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Working with mature startups – #PolandPrizepoweredbyHugeThing Case Study

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Working with mature startups – #PolandPrizepoweredbyHugeThing Case Study

Marta Janczewska-Bażak
Communication specialist with a soft spot for startups. And in free time - big healthy lifestyle freak.

The 6th edition of Huge Thing acceleration program is already behind us. Even though we run few accelerations before, had some amazing program partners and inspiring startups, this was the first edition of the Poland Prize powered by Huge Thing initiative. The entire objective of the Poland Prize program is to bring foreign startups to Poland and help them grow and expand not only to Poland but also beyond. To achieve this goal we partnered with global brands such as Santander Bank Polska and Procter and Gamble. But to make the most out of the 16 weeks that we had, we’ve decided to focus on more mature startups. We wanted to support companies on a few different levels. That’s why besides the corporate partners, equity free financial grant and complex mentoring, we also partnered with SpeedUp Venture Capital Group and facilitated speed dating with other VCs.  

Those past few months were intense but we learnt a lot. Working with mature startups from all over the world, from a few different verticals can be challenging. Every startup has its own needs, own goals and structure. Some of our startups employed 5 people and some more than 30. Some came from Belarus and some from Brasil. But all of them wanted to use our program to try it out on the Polish market and they were committed to do so. 

We can’t say what the exact results are yet, because we still have 3 months of post-acceleration ahead of us. But the progress and the hard work we already saw impressed us. 

The only true difference between working with foreign and local startups is that when a company commits some of their resources to go to another country for a limited amount of time and with a specific goal in mind, they are there to do this one job, and that’s their main focus. 

Working with more mature startups, which already have a product and first customers is definitely different, than with those who are just starting or finishing their MVP.  They’re more focused on finding new clients, getting to the new market or finalizing the next funding round than on workshops. They’re looking for more specific knowledge. Preferably even personalized one. 

Does is mean that maybe they’re too mature for an accelerator? Some may be, but the main issue is how the program is prepared and fitted to their needs. And a program addressed to mature startups needs to be more focused on working with partners, meeting with potential investors and one on one consultations with experts. 

More mature startups may require a different approach but they also can contribute a lot to the program. They can share their expertise and lessons learnt. In our case – working with companies from different parts of the word also creates a unique possibility of partnering and expanding to different markets more easily. Startups which already operate in other regions and have consistent clients there also have a greater chance of succeeding. They’ve already proven their solution and they’ve already had their first implementations. They’re more stable and reliable.