Promoting digital enterprise
In June 2015, Telenet announced its revamped accelerator programme, Telenet Kickstart, powered by Idealabs. For this edition, Telenet has once again joined forces with Idealabs in order to promote digital enterprise in Flanders. 25 candidates were retained from the original fully fledged 188 entries. From those 25 the jury selected eight start-ups for the accelerator programme. This means they each receive a financial injection of € 25,000 (seed funding), office space, assistance, and pitch training sessions. Moreover, they could call upon the services of an extensive network of experienced entrepreneurs and 35 mentors from Telenet and partner companies. During this accelerator programme, the start-ups could develop their ideas into an MVP (minimum viable product) ready to be tested extensively on the market.
Four start-ups selected for the growth programme
After an intensive four-month assistance programme, seven start-ups presented themselves as candidates for the growth programme. Academic Labs has decided to develop their project differently and are now occupied with raising funds for research and development. During the final demo day, the jury assessed the start-ups on their progress and ambition to ensure growth in the months ahead. This was done during a final demo day on 4 February at Telenet where each start-up had a last chance to impress a 10-member jury, which included Telenet and Idealabs representatives and experts in marketing, business planning, team management, and start-up investments.
The jury put a strong emphasis on the product development and the business plan, as well as the capacities of the team. They selected four finalists - Cumul.io, Happs, Hey Hey Apps and Spion Kop - who can develop their company further from mid-February to the end of June during the growth programme. During this second phase of the Telenet Kick-start programme, the start-ups will validate their MVP and develop it into a product, reinforce their team, and record the first clients and users. During the five-month programme, a separate aspect of their company will be considered each week, such as marketing, finance, and product management. The entrepreneurs will be supported and challenged every day to continue along the road of accelerated growth. They will each receive financial support of € 50,000 in the form of a convertible loan.
These four start-ups are entering the growth programme:
Cumul.io: Cumul.io plan to do business with their interactive data visualisation platform. The duo from Leuven want to help companies gain insight into their data quickly and easily, without the intervention of IT specialists and without wasting time. ’Cumul.io has a promising business solution with great B2B potential. Moreover, they have a serious and dedicated team. A deserved finalist for the Growth Labs,’ says the jury.
Happs: Happs founder Hannes struggled with dyslexia throughout his school days. Moreover, the uninspiring lesson material which he was served up did little to motivate him. No better reason for Happs to develop an educational adventure game which makes studying more fun. The jury was impressed with the drive and commitment of this team: ‘Happs is a passionately managed project with a social dimension. This young team has made great strides in recent months, and their collaboration with the University College of Ghent opens up some attractive doors to academic support for the game.’
Hey Hey Apps: With Telekitty, Hey Hey Apps has designed a funny and catchy app with international market potential. Here, too, the jury was impressed: ‘Hey Hey Apps is a senior team with experience, huge commitment, and a nice product. And, honestly, the emo factor obviously plays a part. The fun factor and cat themes appeal to everyone.’
Spion Kop: If Spion Kop has any say in the matter, Belgium will be European football champions this year and all the world will be playing fantasy football. In America, fantasy sports play is already a multi-million dollar industry, but Spion Kop felt there was still a gap on the market in terms of football. The jury believes in the market potential of Fantasy Soccer: ‘The international success of fantasy sports confirms Spion Kop’s potential. And the hype around the beta version backs this up: there are already 4,000 applicants on the waiting list. Reason enough to believe in their growth potential.’
The Telenet Kickstart website gives more background information.