Full datetime event:Sunday, July 16, 201723:45
Hong Kong, China
DescriptionApplications for the Brinc Global IoT Accelerator program are now open! We’re particularly excited about this as we’ve changed up our program in the last several months based on our learnings and feedback on how to best help hardware founders get over early stage hurdles.
We’re doing things differently
Moving to a new city for an accelerator program can be a great decision for a startup, but it’s not always the right move, or even a possible move, for many founders. Our program is fully digital and fully global. Founders don’t have to come to Hong Kong to participate in the Brinc accelerator (though we’d love to have you!) and we look at deals from anywhere (waiting for that hardware startup from Antarctica to show up). This way we can help where we see it the most — founders who are far from the mass manufacturing hub of China and want to learn and move fast while staying in market with their customers.
Accelerators are designed to be a fast burn over a limited span of time. A sprint to yield a critical milestone. We struggled with the brevity at Brinc because early stage hardware often demands a longer timeframe than software-only products to yield traction. On the other hand, a program that runs too long loses its “accelerant” quality.
We experimented with program length to find the best format for hardware, and settled on a blended approach.
The Brinc program is now four months. This is a sprint with hands-on support and online education and tools. But we also are still committed to be there for the long haul. Unlike most programs, after the Brinc accelerator ends we stay active via quarterly 1:1 sessions with our entire team at your disposal, membership in our growing founder and vendor network, and more. We think this combines the best of a sprint mindset and the long-term approach that is critical in hardware.
We have simplified the terms for joining the Brinc program: 3% equity, no cash, no fees. We use SAFE notes or warrants depending on the fundraising history of a team and what works best with existing structures.
-Staged for the Right Fit
Four months is a long time for a startup to commit to something, particularly an accelerator program. Finding the right program is critical and can be a difficult process with only websites and very quick interviews to rely on. We feel the same — we’re super hands-on and take finding the right teams for the Brinc accelerator seriously. So we’ve split the four months into two parts to enable founders to make sure Brinc is the right choice for their company, and we have a great fit.
We kick off with a Ramp Up sprint: a four week pre-acceleration program focused on creating foundational tools and research for early stage product, finance and market building. The Full Acceleration program follows for three months with the goal to move as fast as a team can through early prototyping and traction.
Not all teams will move on from the Ramp Up sprint to Full Acceleration. It must be a joint decision to continue working together: either the startup or Brinc can decide to opt out after the first four weeks. This allows startups to make sure the Brinc program is valuable and in line with their goals while executing valuable work product, and gives Brinc greater time to understand the team, product and goals.
The equity terms only apply to startups that continue on to Full Acceleration. So if you only participate in the Ramp Up Sprint, there’s no fees, equity or other strings attached. Regardless, our goal is to make both the Ramp Up and Full Acceleration as valuable as we can for hardware founders.
We are big fans of rolling intakes: investing in teams when it makes sense for both sides, rather than on a forced schedule. We learned though, that the community formed in group intakes outweighs the value gained from a flexible intake. We’re still experimenting with the right balance between batched and flexible. Right now, we’re working on a twice-a-year intake.
While the program is now scheduled, we firmly believe that anything less than a highly flexible program fails hardware founders. The number of variables and moving parts in building a connected hardware startup means the differences in teams, needs and stages can be vast. The batched, yet very flexible program format, we think will provide the best of both formats for Brinc portfolio founders.