It’s upon us, the final week of The Lisbon Challenge Spring 2015 edition and the 3-month accelerator program has progressed rapidly. From my vantage point as a coach and a mentor, I’d say that this edition went even faster than the previous! The focus and intensity of the teams has been non-stop! This week will be jammed with preparation for the final pitch at The Lisbon Investment Summit on June 4th and 5th as well as working aggressively on products, websites and overall preparation for more visibility for each startup.
I have had the pleasure of being involved in all 4 editions of The Lisbon Challenge, the first two as a mentor and the last two as a coach and mentor. Coaching digs in much deeper and you work with teams on a weekly basis, so you really see their direction and progress and can have a big impact in areas. It’s a great opportunity and it certainly is rewarding.
And each Lisbon Challenge edition has it’s own vibe. It’s all group dynamics in the end, but I can see how the program has grown and as much as the Lisbon Challenge/Beta-i program team does not ‘babysit’, the expectations do keep rising both from the teams that apply and the results throughout the program.
Technically there is no ‘winner’ in this edition of The Lisbon Challenge, but there are ‘perks’ that will be awarded at #LIS that have a monetary value. But really, each team that is accepted and goes through the entire program is a winner. They win a wider network of contacts including a long list of instructors, coaches, mentors, speakers, investors and other guests, they gain 3 months of focus on their product or service and often go through some level of rebranding, pivoting or new direction. Most teams also make serious progress and solve a lot of business problems (often specific to recruitment and rebuilding).
Accelerator programs are not intended to be easy and The Lisbon Challenge teams have been working as Beta-I as they expand their office space and take on a much bigger role for their operations which is involved in a wide range of projects, events and programs. The Lisbon Challenge has also become a very internationally known accelerator program and the number of applications per edition is impressive.
So, with days to go before the startups find themselves on the #LIS stage, here are a few words of encouragement for the member of each startup team;
- You made it this far, so stay focused on your key milestones.
- Get your feet on the street and continue to sell and get users.
- You now have a much larger network, remember to use it and use it wisely.
- You earned bragging rights for being a Lisbon Challenge alumni. Keep in touch, share your journey and brag where it makes sense!
- Tweet, retweet and share your news on TWITTER!
- Remember that most investors are looking at momentum, management team, market size and money.
And lastly, since we all know that startups have a high failure rate, ‘It’s more important to fail at something that matters than to succeed at something that doesn’t’.
Happy pitching teams!