Scrapping batches was one of our primary concerns when we started our new accelerator program. We, as APX, asked ourselves continuously: “how can we make things even more founder-friendly?”. Moving to a rolling system was one of the first structural decisions that we made.
Indeed, one of the main things that we learned from our sister company ASPnP, and that we wanted to do differently, was our admission system. Previously, Axel Springer Plug and Play adopted a “batch system”. This means that they accepted startups only at specific times during the year. Thus, startups began their program all together like a school year and attended a rigorous schedule full of classes and milestone meetings. While such an approach ensured the creation of synergies and eased the scheduling of important workshops for the accelerator, we noticed that such a strict schedule reduced the flexibility for our future startups. We believe that a rolling system is the future of acceleration programs because in the end, it is not about us but it is all about the founders.
Having a rolling system ensures maximum flexibility for our startups. They can start whenever they think they are ready for the accelerator program. Today, interested founders do not have to wait for another 6 months just because they lacked 2 weeks of additional work in order to be eligible for a batch that they missed the boat on. At the same time, we are convinced that such a change will also benefit our selection process and we can accept high potential startups that we could not have targeted before. We expect that the quality of our overall selection will increase even further, as we can spend more time with each application since the selection process is not happening at a condensed point of time.
Jörg, the General Manager of the new accelerator program, confirms: “We noticed that you fall into daily routines when you work with a batch system. Also, the selection of startups gets qualitatively better because not everything is crunched in a tight time frame. And, of course, sometimes the strict schedule is simply not suitable for our founders.”
We have already changed our admission system and can accommodate startups on a rolling basis. Feedback from our portfolio companies confirms that it was the right decision to do. Jonas, co-founder of Flowletics states: “This is an important change and I am sure that many future startups will benefit from it. Not many accelerators are offering something similar.” Indeed, the third startup, Streetkickers, from the APX has already benefited from this decision and started the program at the beginning of April.