Michelle HammondFollow on twitter www.startupsmart.com.au
Two Aussie start-ups among 15 finalists for Amsterdam boot camp
Australian start-ups 7Write and Revirda will be put through their paces when they arrive in Amsterdam this week, after being chosen as two of 15 finalists for Startupbootcamp Amsterdam.
The Startupbootcamp program, founded by Patrick de Zeeuw and Ruud Hendriks, offers start-ups the chance to work with a large network of mentors over a three-month period.
Start-ups also receive seed funding and office space. At the end of the program, they present their businesses to some 350 local and international investors.
In addition to Amsterdam, the program runs in Berlin, Dublin, London, Copenhagen and Haifa. Only eight to 10 start-ups can participate in each program, so the stakes are high.
Start-ups from around the world were encouraged to apply for the 2013 Amsterdam program, and the applicant pool has been whittled down to just 15 finalists.
This includes Australian start-ups 7write and Revirda.
7write describes itself as the world leader in writing software. It helps writers research, develop, write and self-publish eBooks for the likes of Kindle and Apple’s iBookstore.
Revirda, meanwhile, is a driver intelligence system, which “puts taxi drivers in the right place at the right time”. It helps drivers secure more pickups, improves occupancy and increases incomes.
Chief executive Dwight Gunning told StartupSmart the company was “a little surprised” to be chosen as one of the 15 finalists because there were more than 400 applicants.
But he says Revirda is feeling confident.
“We’re confident our product solves an important problem, with potential for rapid growth in a global market, but accelerator programs like SBC are always really tough to get into,” he says.
“The selection process began with a web-based application, including video recordings of our pitch and an introduction to the team.
“Next we were invited to a 30-minute meeting where we gave a live pitch and discussed our business model and traction with the organisers and a handful of mentors.
“From there we were asked to keep in touch and report back on any interesting progress we’d made.
“I think this focus on moving fast and hitting milestones was the most challenging part of the selection process.”
While 7write could not be reached for comment, it recently revealed to StartupSmart it has also been selected as a finalist for Amsterdam-based start-up accelerator Rockstart and Hawaii-based accelerator Blue Startups.
Both 7write and Revirda have been invited to attend a two-day event in Amsterdam, where they will take part in the final selection days for Startupbootcamp Amsterdam 2013.
The event will take place at the Startupbootcamp headquarters. There, the teams will present to approximately 70 of the program’s 150 mentors.
The mentors will assess the participants on a range of criteria including leadership skills, business concept, scalability, product and market potential, and fundability.
The mentors’ evaluations will be implemented in a real-time analysis tool called Startbooster, which will be used for the final selection of participants.
7write and Revirda will join 13 other start-ups from the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, France, Greece, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, Ukraine and the Czech Republic.
However, none of these start-ups are going in cold. Over the last four months, they have all presented to de Zeeuw and about 20 Startupbootcamp mentors.
“After the success of last year’s program in Amsterdam, we have again raised the bar for ourselves,” de Zeeuw said in a statement.
“We are also very pleased with the level of the participating start-ups and with the enormous commitment of our mentors.”
According to de Zeeuw, it will be a “real challenge” to make the final selection for this year’s program. But even those who aren’t selected will benefit, he said.
“For all 15 participating start-ups, the selection days will be a very valuable experience. They will be inspired and advised on many different levels and topics,” de Zeeuw said.
“Nick Hawtin, a highly successful international start-up mentor, will give keynotes to the mentors and start-ups.”
Startupbootcamp has also launched an initiative called Global Open Pitch Days in a bid to find and advise the best start-ups from around the world.