Scouting for Startupbootcamp - Here’s How it Works.

The Search for Suitable Startups.

We’ve already reported previously on Startupbootcamp, a long-time partner of Daimler Business Innovation and global idea accelerator — the global network of industry-specific promoters, or accelerators, who put Startups in touch with the most important and most influential networks in their segment. The success of the programs, which are currently based in cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Eindhoven, London, Barcelona, Singapore and Istanbul, speaks for itself: Out of the 210 Startupbootcamp alumni an astonishing 74% have raised an average of over half a million euros since 2010.

But how are potential candidates for the programs identified? What are the selection criteria? How are ideas evaluated? This is exactly where the scouts come in. With a view to the program in Berlin, we have spoken to Jens Hartwig, Stephan Gilles and Oliver Beige and would now like to show you what has to happen if a Startup is to benefit from promotion by Startupbootcamp.

First-hand Information. An Interview with the Scouts.

Business Innovation: What does a day in the life of a scout look like? Startupbootcamp Scouts: To start with, we focus on research and regular attendance at conferences and on the pitch days we organize with the aim of generating awareness of Startupbootcamp and the Smart Transportation & Energy Accelerator program. What matters is to draw the attention of a large number of teams to our services and to get to know them sufficiently well in as short a space of time as possible. In the process, we maintain constant contact with the most interesting teams.

Looking for Information and Developing Contacts.

Business Innovation: Where do scouts find the most relevant information for their job? How do they identify new trends and find new Startups? Startupbootcamp Scouts: We get important information from three different sources: Startup databases, news sites and personal relationships. Global databases such as CrunchBase, Angellist and F6S are certainly a good place to start, although these won’t give you every Startup outside the US. It’s very young Startups in particular which don't take the time to set up and maintain an account. Some don't even have a website. If you want to reach out to them, often the only way is through personal contacts with the local ecosystems. The same applies to contacts with universities. These have to be established first and then maintained so that you don’t lose sight of what’s going on in research. Every now and then news sites focused on Startups as well as transport and energy are also interesting places to find young teams.

The Team Decides.

Business Innovation: Which criterion is most important for you in recruiting Startups? Startupbootcamp Scouts: Although hard criteria, such as the product and the market, are relevant to us, the thing we pay closest attention to is the team itself. The ideas often change during the program, and founders need to be able to cope with an ever-changing environment and to have the stamina to pursue their goals.

Methodology: Quantity Meets Quality.

Business Innovation: How do scouts evaluate the ideas? Startupbootcamp Scouts: Ideas are assessed using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative assessments make it possible to sort a large number of ideas quickly according to established criteria (partner fit, maturity, speed to market, intellectual property, …). As soon as the number of ideas becomes manageable, qualitative assessment comes into focus, and the candidates are discussed in detail (e.g. soft skills, team strength, vision, ...). The assessment goes through several rounds. The actual evaluation of the teams takes into account Skype interviews, partner feedback and the documents submitted. In the final step, the selection days, the teams are invited to Berlin for three days and groomed for the accelerator program in a series of intensive discussions and workshops. The final selection is made at the end of the selection days in consultation with partners and mentors. The selected teams start our program as of August in the Rainmaking Loft Berlin.

The Benefits of the Program.

Business Innovation: How do scouts get in touch with and win over the Startups? Startupbootcamp Scouts: We try to identify the best teams early on and get into personal dialog with them, to answer questions and build trust. To win them over, we communicate the benefits of the program to the interested parties: The selected teams receive financing of € 15,000 to cover their costs during the program and get access to over 150 mentors, six partners in the fields of transport and energy (Airbus, Mercedes-Benz, Deutsche Bahn, EnBW, Nokia HERE and Cisco), services worth € 450,000+ from our global partners, a global mentor and alumni network, and six entrepreneurs in residence, who support our teams in the areas of software development, design and business management.

Sharing Economy Setting the Tone.

Business Innovation: What are the hottest trends right now? Startupbootcamp Scouts: The most influential current trend is definitively the idea of sharing economy: social parking, social shipping and ride sharing. All these concepts are based on the principle of sharing your own unused resources with other people.

Consistency and Concision.

Business Innovation. What are the common mistakes committed by Startups? Startupbootcamp Scouts: Many Startups seem to struggle to formulate their idea consistently and concisely. Often the “what” can’t be distinguished from the “how”, which means that it isn’t clear to the reader even after repeated reading what the services are and how the problem is going to be solved. What’s more, Startups adopt a technology- and product-oriented point of view, neglecting value creation and customer benefit in the process. This leads them to focus too strongly on the development of their product and to forget about the market - without testing their products at an early stage in relevant target customer segments. Which is exactly where we offer support to the companies we take on, helping them to get in touch with their customers (and our partners) early on and facilitating the generation of competitive and viable solutions.

At the Right Time...

Business Innovation: What factors do you consider crucial for the success of Startups? Startupbootcamp Scouts: The team, the product, the market, luck, timing and Startupbootcamp. Have we piqued your interest? Then please visit Startupbootcamp for more information.


This article was published by Business Innovation, Daimler’s lab for innovative business solutions. Please find us on Twitter as well as Instagram and join the discussion in the Business Innovation Forum.

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