Kiuas Pre-Accelerator Bootcamp Fall 2023

August 29, 2023
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Kiuas team
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In the world of startups, one thing's for sure: change is constant. So, we decided to shake things up too. For years, our accelerator followed a familiar path: a written application, followed by a 20-minute interview. While this method had its merits, it often placed excessive emphasis on the idea itself, leaving the potential of the founders relatively unexplored. This spring, though, a lightbulb moment hit us, leading to a total makeover of how we pick the gems from the startup rough

Over time, we recognized that two key indicators stood out as predictors of future success:

  1. The founders' ability to execute fast. The process of building a startup is sort of like solving an optimization problem. Founders work within constraints of time, money, and energy. It's about conducting as many experiments as you can to find product market fit. The faster they execute and gather evidence to validate or invalidate their hypotheses, the greater their chances of finding a winning strategy before they run out of resources. This is why teams that move fast seem to have an advantage over teams that might have more experience or money to start with.

  2. The intellectual integrity of the founders. The ability of founders to remain honest about their results, avoid confirmation bias, and embrace the evidence that challenges their ideas can make or break a venture. An unwavering commitment to adapt and pivot based on objective data seems to be a shared trait of some of our most successful founders.

For these reasons, this time around we decided to change our application process to a 1-week long bootcamp to which we invited 60 teams to do as much customer discovery work as possible (simply put, to talk to as many potential customers as possible, to learn as much as they can about whether or not there is market demand for what it is that they are building).

The structure of the week:

On Monday, we started the week by meeting the teams at the startup sauna, with the main goal of teaching them:

  1. How to conduct customer interviews

  2. What does proper validating look like

  3. Why validating the market need as fast as possible should be their priority

For the rest of the week, we asked them to do short submissions of their learnings every evening and define what sort of validation work they had done during the day. Throughout the whole week, we also had an active slack group with all the close to 100 participating founders at the bootcamp, where they could share their learnings and support each other.

Outcome

In the span of one week, our 57 teams reached out to a whopping 1400 potential customers, and conducted 500 interviews, with ¼ of teams setting up a landing page. We were blown away by all of the hard work the teams put in and all the learnings that happened in such a short period of time.

Based on their ability to execute fast, learn a lot and pivot when needed we selected the participants of the Fall batch. Stay tuned for next week when we publish the companies in the batch!

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