Apply To Startups Of The Month

startup accelerator of the month by
19 October 2023·5 min read

Martyna Konys

Program Manager, Vestbee

Startup Accelerator Of The Month: Katalista Ventures

Accelerator Strategy Overview

Geography: Global / Pan-European
Preferred industries: Industry agnostic, specific focus on startups that have a positive impact on People, Planet and Profit (ex. climate tech, edtech, health tech, agri tech, etc.)
Company stage: Early stage / Pre-seed 
Product stage: MVP / First clients
Product type: B2B software
Revenues: can be pre-revenue

Program Details

Duration: 3-6 months
Participation fee: none
Equity Investment: none at the time of the program
Grant: program-dependent
No. of batches per year (+ months when you collect applications): 2-3, program-dependent
No. of startups in a cohort: 10-15 startups

 Q&A with Greta Monstavičė, CEO & co-founder  at Katalista Ventures

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

  1. Clear impact on the Triple Top Line: People, Planet, and Profit. We want startups that have sustainability at the core of their business model. 
  2. Strong & dedicated founder team: The startup journey can be a rollercoaster, so it’s essential that the team is resilient and passionate about solving sustainability challenges.
  3. A painkiller, not a vitamin: We like to see startups that solve real-world issues for real audiences, not bringing another “nice-to-have” product into the market.
  4. Scalability: It goes without saying that what differentiates a startup from a small business is its potential to scale. That is especially important when implementing solutions to climate change, mobility, education or health, to name just a few. 
  5. Insight into the problem: What unique capacity the founders have to create a solutions that actually solves a problem?

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

Before you decide to join an accelerator program, it's important to know what you want to achieve. Do you want to figure out if your product fits the market, raise money, or understand your impact better? Knowing your goals in advance helps founders pick the right program and make the most of it. Unlike some programs that treat everyone the same way, we personalize each program to match the specific needs of the teams in the cohort. To do this, we assign a chief mentor to each team, who helps the startup through the accelerator process, understands their challenges, and connects them with the right experts and resources. This means we expect teams to be dedicated and put in the time and effort to use these valuable resources.

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

Lack of commitment to positive impact, a team that doesn’t work well together, and/or ethical concerns that don’t align with our values. 

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

Apart from learning how to build a sustainable business strategy, pitch to investors, network, and other practical skills, founders also learn to develop a strong mission and vision for their startup, discover their WHY for existing. This serves as their compass for all business decisions that follow. We also help them understand, manage and communicate their impact, as well as link it to clear business goals, so they can scale their impact as the business grows. Finally, we emphasize the importance of having an everlearning mindset and developing the much-needed resilience to navigate the startup journey.

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

We offer tailored support to the startups in our programs through mentorship, access to our network, resources, and workshops. We meet each startup before the program to better understand their challenges and find ways to help them. Once the program is done, we continue to offer support, including intros to investors and experts. 

What are the best-performing companies in your portfolio?

There are some remarkable success stories among the startups in our portfolio, including those that attracted major investment, expanded to new markets and made a significant positive impact on people and the planet. An example is Earthbanc, who have been doing impressive work in the climate action space, collaborating with large organizations like Telia, Mastercard, and UNCCD to provide the most precise nature-based carbon removal projects. 

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

Fall in love with the customer’s problem, not your product. Focus on building a relationship and helping to solve a problem, not selling a product. Know your WHY*. Not all opportunities have to be acted upon. 

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

Accelerators create supportive environments to help founders grow, get access to expert knowledge and valuable connections. It’s the perfect sandbox to test assumptions fast and effectively with real clients. As sustainability becomes more central to the core business model, there is a growing demand for accelerators like us, who help startups navigate the complexities of social and environmental impact. 

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

Generative AI and carbon capture are among the areas getting the most attention from investors nowadays. We anticipate a growing focus on sustainability and impact-driven startups and it is interesting to see applications of AI to this field. Additionally, we expect to see more collaboration between accelerators, corporates, and government initiatives to foster innovation and address pressing global challenges.

*Reference to the book “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek

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