The “demo day” is often seen as the culmination of the accelerator experience. After three months or so of intense mentoring, the participating entrepreneurs assemble to pitch their super-charged business plans to a room of (hopefully) eager investors. And those who impress have an opportunity to raise enough cash to support the next phase of the growth journey.
But is it really all about the money? According to Andy Shannon, Head of Global at Startupbootcamp, it needn’t be. “We run demo days,” he says. “But we say that people shouldn’t attend primarily to raise funding. Our demo days are more of a celebration.但是，Startupbootcamp全球负责人安迪·沙农（Andy Shannon）称，这并不意味着“展示日”仅仅只和资金筹集有关。他说：“我们举办“展示日”更多的是为了庆祝，人们不应当以资金筹集为主要目的。”
Founded in 2010 in Copenhagen, Startupbootcamp styles itself as a “global family” of industry-themed accelerators. In practice, that means the organisations sets up accelerator programs focused on a specific sectors or technological discipline, ranging from “fintech” and “insurance tech” through to “digital health” and “the internet of things.”
Access To Corporates
As Shannon explains, the purpose of Startupbootcamp is not only to support young,tech-driven companies but also to allow major corporates to tap into sources of innovation and talent that would otherwise sit well outside their radar screen. “All our programmes involve about ten to fifteen corporate partnerships,” he says. “And that tends to be why people join our programmes – they want to gain access to corporate partners.”
And from that perspective, demo day really isn’t about investment. Entrepreneurs who join the programme are probably much more keen on developing relationships that will ultimately enable them to sell products and services within a chosen industry or develop their offering under the umbrella of a large and well funded partner.
As such, Shannon sees defines Startupbootcamp not so much as an accelerator but as a source of “external innovation.”
Location, Location, Location
So what does that offer to tech-driven startups?
Well, the first thing to be said is that the themes chosen by Startupbootcamp for its accelerator programs around the world are to a great extent defined and dictated by the requirements of corporate partners. As Shannon acknowledges, his organisation doesn’t set up accelerators unless there is clear demand from big businesses working in the sector.
Location is also key. For instance, London has played host to programmes themed around “fintech” and “insurance tech” because of the strength of the financial service sector while Berlin and Miami have been among the locations chosen for digital health accelerators for similar reasons.
Shannon stresses that these are international events. “Around 70% of the companies taking part in each accelerator come from outside the chosen locale,” he says. The benefit he adds is that participating businesses get to work in recognized hotspots for their discipline while also working with peers doing similar things but from very different ecosystems. Thus a “fintech” entrepreneur from London works alongside an innovative company from Africa.
Adding Up The Benefits
With each programme lasting around three months, anyone seeking to join a Startupbootcamp cohort probably has to think carefully about the commitment associated with (perhaps) moving to a new locale for close to 100 days. Costs are covered by a 15,000 euro investment in return for a 6% equity stake, but Shannon stresses the importance of demonstrating the value of each programme.
As he sees it, the focus on specific industries, guarantees the quality of the mentoring, simply because all those offering support and advice will be from a relevant industry. And that mentoring, he says, feeds through to long-term partnerships.
“I would say a programme has been successful when a company walks away with maybe three to five key advisers who will work with them in the future,” he says. “We are all about the mentoring and that is a key deliverable.” And with the right partner, the company may not have to go into a funding round.
With 14 programmes running in Europe, Asia, the Americas, Shannon believes that Startupbootcamp’s model is solving a problem for some of the world’s biggest companies. “They often have immense problems working with innovation,” he says. Accelerators of this type, he believes builds a bridge between the innovation culture of startups and corporates who need to adapt to a world characterised by disruptive, tech-driven change.