels itself, but you’re welcome to invest in the companies we fund. At the end of the program we will host a Demo Day for investors.
I am not a startup neither an investor, but I like the idea of your program. Can I help somehow?
If You believe that Your knowledge, activity or company could be somehow beneficial for our startups and would help them to achieve their goals, please contact us on:firstname.lastname@example.org
What kind of people are behind GammaRebels and HardGamma Ventures?
People passionate about startups. Here You will find out more about the organizers.