Application Tips: Question-by-question

If you’re curious about what the Techstars program team wants to see from founders in their accelerator applications, look no further! 

I’ve put together this guide to share tips and suggestions on each question that’s included within the official Techstars application form on F6S.

We look for companies that are actively seeking out opportunities to work closely with me (as Managing Director), and also with the Techstars Berlin program mentors and alumni. We also like companies that are looking to set a foothold in Berlin and leverage its status as a gateway to the rest of Europe.

Here are the questions we ask in the initial application

PRO-TIP: As you answer the questions, think about the way you’re communicating how you’ve de-risked your startup.

Please describe your company and the problem you’re solving in 280 characters.
I’m looking for two things here:
1) Can you articulate your company’s value proposition clearly? This is the tweet-length elevator pitch.
2) Can you explain what problem really exists here?

How is your solution uniquely addressing this problem?
I’m looking for a plain English explanation here, and you get bonus points if you quote your customers here.

How will your company change the world? What is the big picture and vision?
I want you think big, here.

Please explain why your team is uniquely qualified to solve this problem. How long have you been working together and how did the co-founders meet? Is there someone on your team building your technology?
This is where I need to figure out whether you’re really a team, and if you’ll stay that way for a while.

List if each founder is working on this full-time or part-time so we can better understand your resource allocation to this point. If accepted into the program, can all founders attend the accelerator in person full-time?|
Pretty easy, I hope!

Please provide your revenue/customer/user growth KPIs or metrics. Include totals and month-over-month growth for the last six months. If your product is not yet in the market, how are you tracking progress – ie. LOIs/MOUs, waitlist sign-ups, or other indicators of early market demand?

How do you plan to acquire customers/users?
I’m looking for a few sentences that convince me you’re doing three things:
1) You are continuously talking to potential customers
2) You have a detailed understanding of the customer journey
3) You have an understanding of what the customer lifetime value (CLV) could look like.

If you have applied to Techstars before, what’s changed since your last application? Please type “N/A” if you have not previously applied.
Companies rarely get in to a Techstars accelerator on their first try – they usually have to apply a few times (and grow along the way). We want to know what changes you’ve actively made, what you’ve learned and why you’re more credible now.

Please explain any capital raised to date and terms:
Please list all shareholders (including founders, employees and investors) of the company that own at least 5% equity, including their title and percentage:
We really do need to know if you’ve raised money already, how much you’ve raised, how much equity is retained by the founding team, and which angel investors/VCs have already joined you on your journey. It matters, a lot, because it goes to the heart of being an entrepreneur. If you don’t own the vast majority of your company, or if the founding team doesn’t have a controlling stake in the company, you are incredibly likely to have misaligned incentives.

What is your monthly burn and how much runway do you have?
This usually gives us a great indication of where your company’s priorities lie. I rarely invest in companies with under 6 months runway left (even if you include the capital I’m investing).

Please list names and websites of 3-5 of your competitors:
If you don’t have any current direct competitors, just explain how people currently solve the problem.

Are you based or do you conduct any business activities in the following countries; Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba or Crimea?
If the answer is yes, we can’t work together.