Meanwhile, we are talking with Magdalena Kwoska – the project leader of the PwC Startup Collider program - about the behind-the-scenes of the acceleration realized under the wings of one of the most recognizable companies in the world.
M.K. The range of PwC's activities is very wide. This is why this time, we are no longer limited only to the fintech sector - we are looking for startups developing technologies in many fields, including Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine learning, Customer Experience (e. g. CRM, project management tools), cybersecurity, Digital Tax / Tax Automation. However, we are open to all interesting and innovative solutions that would be the answer to the challenges and technological needs of the companies cooperating with PwC. It is important that the startups that will apply for the program have their product developed and ready to be launched.
M.K. In fact, startups from all over the world, which would like to develop their activities in the CEE region, are welcome to join the program. They may well be teams from Romania or Ukraine as well as from Australia and Cambodia. Indeed, we are primarily focused on startups from Central and Eastern Europe because in this region we can provide them with real support in establishing cooperation with PwC’s clients. The next step is the development of business in other markets. Therefore, the program will be of particular interest to companies that already operate in the CEE sector. However, we are also open to cooperation with startups from faraway corners of the world, which plan to expand in our part of Europe and develop interesting innovative technologies, which together we will be able to present to our clients.
M.K. First of all, it is worth noting, the scale effect, which is characteristic of the PwC's startup acceleration program. PwC is one of the strongest global brands, present in 157 countries worldwide. In Central and Eastern Europe alone, PwC has several thousand clients. They are also potentially several thousand recipients of the technologies developed by startups undergoing acceleration under the Startup Collider program. Our customers eagerly await startups that are recommended by us and their technologies. Solutions developed by the participants of the Startup Collider program will be implemented as part of PwC services in Central and Eastern Europe, and thanks to PwC's global position they can gain new clients all over the world. The support of PwC's mentors and experts as well as the possibility of international networking is also important. In addition to PwC's unique acceleration methodology, what distinguishes Startup Collider is the international character of the program and its openness to accelerate startups from various industries and areas of specialization, as well as the lack of connection with government programs that could impose formal restrictions on the functioning of the program. It is also worth noting that Startup Collider is implemented in the non-equity formula.
M.K. After closing the application to the program, which will take place on December 10th 2017, we start the selection stage. By 15th January we will select the 15 most interesting and promising companies that we will invite to further cooperation. However, this does not mean that we forget those whose applications have not qualified for our Top 15. We remain in touch with each startup which applies to our program until today.
The annual cycle of the Startup Collider program starts with the 3-month bootcamp acceleration stage which consists of 4 weekly sprints in Warsaw and set of remote activities. From January 29th 2018, young entrepreneurs will meet with PwC experts and various business units to gather as much information as possible. The workshop phase will be enriched by Demo Day planned for April 2018 in front of investors and potential clients.
After such an extensive acceleration program, selected startups go to a 6- or 9-month market entry stage, during which PwC will support them in finalizing the concept and first sale. We know from experience that this can happen even one month after entering the market. The teams will be supervised and supported by a dedicated mentor who is a PwC’s expert in the industry where the startup will operate.
In addition to the possibility of acquiring professional knowledge, for startups, it will be a time of intense networking with various groups of the environment - both from Poland and from abroad. After all, building business relationships is also one of the factors that can contribute to the market success of startups.