Recruitment to our program ends always, as the year is about to finish. This time, recruitment lasted until midnight 18th December 2019 and a minute later, the application form was active no more. At that very moment, we entered the pre-selection phase.
Konrad Ozdowy, in charge of coordination of the Startup Collider program, tells us: “First we calculated how many applications we received, and divided them by fields of innovation. We also took a close look at the startups’ countries of origin and once again we saw that our CEE-based program attracts not only regional or European startups, but a lot of innovators from every corner of our planet. It fills us with pride that what we do has a global impact and is truly appreciated by the worldwide innovation ecosystem.”
Back to the analyses. All in all, we received as many as 252 applications this year. That is 77 more than the year before! And what we saw was so brilliant that 119 applications were approved to phase two – proper analysis. The ones we did not choose were not necessarily bad – it’s just that every year we are looking for specific solutions and we focus on different fields. Startups that did not make it to the 2nd phase should not worry, but wait until next year and apply again.
“We scout closely the markets where PwC’s clients are active. We listen carefully to our clients and observe market dynamics which are changing these days faster than ever. That’s how we ensure that, when all is said and done, during Demo Day pitching, there will be real demand for what startups show to CEE and global investors, our clients and our partners,” explains Michał Kreczmar, Director of Digital Transformation Advisory and one of the program’s mentors. “Next year the areas of innovation or specific types of solutions will once again be different. If you didn’t apply this time or you haven’t succeeded in this year’s edition, nothing is lost. You have extra time to work on your ideas, time you can devote to personal and professional growth, maybe even time to pivot – who knows?”
As we have mentioned before, 119 startups were accepted to the phase that is now taking place. They come from 28 countries: Albania, Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the UK and the US. Only half of these countries are in Central and Eastern Europe…
The first step we had to undertake to make sure our work was thorough and precise, was to assign individual startups to our internal lines of services, as we call our departments. These include of course Capital Markets and Accounting Advisory, Retail and Consumer Products, Financial Services, Tax and Legal, and even Robotics. Within these lines of services, our best experts divided into two separate, independent teams analyze the applications. This division serves as guarantee that all decision-making processes are unbiased, fair and just, and consistent with each other.
“We analyze each startup’s vision, business model, traction, prospects. My colleagues and I appraise the startups’ management and team members. We evaluate their services and products. We are strict, but not harsh and sometimes when we have doubts or need more details, we get in touch with startups,” says Łukasz Łyczko, Manager at PwC Legal Poland, who has been working with startups for the past six years. “When a company passes this part of the analysis with flying colors, our experts move on to the next step and scrutinize in detail the potential to implement innovative and disruptive solutions described in individual applications. And here comes the catch – it is imperative that these solutions can be applied by PwC’s clients. In other words: there must be real, measurable, pronounced demand for such innovation.”
Of course, it would be impossible for us to accept more than a hundred startups to one edition of our program. This would make the 4th cohort of Startup Collider the largest to ever come into existence since the beginning of acceleration and scaling. There are some extremely hard choices ahead of us and many heated discussions. After all, out of 119 startups, only approximately 30 will be admitted to the 3rd phase – face-to-face meetings. Out of those 30, less than a half will make the final group which will begin scaling in mid-March 2020.
We will keep you up to date and announce our progress asap.
The Startup Collider Team