As we gear up for our next accelerator programme I thought it would be useful to write about what happens during the programme and what start-ups can expect to get out of it.
First Week – Understanding Their Vision
In the first week we go through why the founders have chosen to start their particular business and what they want their companies to look like in the short and long term. We want to be sure that not only do the entrepreneurs have a clear understanding of what gets them out of bed every morning, and what will pull them through the tough times that they will inevitably face, but also who they are selling to, why their products are needed and why they don’t exist already. This prepares the companies for the sessions in the weeks to come.
Second Week – Mentor Sessions
The second week gives the companies a chance to describe their businesses and business challenges to seasoned entrepreneurs, investors, and potential customers from the property industry. This initial feedback is invaluable as the companies build and refine their business model and product. The Pi Labs accelerator is supported by an incredible, and ever growing, group of mentors that are interested in proptech and love working with our companies.
“Pi Labs has been truly fantastic. The program gave us breathing space to build our product and develop our business in the perfect environment. The openness and support of the partner companies has been incredible. We’ve been introduced to a huge range of relevant companies that otherwise would have taken us months to forge relationships with. The mentors brought in are top level CEOs that we’ve remained in constant contact with and have offered the kind of knowledge you only get through years/ often decades of experience. The combination of these things truly has accelerated our business.”
Jonny Britton, Land Insight
Weeks Three to Twelve – Workshops, Speakers and Goal Setting
After the second week we jump into our standard programme schedule. Each week we bring in experts to host workshops on topics like marketing, building a sales team, pricing, user testing, development, and current property market conditions to name a few. We also bring in seasoned entrepreneurs once a week, and over food and drinks, they talk about their challenges and successes as an entrepreneur.
Every Friday the Pi Labs team catches up with each accelerator company individually and helps them set weekly goals, checks back on the last week’s goals, and discusses current challenges faced and introductions required. Following these meetings we schedule in additional mentor sessions or make ad-hoc introductions to relevant property professionals.
Week 13 – Demo Day
The last few weeks of the programme are dedicated to ensuring the companies’ investment materials are in order and practicing for demo day; which, is held on the second last day of the programme. On demo day we bring together mentors, investors (both VCs and Angels ) and give them a chance to listen to the teams pitch and chat with the teams casually after the formal presentations.
“Starting a new business is an intense challenge which takes more than good team, hard work and reading the Lean startup book. You also need the right partners and a bit of luck. At Office R&D, we had the chance to find the right investor and partner. Pi Labs gave us everything that a starting business might need – from the initial steps of relocating to the U.K. to incredible amount of introductions and thoughtful mentorship. For 3 months we had the opportunity to meet with huge range of experienced executives, mentors, partners, potential customers and like-minded entrepreneurs. This not just helped us but truly shaped our product, solution and us as entrepreneurs.”
Miroslav Miroslavov, OfficeR&D
What should a company expect out of the Pi Labs programme?
Product Feedback and User Testing
The mentor sessions and introductions we make throughout the programme give the start-ups a chance to speak with their potential customers to get feedback and ensure that they are both targeting the right segment and building the right features. Some of these sessions and ad-hoc introductions also lead to user testing.
We take the time to get to know the entrepreneurs and their companies in great detail so that we can bring in the right mentors at the right time. We have created a general programme to ensure the companies hear from mentors specialising in all areas of business but we also tailor some of the sessions to the companies in the cohort. Whatever your challenge, we have a mentor for that. In addition, the Pi Labs team has extensive experience across the property, technology and investment industries and draws on both its expertise and network to provide daily support to the start-ups.
We work intensively with the companies to ensure that their financials, pitch decks, and executive summaries are complete, concise and make sense. We also help them understand the current investment conditions and are a sounding board as the companies go through their investment rounds.
When a company joins the Pi Labs accelerator programme they become part of the Pi Labs family. We celebrate successes and go through their challenges with them. We have seen how this support helps speed up the start-ups’ growth and we look forward to expanding our portfolio and working with more great companies. We are still accepting applications for our fourth accelerator programme so apply now if you are a proptech start-up looking to accelerator your business. We look forward to hearing about the innovative ideas that are set to change the property industry.