Did you know Instagram was originally a location-based social discovery platform? Sounds totally different from what it is today right?
Or did you know that Zomato was initially only an online restaurant directory and didn't do deliveries?
What do Zomato and Instagram have in common?
Did both startups have a great product, to begin with? Nope.
Was their path to success straightforward? Hardly.
Did they have resilient and creative founders who pivoted unapologetically to achieve startup success? YES!
After three years of running the venture builder at build3 (India’s first social impact-focused startup studio) and interacting with numerous startups, we can state with some certainty that an exceptional team with a mediocre idea will achieve better results compared to a mediocre team with a great idea.
It is common to witness teams pivoting from their initial idea after discovering a more compelling or relevant problem to address.
Therefore, when deciding what startup to partner with (especially at the ideation stage), our primary focus should revolve around our belief in the team’s potential for success (skill level and tenacity) and our confidence in our ability and willingness to collaborate effectively with them. (That’s our leap of faith assumption, thank you, Eric Ries :)
So how do we do this? How do we choose founders that are stars and will do whatever it takes to get their idea off the ground?
And finally, how do we shout ‘Avengers Assemble’ and that too in the social impact space?
In comes the build3 impact accelerator (and in full disclosure, if you know about how Antler or Entrepreneur First work in cohorts, this may sound a lot similar, to begin with).
What does the accelerator program look like?
30 startup avengers with complementary skills (all age groups) gather in one beach villa in Goa. The villa is a laboratory to discover impact startup ideas that scale. The Avengers discuss, rip apart, debate, and ideate until they find their golden egg idea. Once they find their golden egg, they race to prove product-market fit and ultimately secure funds to scale their startup. (Kind of sounds like bigg boss but for startups right 😝)
These avengers will be supported by build3 through a guided program power packed with knowledge resources, periodic workshops, events, and check-ins, direct access to some of the industry’s best mentors (a.k.a. build3’s venture partners), stipends during the course of the program and investments across every stage of the startup journey.
Digging deeper, the 5 months of the program are divided as follows -
First 2 months: “ideate” stage — this is where the cohort members meet one another, find their partners in crime, and fine-tune their ideas, getting ready to pitch them to the build3 team. We estimate 10 teams will be formed at this stage of which about 6 will advance to the next stage. Bonus: all cohort members receive a stipend of INR 50,000 per month to meet their expenses in Goa. In return, participants sign an IOU to collectively offer 3% equity in any future company the member is part of via the cohort.
The next 3 months: the “create” stage — is where the race to achieve product—market fit (PMF) heats up. Selected teams receive up to INR 25 lakhs in funding (against about 8% equity) and a timeline of 3 months to rapidly test their leap-of faith assumptions, run experiments, pivot, run better experiments and prove a clear path to market acceptance and profitability (yes, profitability, you read it right 😎). If done so, startup teams get a chance to present their idea in the ultimate stage called the ‘demo day’. We expect about 4 teams to figure out the product market fit and advance to the final showdown.
Last week of the accelerator — the final showdown, the ‘demo day’ is where startups pitch to investors (angels, VCs, and family offices) including build3 and shall receive up to INR 1.5 Crores in funding (against about 10% equity) to scale their idea. And while the accelerator program ends here, we are partners for life. Startups will receive constant support from build3’s venture-building services.
Does this seem exciting? Please visit www.build3.org/accelerator to apply and know more about the program. Our application process is pretty straightforward — a pre-filter short form, followed by a detailed form and two quick interviews.
Need more support before applying? Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject as ‘biA — Queries’ and we will get back to you asap. Need immediate help? Drop a WhatsApp at +91–99256–29000
P.S. Please note that the entire program is completely in-person at Goa and none of its elements have been designed to work remotely. Isn’t there a different charm and a higher probability of success (at least in the early stages of a startup’s journey) while working together in person vs working remotely ;)
IMPORTANT: I'm using Avengers just for the sake of an analogy, I am actually a DC Comics fan 🦸. Suicide Squad sounds too macabre ;)