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startup accelerator of the month- culttech by vestbee
19 May 2022·7 min read

Dorota Potępa

Community Builder, Vestbee

Accelerator Of The Month - CultTech Accelerator

The CultTech Accelerator is a unique program dedicated to supporting and guiding the most promising startups at the intersection of culture and technology. The accelerator is established by the Immaterial Future and designed and implemented in collaboration with Female Founders, bringing together expertise and networks from across the startup, tech, culture and art scenes in Europe and beyond. The accelerator helps startups to become global players and to change the industry and the world for the better. The accelerator is headquartered in Vienna and welcomes participants worldwide as the main program is digital. 

The 3-month equity-free program includes deep-dive sessions with successful founders in the CultTech space, hands-on workshops with Europe’s leading early-stage investors, and personal support from experienced mentors.

Accelerator Strategy Overview 


Geography: no limits
Preferred industries: Art Tech, Music Tech, Performative arts Tech, Literature Tech, Dance Tech, Cinema Tech, Fashion Tech 
Company stage: Idea (pre-seed), launch (seed)
Product stage: MVP/beta, ready product
Product type: no limits
Revenues: no limits 


Duration: 3 months
Participation fee: No
Equity Investment: No (however the investment of the organizing foundation is possible after the demo day)
Grant: No 
No. of batches per year: 2 batches per year, active scouting is in Jan-Feb and Jun-Jul. The application form is open all year round - feel free to apply! 
No. of startups in a cohort: 8-10

Q&A with Irina Yashina, Head of Acceleration

What are the 5 most important things you look for in a startup applying to your program?

We look for teams that:

  • help the cultural initiatives become widely accessible and in demand
  • have a defined business model to bring sustainability and independence to the culture-based initiatives
  • are striving towards global scalability
  • have, at least, product MVP to showcase
  • are passionate about what they do and what social impact they bring!

What startups should take into account before applying to your acceleration program? 

CultTech Accelerator is a boutique accelerator rather than a huge accelerator machine - we work tightly together with founders for a stronger impact. We do not require full-time dedication, but we expect founders to be present for sessions and meetings and proactively express the demands. We play a guiding rather than an educating role during these 3 months of the acceleration program and we keep in touch with founders after the program.

Beyond the accelerator’s routine, we offer access to our extended network of experts and renowned players in the cultural industry, expecting CTA participants to be creative and proactive in using these opportunities.

Can you share some of the red flags that can disqualify a startup from joining your accelerator?

We can claim that the lack of commitment and respect for the time and resources of the accelerator team and the startup colleagues, can certainly be a bad sign for us. Furthermore, we see that the CultTech Accelerator is more about passion for arts&culture than about ‘low hanging fruits’ - so the teams who expect very quick results for a little contribution, would be mistaken.    

What are the most valuable skills that selected startups can develop thanks to your program?

We focus on the founders’ development. We strongly believe that only healthy founder mindsets, launch and develop ‘healthy’ impactful products. Founders can be sure that at the end of the program, they have become better entrepreneurs, team leaders, and product owners. 

Moreover, our program focuses on an industry, which is sometimes underestimated and around which many misconceptions have been falsely created. We are glad to show that actually, arts&culture has a larger target audience, bigger profitability, and more significant effects by helping to address these in the most efficient ways.  

How does your accelerator support portfolio companies during and after the program?

We support the teams during the program individually and in a group manner: by support calls, office hours with in-house experts, personal connections to potential partners/ investors, and peer-to-peer goal check sessions as well as 1-1 mentoring sessions. Additionally, mentors are selected according to the startups’ requests before the program starts.

We have also created the CultTech Online Space where all the actual batch participants and the alumni may interact with each other, ask questions, give feedback and get special perks from the accelerator. 
Also, starting with batch 1, we are in the process of presenting the “Creative Collaborations” project, an extension to the Demo Day where startups would demonstrate their technologies already implemented in real-life (in collaborations with the creative teams) to augment the investors’ impression. A great advantage of exploring the field of culture is that we are able to showcase our startups in a spectacular way from the very beginning.

What are the best-performing companies in your portfolio? 

Honestly, it is too early to judge - we are only moving toward Batch 2 now. Moreover, the definition of success in the arts&culture scene has a very broad sense.  However, we are sure that Batch 1 will already show and have a significant impact on the accessibility and demand of culture! 

What key lessons have you learned from projects that didn’t work out the way you expected?

We are currently still on Batch 1, and startups have the chance to share feedback every week after their session so we can understand their current needs and react. One of the key learnings overall is that accelerators are not only about individual dynamics but also about group ones. That implies,  the focus of the attention not only on one team or founder, but on the community (together with speakers, experts, and mentors!). 

If the accelerator team pays less attention to any one of the elements - this will negatively affect the overall results of the program.  

Why, in your opinion, accelerators are becoming more popular nowadays?

We suppose accelerators make a perfect example of multiple ‘win-win’ strategies and that is why the programs are popular. 

To be more specific - accelerators serve as a certain ‘elevator’ for startups on various levels. On the other side, they can give huge benefits to the organizing teams, who often intend to invest. Everything is combined with scalability, understandable frameworks, and the lean resources required. 

What are the hottest markets you currently look at as an accelerator and where do you see the biggest hype?

Definitely, Web3 / NFT space is now creating the loudest buzz in the industry! Both, in terms of rare but huge deals and - more importantly - in terms of realising a dream of a more equitable distribution of income and a decentralised approach to promotion and ownership. We already see many promising startups in this field.

Moreover, new media startups (which are on the edge of arts&culture and lifestyle) have huge potential to change the world of today.

Though we need to add that in the vertical where we work, the biggest hype can be created even by underground, small companies - and that makes it even more exciting for us, as an accelerator to be a part of such a scene!  

Do you have any predictions about the key trends that will shape the European accelerator scene in the near future?

We suppose that accelerators should have more defined USPs (unique selling proposition) and should create even more value - as already today in many cases founders, not accelerator teams, have a stronger vote.  

Related Posts: 

Startup Accelerator Of The Month -  Business Accelerator UKIM (by Dorota Potępa, Community Builder, Vestbee)

Startup Accelerator Of The Month - Kiuas Accelerator (by Dorota Potępa, Community Builder, Vestbee)

Startup Accelerator Of The Month -  Wayra Germany (by Dorota Potępa, Community Builder, Vestbee)



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