The Startup Reykjavik saga continues. Arion Bank‘s accelerator program, Startup Reykjavik which was established in 2012, will be held from June – August this year. We have now chosen the ten participating teams for the summer. We will present them in the next few days. As in previous years, the diversity of the teams is great, ranging from food, software, hardware to gaming. Although the number of applications was down from the previous year, we did not see that affecting the quality of the application / teams. That essentially tells me two things:
- Those „infected“ with the entrepreneur virus still look for an accelerator program to speed up business and product development.
- The number of teams applying has some relation to macroeconomic factors. The Icelandic economy is doing well and it is easy to be employed, meaning that people turn less to develop their own companies at this stage in the economy cycle.
Furthermore, what positively surprised me as was how many 35+ years individuals applied this year. We have seen in recent years that the older the teams are in age, the likelihood of success increases. There is hardly any rock hard science behind this. Seasoned teams already have more experience, they are more likely to have developed their idea based on need or solving a problem they have had to deal with, and have more to lose if the business goes sour. In other words, they persevere longer. They also tend to have developed their idea somewhat longer/further before applying to Startup Reykjavik.
It has long been my opinion that well developed ideas, or even already-revenue-generating businesses will benefit the most from participating in an accelerator rather than business ideas that are in their infancy. The mentor driven accelerator model increases the value in companies by a significant multitude. Yet, rather than guiding people in their earliest stages, mentors can provide much greater value once the business is up and running. It is not only logical, but practical. Fully functional and developed teams have run into their first problems. It is the second or third round of problems that are usually the most difficult, whether it‘s fine-tuning the market entrance / maintenance, dealing with logistics / supply chain, internal / team problems, or adjusting the business model, etc. These teams are dealing with reality, not concepts or strategy in Powerpoint, tweaking the code or modifying the back end or front end for the first time.
To me, this is yet another proof that Startup Reykjavik delivers value to all stakeholders, and I look forward to getting to know ten interesting startups this summer.