What is the Berlin Startup Accelerator?
The Berlin Startup School Accelerator provides several benefits over a period of 6 months including a scholarship for each team member (more information below). Application deadlines and information will be communicated through our newsletter or any other official communication channel.
What are the costs?
The Berlin Startup School Accelerator is free of charge and you don't have to give away any equity.
Do we need to be a team to be eligible to apply?
Yes, you need to be a team of at least two founders to apply for the Berlin Startup School Accelerator. Team members should be co-founders, not just employees or helping hands. It is not sufficient to apply as a solofounder.
Is it possible to apply when the company is already founded?
If the company was founded less than 3 months ago (the date of issue of the trade license is decisive), it is possible to apply. However, no significant sales should have been generated yet.
If the foundation of the company was more than 3 months ago, you are not eligible to apply.
(Being registered as a freelancer is not considered a company and therefor not an exclusion criteria.)
Is it possible to apply when the company is already existing in another country?
No, it is not possible to apply when the same company is already existing in another country.
There is only one exception: the foundation of the company was less than a few months ago, it has not made significant revenues. and will be closed soon (or is already inactive). In addition, there must be a plan to establish a new company in Berlin that operates independently.
What happens if the team changes during the program?
If the team changes, this must be communicated immediately. If a scholarship holder drops out of the program, he can be replaced by a new co-founder.
What are the benefits?
The Berlin Startup School Accelerator will offer each participant several benefits from a monthly scholarship (2,000 € per team member/month), a Coaching Budget (1,000 € per team) to seats in our Co-Working Space and more. An overview of all benefits can be found here.
What can we spend the money on?
The scholarship money will be directly transferred to your bank account (until the end of the month). It should mainly cover your living expenses. Nevertheless, there is no obligation to provide evidence for the spendings.
In general, the scholarship money should be used responsibly. In this context, it is also important to mention that taxation, health insurance, etc. must be covered by each participant him- or herself. There is no employment relationship (and thus also no social insurance) with the Berlin Startup School.
The Coaching Budget will be managed and accounted by your personal Startup Coach throughout the program and can be spent for our mentors, coaches and experts after consulting him/her. It cannot be redeemed for cash or other goods.
How can we apply for the Accelerator?
You can find all steps of the application process and the requirements here.
Do we have to give away equity to join?
Since the Berlin Startup School Accelerator is a state funded program, you don't have to give away any equity.
How long is the program?
The Berlin Startup School Accelerator is a 6-month full-time program. No extensions of funding beyond this period are planned until further notice.
What is the main language of the program?
The application documents are available in English and German. If you get shortlisted and your are invited to the Pitch Day you can pitch in one of these two languages.
The first language in the program itself is English.
How far should the idea be developed?
To apply for the Berlin Startup School Accelerator you need a prototype (or soon to have one; meaning: at least a click-dummy, mock-ups or anything else so we see what you want to build). Just having the idea is not enough. Please refer to our other programs, like the Startup Academy.
How many team members can apply?
You can apply for the Berlin Startup School Accelerator if you are a team of at least two founders (max. 3 can be supported). Your team can be bigger but will not be covered by the program.
Do we need to live in Berlin?
Yes, latest when you start the program/sign the contract. We will ask you to hand in a proof that you are registered in Berlin (Brandenburg ist not possible). If you cannot prove this in the application process, you will not be eligible for any further steps.
In exceptional cases, it is sufficient if only one team member lives in Berlin. However, this must be the main responsible person and only this team member will be funded. In addition to that, the whole team needs to work full-time on the idea (e.g. it is not possible to apply as a founder with another team mate that is a student, full-time employed, etc.)
Moreover, you are asked to be present at the Co-Working Space for at least 24 hrs/week to strengthen the community and accelerate your progress through Peer-Learning. Certain exceptions apply (see Covid-19 information below).
Can we have a job or freelance during the program?
It is not possible to have a full-time or part-time job while being in the Startup Accelerator. Freelancing is possible for a few hours each week (around 32 hours/month) or "Mini-Job". But the main focus should be working on the startup (idea).
How many teams do you support in total?
We will organize 3 batches of the Berlin Startup School Accelerator: They will kick-off in January 2022, July 2022 and January 2023. A few months before each batch we will open the application phase. You can stay tuned about all announcements here.
We will support around 15 teams over the course of all batches.
To what extent the number of teams will be divided among the batches, will be decided according to the quality of the applications.
Do we get Mentorship or Coaching?
Each team in the Startup Accelerator will receive coaching from a pre-defined startup coach and gets access to our network of mentors and experienced entrepreneurs.
What are the most common mistakes in the application process?
#1 Required Documents are incomplete/not provided (e.g. Video was not uploaded)
#2 Clear specifications are not met (e.g. Pitch Deck has too many pages)
#3 The applicants are not living in Berlin and/or are not able to proof registration until the start of the program.
Do you give feedback when being rejected?
Unfortunately not. Due to the amount of applications we can't give individual feedback.
But we advise you to prepare your application with the help of any qualified Startup Program (like the Startup Academy or others), a Startup Coach (e.g. with the AVGS voucher) or our Individual Services (coming soon!).
Regardless, all applicants have an equal chance of being considered - participants from Startup Programs and the like do not receive favored treatment.
Can I apply again if I get rejected?
Yes, you can apply again if you were rejected.
❌ What are explicit exclusion criteria?
You are not eligible to apply if:
- you are a solopreneur/only one founder
- a team member has received EXIST, a startup scholarship or the "Gründungsbonus" before
- you have been a founder of a corporation or Managing Director before
- you are not registered in Berlin (as soon as the batch starts)
- you have a student, freelance or job-seeking visa only
- you can't dedicate full-time to building up the startup
- your company is founded* more than 3 months ago
- your company is founded* less than 3 months ago but is making significant revenue
*founded = starting from the date on which the trade license was issued (not the notary date); being registered as a freelancer is not an exclusion criteria
🦠 Covid-19 (Corona Virus) Information
Depending on the hygiene regulations, the events and coaching take place either online or offline. This will be announced in due time beforehand.
The same applies to the Co-working Space: as long as the regulations allow it, on-site work is possible under the applicable regulations. Here, too, we always provide information on the current status.