From an organizational point of view, the recruitment process proved very challenging. Starta had to overcome limitations, both in terms of logistics (many teams, for example, could not get visas or fly in), and in organizing offline events. Lucky for us, the pandemic situation in the city got better just in time for the Investor Showcase, so we held it offline for a large audience.
Like many others, in 2020 we had to quickly adapt to the new fully online setting, and while we decided against a full switch into the remote realm (see why here - link to the previous article abt online accelerators) this proved the perfect moment for us to kickstart our new program — Starta Launchpad.
Launchpad is a pre-acceleration program that gives early-stage or future founders an opportunity to cover all their startup basics and obtain the knowledge to launch or transfer their project to the US market. Launchpad is run by the same experts and mentors who work with the startups in our main accelerator program.
It is important to note that this is not just a set of videos on certain topics, this is a personalized online course where you have to complete tasks at the end of the blocks, and they are checked and graded by real experts of Starta Accelerator. And all of that is completely free (no money or equity) to the founder!
Of course, this will not replace the full-fledged acceleration program with relocation to New York, one-on-one sessions with experts, and live pitch sessions - but this has helped many projects determine their goals and strategy for entering the global market.
It was surprisingly good statistics for us too! Four Launchpad graduates got accepted into our Fall 2020 cohort and Spring 2021 cohort featured five companies from the program.
We believe this was for a few reasons - first, our batches are limited to a certain number of startups, usually no more than 20 startups per cohort, but the number of applications we receive is many many times that- Launchpad allows us to share our expertise and experience with a much larger number of projects.
Another advantage is that Launchpad graduates come to the Accelerator interviews much more prepared, making the application process much faster and more efficient.
Startups, on the other hand, get complimentary access to experts, experience, and the Starta network, which they can convert into project development both in a broad sense and in terms of entering the United States.
For example, upon completion of the program, a startup will have completed a full set of deliverables (pitch deck, one-pager, etc.) and learned (hopefully;) the best practices for communicating with investors, accelerators, and other participants in the US venture capital ecosystem.
Here are some feedback from the Launchpad alumni:
Abdelrahman (Abdoo), CEO of the Eladly app:
I enjoyed the Launchpad program and learned a lot from it. The content is well organized and focused on practical challenges facing founders in their day-to-day operations. I particularly enjoyed the bits of building a competitive analysis and organizing my startup's legal structure.
Igor Akulich, CEO of the LeoHome:
It was a great pleasure and experience for the LeoHome team to go through the Starta's Launchpad program. This is a great opportunity to start the US relocation and the main program without any company stress. After starting the relocation, we already understood the main processes and milestones. Having started the main program, we already got acquainted with the amazing Starta's team, felt comfortable and immediately started working productively together.
Thinking about joining? Check out the program here, we are looking forward to your application.