On this side of the pond, Y Combinator and TechStars might leap to mind when thinking about technology startup accelerators, but exciting things are happening in the UK as well. The 2012 Olympics isn’t the only event taking place on the emerald isle worth watching this year. As Britain amps up for the summer games, Birmingham is accepting applications for the fall Oxygen Accelerator.
Like many programs looking to help early stage tech companies, Oxygen Accelerator provides a combination of mentorship and pre-seed capital. Here’s a look at how this accelerator might help startups a little differently in her majesty’s realm. Keep in mind, Oxygen Accelerator is open to companies from around the world.
What might stand out immediately is the length of this program. The bootcamp is divided into two segments. The first focuses on 13 weeks of intense mentorship. Another 13 week period of incubation follows, preparing teams to make their pitches to potential angel investors and VC firms. 10 teams will be selected to participate in this year’s cycle. Oxygen Accelerator looks for companies working in the following areas:
- Social Media
- Data Analysis
- Developer Tools
The Funding Breakdown
Participating companies are eligible for up to €41,000 of pre-seed funding. Teams may have up to 3 founders, and each founder may collect up to €7,500. Companies may also benefit from a €6k re-location allowance. This brings the total of founder funding available to €28,500 in exchange for 8% equity.
This year, Oxygen Accelerator has introduced an additional €12, 500 during the incubation phase for an extra 2% of equity. No matter what currency you trade in or location you launch your startup, that’s solid backing. What can this kind of financial support mean to a company?
5 of Oxygen Accelerator’s 2011 startups have either secured or appear close to locking in first round investments between €100,000 to €300,000. Less than a year out from graduation, these companies’ values have dashed like hungry, first time olympians to sums around €500,000 to €1 million each.
The bucks (or Pounds or Euros) always come in handy, but everyone knows money alone is no guarantee of success. Young companies need guidance and support. Oxygen Accelerator has over 110 mentors signed on for this year’s program, providing tutelage in many areas of expertise. The experience promises to be long and intense, but quite rewarding. With excellent training on the line, it’s hardly a surprise that competition to join Oxygen Accelerator is tremendous. A month out from the July 31st deadline, over 50 applications have already been submitted for a chance to fill one of ten spaces.
Like world class athletes, tech startups often need abundant support early if they’ll one day bring home the gold. The numbers suggest that it pays to not rush acceleration and provide a lengthy incubation period. We’ll of course have to wait to see who’ll emerge as the 2012 budding champions. Entrepreneurs not in the mood to wait for the torch lighting ceremony, may want to investigate these 9 companies from Oxygen Accelerator’s 2011 class:
And startups interested in applying for the upcoming Oxygen Accelerator class should get a move on. The deadline is July 31, 2012.