Applications for our next Accelerator programme are now open; this article marks the first in our series on our programme and the benefits it brings to entrepreneurs that join.
Hardware start-ups at CRL are beating the trend
In an environment where 9 out of 10 new businesses typically fail to get off the ground, never mind reaching break even, hardware start-ups need all the support they can get. Accelerator programmes are the way to go.
Over the 4 years that the CRL Accelerator programme has been running it’s seen an impressive survival rate of more than 80% amongst its cohort members. In that time, it’s helped 29 companies to grow and start-ups programmes advisor, Inty Grønneberg, partly puts the success down to a highly curated programme, tailored to the particular needs of each new intake.
What’s so different about the Accelerator programme?
What makes the CRL Accelerator programme different from the others, is the point at which it takes product-focused start-ups on, and the specialist nature of what’s on offer. Plus, the added support of CRL’s new team of likeminded entrepreneurs is a bonus.
The Accelerator programme specialises in helping hardware start-ups – in the early stages of product development – to get from concept to reality in an intensive 6 months. Of course, not every cohort member will be ready for that, but, at the very least, they can expect to finish the programme with a better understanding of their customers, proof of concept, and a prototype to take to manufacture. Those that want to take it to the next level can move to CRL’s BOOST programme, which supports start-ups that are looking to scale, and is available independently of the Accelerator.
Accelerator cohort members are given the tools to help them think like entrepreneurs, find hardware-specific funding, and grow sustainable, profitable businesses. If they make the most of the exceptional networking opportunities on offer, they’ll also have an enviable ‘black book’ of contacts for mentors, suppliers and fellow entrepreneurs on various stages of the same journey.
A new entrepreneurial team
The Accelerator programme has a new entrepreneurial support team, now supported by Inty, who joined CRL in July. As a serial entrepreneur he knows, first-hand, what start-ups have to go through and how difficult it can be to navigate the funding landscape. He works in conjunction with Alice Johnson, CRL programmes lead, who has a great deal of experience in technology business hubs and works collaboratively with Inty to curate the programme.
As Inty puts it, “it’s not just about the challenges of starting and running a hardware business… just being part of the ‘ecosystem’ is good for start-ups. Being part of the vibe, meeting other start-ups going through similar things, and learning from each other, is great for any entrepreneur.”
Also new to the team is Jim Reeves, product design consultant and founder of GravityLight, who recently joined as entrepreneur-in-residence.
It’s much more than just money
CRL is quite often the first investor for many of its cohort members but the value of the programme goes way beyond the cash injection. It’s also about the expertise, exposure, mentoring and networks, which are as difficult to access as funding is for those new to their industry.
The programme takes an option of 3 percent equity that is typically exercised during a participating venture’s first seed invest round.
Supporting diversity in tech
CRL prides itself on attracting and supporting start-ups from a range of sectors. The latest cohort for the Accelerator programme is a diverse group of 8 start-ups with product concepts ranging from consumer wellbeing tech to sustainability-related tech. Unusually for many accelerator programmes, this cohort has a 50:50 split of male and female business owners who bring their own special mix of experience and skills.
Together, they are about to embark on an accelerated journey which will hopefully see them following in the funded-footsteps of cohort members before them.
It is possible to apply for our programme via our F6S page, see here. If you have any questions, please email: Alice@centralresearchlaboratory.com.