How we got into The CoWrks Foundry - an accelerator program
Pankaj / 20 Nov 2018
UnderstandBetter has had the pleasure of being a part of a wonderful accelerator program and we are excited to share our experience of how we got ourself into the program with you.
The CoWrks Foundry, is an accelerator program by CoWrks where early stage startups receive the support and the resources required to scale and grow their companies.
Let’s rewind to 8 months ago when we first heard about The CoWrks Foundry. We received an email from The Foundry, inviting us to apply for the program. Somebody had recommended our company to be a part of their program. We thank our evangelist, whoever it was, for putting in a good word for UnderstandBetter.
The application process to the program had just opened and we had to compete with 300+ other brilliant startups who were applying for the same. It was definitely tough competition but what pushed us was the thought of growing our product independently, accepting a new challenge and succeeding in the process.
UnderstandBetter has helped us grow internally in more ways than one from getting our team together to creating an inclusive work culture. If you want to know how UnderstandBetter got to where it is now, read our story here.
Our first interaction with the team, before we filled out the application, was at CoWrks Millenia, Bangalore and they helped us set context of the program and what was expected out of us. When we pitched the idea of having a product for the people industry that makes every employee engagement and experience better, The CoWrks Foundry team loved it.
None of us has had any experience preparing for an accelerator program. The information required from us was about our business - a test to see if we could articulate what we were doing with our product. (Something I would have failed if it was a question about my life! Virtual hi-fi to people like me).
After racking my brain for quite some time, I narrowed my focus down to the following points:
- How did we start
- Our target customers
- Our target market
- Our competitors
- Our customers
- Product stage (Idea, Underdevelopment, Beta, Ready to sell)
- Our elevator pitch
- Team details
We submitted our application and were waiting to hear back from The Foundry team. For good luck we had fingers crossed and to calm our nerves, we had a bag of chips by our side.
Finally, after what seemed like a long wait in our heads (but, in reality not), we got through the first round. We were asked to dial-in for a video interview.
We had no clue who would be interviewing us so we were dressed to impress. Upon joining the call, we were introduced to Rohith Salim, Technology Partner and Ayushi Garg, Investment Associate at The Foundry. We didn’t feel the pressure of an interview at all. In fact, the conversation flowed smoothly and we managed to give them a detailed understanding of the business model. Thanks to the duo for easing us into a conversation and not fueling to our panic struck stiff mode.
Nruthya Madappa, Managing Partner of The Foundry unfortunately couldn’t join us for the interview, so we had another round of interview with her on a different day. Having read up about her and her background, we really wanted to make a good impression. We think we did well because we got ourselves into the in-person evaluation round with the Investment Committee of The Foundry.
The date for our interview was shared and we traveled as a team to Bangalore. During the evaluation, we gave them a brief introduction about UnderstandBetter, immediately followed by detailed overview of our product, how it works, our solid plans for the future and how our team is structured.
Towards the end of this in-person meet, what mattered was the passion with which we spoke about the vision we had for the company. The Committee was sold on what were building. Tech is our strongest game and giving them a demo of our product validated our belief.
Have your vision and mission thought out for whatever you do. You need to set your goals to achieve them in the set time.
You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like some help or have any queries about the accelerator program or the product.
In a week’s time, we received a mail saying that we got through the program and we are one of the 5 start-ups that were selected. We couldn’t hold our excitement and the preparation to move to the foundry base had started.
A 6 months program, access to mentors, support to grow the team and business, constant personal training and help for the founders from the team and a series of notable mentors and a seed funding. These were the perks mentioned before the beginning of the program and true to the words, we have scaled humongously from how we were 5 months back to now.
Now that we are done with our Demo Day, we are thrilled to share this experience of getting through the accelerator. We will soon be following up with our experience from the program and some interesting blogs.