This post is the first of my series of 5 posts that outline and hopefully provides a bit more insight into the Melbourne Accelerator Program process. My company, Venuemob, went through the program in 2012.
Venuemob was part of the first batch of companies that went through the Melbourne Accelerator Program. Our company helps customers find out pricing of meeting rooms, conference venues, corporate function venues for clients around the country, and also recommends bars and pubs to countless people looking for the perfect place to celebrate on the weekend.
To kick off, our first article is about the MAP application process and how it initially started for us.
Have A Great Idea
Obviously, the process begins with an idea. Moreover, it begins with having a good idea; one that’s worth getting excited about, and that’s easy to picture taking all the way to the finish line.
We spoke to a wide gamut of people, asking for their honest feedback regarding the brainwave that would end up being Venuemob. No matter how confident you might be in your idea for a startup and for entering the Melbourne Accelerator Program, it’s vital to validate your idea and to iron out any kinks during this formative stage.
Ironing out said kinks before sending in our application helped that initial confidence grow from mere self-belief to conviction grounded in reality and constructive feedback.
Make a Great Application
As far as the MAP application is concerned, we’d recommend those interested in applying to make sure theirs stands out. Present all key points clearly and professionally. Right from the get-go, act as if your startup is already ‘a thing’; not merely an idea, but a business bound for success. Steer clear of arrogance of course, but a healthy amount of confidence goes a long way, but also just generally make it really professional.
Prepare Really Well For Your 2 Minute pitch
That’s especially the case when it comes to MAP’s next stage, the two-minute pitch. Two minutes is a short amount of time and your team will receive either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ from the judges. With this in mind, our only real piece of advice would be to practice, practice, practice. Make it clear, concise – make every word count.
We have sat in on some pitches after our initial progress in the program, we’ve seen some that were clearly underprepared. If you’re prepared enough and if you’ve practiced enough, you’ll feel great. You don’t want yours to be one of the not-so-hot pitches.
The next stage in the MAP application process is a pitch in front of a panel of four or five diverse people chosen by MAP. It’s a quick process, and the atmosphere in the room is very casual. The panel doesn’t bite (seriously), and they’re not looking for an opportunity to cut you down ruthlessly. That said, you’ll need to be prepared for this stage more than any other.
We prepared for ages. We practiced incessantly. If our advice in the last stage was ‘practice, practice, practice’ then double it for the panel Q&A.
Because after that – with a little luck and buckets of persistence, research and groundwork – you’ll be in the Melbourne Accelerator Program. And with that comes invaluable access to mentors, a shared office space, interaction and collaboration with the rest of your cohort, and opportunities that you’d likely never have in grasp if doing it on your own.
Since our MAP experience, Venuemob has gone on to become Australia’s largest venue marketplace, recommending venues for everything from birthdays to meetings to corporate Christmas parties. And we can confirm that the MAP office is still constantly filled with other MAP alumni, gathering for beers, to share stories, and to collaborate.