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Huge Thing - Accelerator of the month
06 April 2021·7 min read

Magdalena Balcerzak

Manager, Vestbee

Startup Accelerator Of The Month - Huge Thing

Huge Thing has over 8 years of experience in supporting startups’ development through acceleration programs with corporate partners’ cooperation. Thanks to the cooperation with global and local organizations since 2012, they set up one of the first acceleration programs in Poland. The programs differ between the batches and are dedicated to startups from CEE, Europe, or Worldwide. Among it, Huge Thing also helps corporations discover their inner face of innovation at every stage of the acquiring process – from setting the framework and strategies of innovation teams, through support in the implementation of programs and initiatives. 

Accelerator Strategy Overview for current program

 

STARTUPS ELIGIBLE FOR ACCELERATION PROGRAM

Geography: Europe, mostly CEE, Baltic, Balkans, and Greece
Preferred industries: focus on various areas like education, medicine, gaming, sustainability, and others that have global potential.
Company stage: idea (pre-seed) and launch (seed)
Product stage: concept, MVP/beta, the first version of the product
Product type: B2B, B2C, B2B2C, B2D, B2G, 
Revenues: Yes/No (both accepted)

PROGRAM DETAILS

Duration: Usually around 7 weeks
Participation fee:  No
Equity Investment: No 
Grant: No 
No of batches per year: 2 Batches per year
No of startups in a cohort: 15 

Q&A with Monika Synoradzka, CEO

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

We say that people are one of the key factors in building business success. Therefore, also, in this case, the most important thing we are looking for is a team composed of inspiring people who have the motivation to be involved in the startup development process full time. Also, we want to see in them the ability to be flexible and open to feedback that influences further changes and improvements. 

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

There are two most important things that we pay attention to before choosing startups for our acceleration program:

  • The reason for applying - why a startup would like to take part in a program, what is its main business goal and how we can support it?
  •  Well-prepared Pitch Deck - a few slides with general data about the problem, solutions, team, potential market.

In our opinion, there are currently relatively few initiatives supporting entrepreneurs in the early stage of business development in the region. That’s why, together with our Program partner - Google for Startups, we decided to implement the Pre-acceleration program. It’s dedicated to pre-seed and seed-stage startups with a draft version of MVP or the first version of the product. So we are looking for people with the business idea at an early stage.

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

The Program aims to validate a business idea and prepare the startup for the first investment round. Its goal is to provide startup founders with the tools and knowledge which will allow them to build strong and profitable businesses, and get to know how to measure the progress. We want to support our teams in building relations - with the investors and potential business partners - as it is an integral and unfortunately usually a bit neglected part of startup development. At the beginning of each program in the Huge Thing team, together with the startup and the tutor who works with them during the whole program, we establish an individual, tailored development plan for the startup. The goal is to give real value and results instead of wasting time. This approach boosts startups’ evolution and prepares them to cooperate with corporate partners well and effectively.

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

The Program is based on the lean startup methodology which is a principled approach to new solution development and it consists of workshops, 1:1 mentoring sessions, meetings with VC funds and business partners, and individual work on startup projects. Since 2012 our plan is constantly evolving and that’s why it fits a rapidly changing environment, moreover, we also focus on building relationships in the startup and business ecosystem and examining the specifics of the startup-corporation relations. This full package of contacts and knowledge is provided to startups in order to stimulate their growth as we perceive our program as the beginning of our future common travel. It is crucial for us to stay in touch with our startups and be involved in their further activities far long after the end of the program.

What are the best-performing companies in your portfolio? 

Since 2012 we have had an opportunity to work with many various startups - some of them fail, but some of them still work, grow and acquire new customers and funding from new investors. One of the startups we are proud of is TransparentChoice from our 1st batch, which helps organizations measure and understand how their projects support their strategic goals, among their clients are one of the biggest global companies. Another startup worth mentioning is Conundrum (from our Poland Prize batch) - a technology company focused on research in AI and the development of its proprietary machine learning technologies and software products for industries. From our previous edition of the Pre-acceleration program, we can mention ForLogistic which raised 1.1M PLN investment and Mediprintic which is conducting pilots in three polish hospitals. It’s only a small part of the list of our Huge Thing Family. 

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

Sometimes things go wrong, but the right people in the right place can handle unforeseen situations. PIVOT (changing the way of reaching a specific goal) is one of the most important words to keep in mind when worse days are coming. Ultimately, the business idea should be flexible and able to react to difficult situations, not create them perfectly.

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

We have recently experienced a kind of boom in cooperation between startups and large organizations - it is a very promising phenomenon, especially for startups, as often one of the most important moments on the development map is acquiring the first large client who will help verify the business. That’s why acceleration programs are a perfect way to move forward development, they are also a kind of link between startups, corporations, and investors. Every success owes its existence to the many smaller steps and a startup accelerator is a kick-off for those. There is a similar situation when the startup is looking for an investor - the most important is to choose the one who gives you the best value. 

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

During our recent acceleration rounds, we have seen a growing number of projects in the area of sustainable development, we also know that this area is getting more and more interest from our corporate partners. Therefore, this is going to be one of our main focuses soon, the ideas related to responsibility for the environment are definitely close to our vision.

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

One of the trends that we have observed recently is the increase in the number of projects in the area of sustainability. We also know that more and more large, international organizations are interested in this type of solution - therefore energy & cleantech is an area that we will explore closely during the next editions of our programs.

 

 

Related Posts: 

Startup Accelerator Of The Month - EIT Digital Accelerator (by Magdalena Balcerzak, Manager, Vestbee)

Startup Accelerator Of The Month - ReaktorX (by Magdalena Balcerzak, Manager, Vestbee)

Startup Accelerator Of The Month - Elevator Lab (by Magdalena Balcerzak, Manager, Vestbee)

 



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