Q: What is an accelerator?
Q: Will your ideas get stolen?
Not by us! We aren’t in the business of stealing ideas. The best way to protect yourself is by being better than anyone else. You may also want to look into trademarking and copyrighting your intellectual property with your lawyer. If you’re accepted, we’ll try our best to make that happen. One of the reasons we take 8% ownership in your company is so that we’ll be partners, and we want you and your company to excel.
Q: Should You apply?
If you’re in tech, have got a great early-stage startup, a great team and you think you can benefit greatly from what the GP Accelerator has to offer (Seed Funding, Office Space, Mentorship, Access to Investors, and more…), then sure, you should definitely apply!
Q: Is this only for startups in Bangladesh?
The GP Accelerator will only accept companies registered in Bangladesh.
Q: Can we help you register your company?
You should consult your own legal advisors for this. [do we have someone we can tell them to talk to?]
Q: You are in idea stage, should You apply? What kind of people should apply?
Ideally, the GP Accelerator accepts tech startups that already have something to show/ demonstrate. This is ideal because then you are in a position to best take advantage of the resources the program provides. Ideas are hard to accelerate. But if you have a minimum viable product, a prototype, or some low traction and users, or even any of that in development, it’s better suited to take advantage and accelerate growth. Of course, exceptions are always there for the exceptional.
Q: What is the Selection Process for the GP Accelerator program?
There are three rounds of filtration of applications. After the application submission deadline, we’ll sort through all the applications based on how well we think your startup will be able to benefit from accelerator resources, your team’s ability to execute, and the strength of the business. Next, we’ll invite teams to pitch in front us, we’ll have in-person interviews and see if you can sell us on your story. Final Round will be when we select the final five, and here, we’ll also have in-person pitches and see who has the most potential us the most based on a holistic evaluation.
Q: Is there a minimum team size? A maximum?
There is a minimum team size of two co-founders. The maximum number of people from your team that can work from GP House is four. At least one co-founder needs to be working full-time for your company to be eligible for the GP Accelerator program.
Q: What’s the curriculum all about? Is it any good? What am I going to learn?
After joining, we’ll go through an orientation and get to know you, and have you get to know us. You’ll match yourselves with relevant mentors. And for the next few months we’ll go through intensive modules in Customer Identification and Development, Product Development, Sales & Marketing, Customer Validation, Operations & Execution, Legal & Finance, and more. Depending on your strengths and weaknesses, we’ll focus and curate the intensity of the curriculum.
Q: Can you work 24/7?
You can work at GP House from 8am to 8pm everyday, except Friday. You can work anywhere else outside GP House for however long you want! But the GP Accelerator team officially runs from 9am - 5pm. They may well work longer, but they’re not obligated to.
Q: Do You have to show up everyday and work at GP House?
You are expected to participate fully and be fully engaged in the GP Accelerator program. That means being primarily based out of GP House for the duration of the program. You’ll benefit greatly from interacting with the team, the other startups, visiting mentors and the Grameenphone infrastructure. That being said, it’s your company and your responsibility, so manage your time accordingly. To be fair to the other teams, we can’t hold up the program if you aren’t fully participating.
Q: How do You access the GP House? Can You bring guests in? Can You have meetings with outside people?
If you are selected to enter the GP Accelerator, you will be given an access card to allow you entry. It’s valid for your 4-month batch during working hours. You cannot bring in guests, but can request business-related guests to be brought in for meetings. You can book meetings with the help of the GP Accelerator admin team.
Q: Do You have to pay rent?
Not for your space at GP House for the 4 months you’re working there during the program.
Q: Do you get transport? Do you get food? Do you get a computer?
There are no separate allowances for transport, conveyance, hardware, etc. Lunch at the Grameenphone cafeteria is included with the program and will be provided for the duration of the program for your participating team members (up to four members).
Q: What is Grameenphone’s involvement? Do they own your company? Will your services be exclusive to them?
By entering the GP Accelerator, 8% ownership in your company is reserved for Grameenphone and SD Asia for being a part of the program. It’s your company. You run it, operate it, reap the rewards and the losses. You make deals with whomever you like. You are not exclusive to Grameenphone. The intention isn’t to eat up your company, but to help build it. If Grameenphone and SD Asia’s brand value can help with that, well, great.
Q: Can you get kicked out of the GP Accelerator
Unless you’re involved in criminal activity or actively uncooperative and disrespectful to the people around you and your environment, you should be fine. The GP Accelerator reserves the right to ask you politely to step out if there is a breach of codes of conduct or values. You also cannot be a part of any other accelerator programs at the same time, just due to conflict of interest.
SEED MONEY, EQUITY & INVESTORS
Q: When do you get the money? Are there restrictions on spending it?
Teams accepted into the GP Accelerator get twelve (12) lakh taka in seed funding, given in two (2) installments. On acceptance into the program (and submission of the required documents), you get half deposited into your registered Bangladeshi company bank account. After graduating through Demo Day by successfully pitching your company, you get the rest. You can spend the money on your company as you see fit, but we hope to guide you through this process on how to best spend for your company. The purpose of the money is to help build your company.
Q: How much equity do you have to give up?
GP and SD Asia will not take more than ten percent (8%) ownership in your company. This means we can only take a total of 8% stock in your company.
Q: What do we mean you take equity? Like you take stocks? But I’m a private company?
We take up to eight percent (8%) ownership into your company. We do this by buying the shares from your company with the seed funding we give you.
Q: If you don’t give up equity, can you still be a part of the GP Accelerator?
Q: What’s Demo Day? Who comes? What happens?
Demo Day is an invite-only event at the end of your 4-months at the GP Accelerator that is geared toward deal-making. You’ll pitch your startup to a room full of potential investors, customers, partners and others that can potentially increase your business. This is your opportunity to hustle. Nothing guaranteed. Like we said, it’s your company, and you can make a deal with whomever you like, and it’s on you to close the deals. We won’t close them for you.
Q: During Demo Day, can you accept offers other than Grameenphone and SD Asia?
Yes, we would encourage it, we want your company to succeed. There are no restrictions put on you to who you can deal with. Remember, it’s your company. Even if they take equity, neither Grameenphone nor SD Asia, dictates the direction of your company, or who you think can help take it to the next level. Grameenphone and SD Asia can participate like any other investor, meaning your company can choose to take further investment from them or not.
Q: Does anyone have the first-right-of-refusal for investing in my company once I graduate or at Demo Day?
Nope. As a founder-friendly accelerator, there are no limits set on you. It’s your company. Only 8% is reserved for being a part of the program.
Q: Do you only meet investors at Demo Day, or do you get earlier access to them?
Some investors may be mentors, and some investors will stop in, have a chat, or lead sessions during the 4-month program. So, yeah, you’ll meet investors before Demo Day. This helps you build relationships and allows you to get to know one another before Demo Day.
Q: Can you take investment before Demo Day?
Sure you can. It’s your company. If you think that benefits you, you can. Only 8% is reserved for being a part of the program. The rest is up to you.
Q: Are you guaranteed investment at Demo Day?
No. We are here to provide the resources to help you build your company. We aren’t going to build it for you. It’s up to you how far you want to go with the benefits the GP Accelerator provides.
Q: You have more questions that aren’t addressed here - where can you ask them?