Q: When is the online application due?
A: The application deadline is April 30, 2019, however you are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Those who submit early have a small advantage as we have more time to read your applications. Accepted teams will be notified no later than May 15.
Q: When and where will the program take place?
A: The program starts on May 17 and will run through October 30. It will take place at various locations throughout Tbilisi (e.g. Techpark, Ilia State University, Caucasus University, and different shared spaces in Tbilisi).
Q: Do we apply as a team?
A: Yes. It’s possible to have a “team of one”, but you’re much less likely to succeed. We may accept single founders but during the first competition you’d likely want to have a team or your chances to advance to full program would be limited. Preference will be given to teams of three-four members, with multidisciplinary skills (e.g. technical, business, sales, marketing, finance, etc). Team members can be added later, provided that additional team members are approved by the organizers prior to June 5th.
Q: Does my team need to know its product or service idea at the time we submit our application?
A: Yes. While we do not expect the idea to be fully formed, at a minimum, we look for teams to have identified a customer problem that they want to solve. The first two sessions will give more time to work on this but by the end of the second session you need to have made solid progress on an idea
Q: Does my team’s idea need to be technological?
A: No. Technology-based ideas are encouraged, but we welcome teams that make a strong case for non-tech ideas.
Q: Is there a fee to participate?
A: Typically the fee for this program would be $4500 in cash or equity but for selected participants who are based in Georgia the US State Department (US Embassy in Tbilisi), Ilia State University and Startup Grind by Google Tbilisi Chapter are bearing the costs of this program. You can think of it as a $4500 scholarship you win if you get to second stage!
Q: What is the expectation around time commitment during the program?
A: Participants should plan to work intensively with their teammates for at least 20 hours per week. A key component of this program is customer discovery, meaning that participants will need to “get out of their comfort zone” to interview at least 100 potential customers during the program. We will have intensives two weekends/month. During these on Fridays and Saturdays, we will have structured events such as speaking sessions with overseas guest speakers, team updates and individually customized meetings with mentors. Outside of the weekend intensives teams are expected to continue work independently.
Q: Will participants receive investment?
A: No, participants will not receive investments in the program, however the main goal of the program is to increase your investment attractiveness. We have relationships with investors it’s possible startups may meet investors but we do not promise any investment.
Q: I’m planning to take a small vacation during the program. Can I still participate?
A: Yes. We expect team members to be fully engaged throughout the program, but short absences are acceptable provided you (a) get an excused absence from your mentor, and (b) coordinate with the rest of your team to ensure that at least 50% of your team members are present for each session (Friday, Saturday). Participation in the first week of the program is mandatory for all team members.
Q: Will there be winners of the program?
A: No. This is experiential learning program. However, top performing teams might get exposure at pitch events at Startup Grind Regional in Tbilisi, or at a Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal in November, or at various complementary events conducted by organizers.
Q: I’d like to participate, but I don’t have any teammates. What are my options?
A: If you have a strong interest in the program and do not yet have a team, you are still welcome to submit your information via online application form. However, having team will a plus for judges when selecting candidates for the program.
Q: Who will act as my team’s entrepreneurial mentor?
A: During the first week of the program, we will work to match each participating team with an entrepreneurial mentor who will consist primarily of local successful entrepreneurs and startup executives. Entrepreneurial mentors will be selected based on their experience and on their willingness to make themselves available to teams on a periodic basis throughout the program. In addition, invited overseas mentors will assist participants during regular sessions.
Q: Sounds interesting, but I still have further questions. Who can I talk to?
A: There will be info session on April 21 from 7-9pm at Terminal co-working space 34/36 Abashidze street. If you are not able to attend, you can review recording of the meeting or post your additional questions in an open FB group. Search on with following name: Venture Elevator Tbilisi Info