Over the course of the last two years almost 180 startups and scaleups participated in one of the four weXelerate batches. They all have one thing in common: a tempting offer for the weXelerate ecosystem – most notably our corporate partners – that makes them stand out from the masses of applications. Here are five crucial things that we have learned make a difference whether to get one of the much sought-after batch spots and get picked by our corporate partners or end up unlucky.
1. Do research about the industries, strategies and products of our corporate partners.
weXelerate is an innovation ecosystem built around its core of corporate partners. Large, well-established, well-financed and experienced Austrian legacy corporates that are looking for innovative and useful solutions for the future of their businesses. They want to do so by working together with startups and scaleups, henceforth these startups and scaleups have to fit into the industry, product portfolio or growth strategy of our corporate partners. A good first way to check is to ask yourself: does my startup or scaleup already serve customers similar to the weXelerate corporate partners or other stakeholder groups from the weXelerate ecosystem?
2. Honestly analyze the potential of your product. Can you make a difference and add substantial value?
This one is of course closely intertwined with the first point. The weXelerate Startup Team is always looking for interesting solutions and the next big thing for our corporate partners in various fields but the main topic always remains the same. Every participating startup or scaleup in one of our batches is solving a real problem that has real business implications for their very real customers, and they do so successfully with at least some credible traction and presentable success cases, for instance with companies that are comparable to our corporate partners (or maybe even their competitors).
3. Be aware of the use cases your product or the underlying technology can have in other industries. Are there any stakeholders in our ecosystem that are interesting for you?
Some founders often think too narrow and are too tied down in a very specific niche or sub-branch of the industry they are operating in, thus overlooking other potential use cases their product or even the underlying technology could have in other industries, countries, markets, or customer segments. If you don’t have the feeling you are a perfect fit right away, ideate if you wouldn’t see a fit with other corporate partners in our ecosystem – maybe you realize you have a true cross-industry solution!
4. Tackle your weaknesses. Be strict with yourself and your offer, the business model and the differentiation towards the competition.
This all boils down to the one question: Why should your intended customer do business with you? What do you and your startup or scaleup do better than all your competitors? Very thoroughly work out your USP and the actual business benefits with as much back-up in the form of strong cases and real traction as possible and make your application stand out, for instance by dedicating a couple of slides to a specific business case with a corporate partner you want to persuade to pick you, thus showing professionalism, preparedness, and grit.
5. Have a plan. Why are you applying for the weXelerate program? Have a mission when you plan on coming here and make sure it is conveyed by a compelling, professional and trustworthy application!
If you have answers to all the above-mentioned questions, that’s perfect. But make sure what your plans with regards to weXelerate fit your strategy and that you have an idea of how to persuade not just us but especially our corporate partners to be absolutely thrilled to be able to conduct a project with you during weXelerate’s Batch 5 starting in October 2019.
By adhering to all these points you should have a good chance for our upcoming batch. Still, remember that industries are changing quickly, as strategies and the competition do, so even an unsuccessful application hurts, always remember that a no is only a no for now.