6 Tips for Getting into Lisbon Challenge (or any other accelerator)

February 4, 2016


Alright, we all know how difficult it is to get into a top accelerator. You apply with your startup, you wait for the reply and then when the time comes, it’s either the cheer look on your face or the disappointment settling in. And filling in the application plays a major role in this.

So, how can you get the perfect application that will get everybody’s attention? What should you add and emphasize? What’s the “make it or break it” factor? Well, just keep on reading because you’re about to find out.

We get hundreds of applications for Lisbon Challenge and it’s a long and arduous job to go through each one of them. In order to move on to the next phase, you really need to stand out by following these tips:

  1. Team, team, team

I know this might sound a bit of a cliché. Everyone talks about the importance of having a good team but that’s no coincidence. Whenever we go through applications, the team is usually what grabs our attention. Explain exactly what each one of you does, the background, why you’re building this startup together, etc. We definitely value teams that cover the 3 main areas (tech, business and design) so, if you have an engineer, a designer and a business person in your team, you’re on the right track.   

  1. Do your homework

It’s really important that our accelerator matches your startup and your own expectations. For Lisbon Challenge we only take startups that already have a product or prototype and that are looking to grow their business. Take a look at our website and go through our list of alumni startups. Check the program and if you have any question email our Program Director, Bashara Hinnawi, at bashara.hinnawi@beta-i.pt  

  1. Get a recommendation

Most of the selected startups for Lisbon Challenge were referred to us by someone within our network of entrepreneurs and investors. See if you can find someone who has been through Lisbon Challenge before or someone close to Beta-i and ask for a referral.   

  1. Be detailed and know your numbers

Explain your product and business well. If you’re building a complex technical product, take your time to explain it and find a comparison so that it’s easy to understand the importance of your solution. You should also know how to explain your vision and how big the market is. If you already have users, page-views, subscribers or downloads add that information in the application – you gotta know your numbers.

  1. No bullshit (go straight to the point)

Even though you have to be detailed about your product and know your numbers, that doesn’t necessarily mean bullshit. Go straight to the point and answer the questions. If you don’t have numbers to show don’t try to fake it.  

  1. Surprise us – stand out from the crowd

If you want to get noticed you need to stand out from the crowd. Don’t be like everybody else that says they’re gonna get all their users through social media with no further explanations. Think of new channels and mediums that will let your startup shine. Make an effort to do the video properly as it plays a big role in the application phase and is a great opportunity for you to stand out too.

Now that all the tips are here, it’s entirely up to you to get it right. Apply to Lisbon Challenge until this Sunday, February the 7th, and grow your startup from Lisbon to the world.

Not ready for Lisbon Challenge yet but have an idea for a startup? Check out Beta-start, our one month pre-accelerator for you to validate and test your business idea in Lisbon.    

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