The Huge Thing acceleration program celebrates its 6th birthday this year. During these 6 years and 5 editions we have supported 54 startups. From the very beginning, we knew that the main value of the acceleration program are the mentors – participants surely agree with that. It is reflected in our motto that says ‘Huge Thing is about mentoring’.
By observing startups for several editions and listening to their needs, we created our own acceleration program. It took us some time to understand that it is impossible to please everyone, which is why we focused on a very individual approach to the program from each of the participants. We skipped the group workshops to replace it with 1 on 1 sessions. The teams draw a lot more from such individual meetings, they can focus only on their project.
The fifth edition of the program focuses mainly on individual sessions and work on a project with a tutor assigned to the startup. At the beginning of edition, during Match Day, both startups and tutors could choose who they want to work with until the end of the program. In addition to the necessary mentoring, the program provides startups with access to potential partners and investors, including 12 investors for Speed Dating, during which startups could establish the first relationship with the funds at 20-minutes-long “quick dates”.
We also noticed that startups that come to the program often do not realize how much work is ahead of them. We start on every Monday in the morning with a status – it’s a time when startups can show the output of their work. They participate in workshops four days a week, work on their project individually with mentors, tutors and tutors from Alior Bank. It happens that after a dozen or so mentoring sessions a week, the teams have the impression of over-mentoring and here the role of the tutor comes to help the team to navigate between the collected (often contradictory!) feedback.
We also wanted the startups in our program to think about their product globally, that’s why from the fourth edition we organize trips to the two largest startup hubs in Europe – London and Berlin, to establish the first business relationships, test reactions to their product in the markets and learn about the opportunities offered by these two markets.
We also see how the attitude of startups changes during the program. They often come with their heads raised high, hoping that we will tap them on the back but we do not. And we will not. Startups quickly get down to the ground and really work hard on their solutions. It is impossible not to notice how their product matures during the 4 months spent in Huge Thing. We believe that by arming participants with knowledge and a tool that allows them to build a successful business, we support founders to become smart entrepreneurs who build strong teams.
An important aspect is that there are also teams from abroad in our program. It has tangible values, both linguistic and cultural – startups can benefit from the experience of others acquired in different cultural zones. It is also scientifically proven that creativity is one of the most valuable advantages of working in an international company. A big plus – probably none of us can imagine a startup that would not be creative.
In addition, corporations are our partner since the third edition. So far – Aviva and Alior Bank. During the third edition that we shared with Aviva that we learned how to map the corporation’s needs, and also understood that corporation employees should also be prepared to work with startups. Cooperation with large entrepreneurs has taught us, above all, mapping the needs of corporations and preparing employees of a large enterprise to work with startups. Work with Alior Bank taught us, among others, how to streamline the business risk verification process.
Our goal is to help teams deal with large entrepreneurs and connect them with each other. We can safely say that we are a kind of bridge between them. Our help and commitment is appreciated, this year Alior Bank during the Open Innovation Award was awarded for cooperation with the Huge Thing acceleration program.
More about program: www.hugething.vc