General Questions

Am I eligible for the H2 Ventures Accelerator Program?

Yes. We’re looking for talented, driven entrepreneurs (first time or otherwise) with an idea (B2B / B2C / B2B2C) for a digital product, service or business in financial services (fintech), data, analytics, artificial intelligence, insurance, regtech, digital security, marketplaces, real-estate or related spaces. No idea is too crazy or ambitious. You can check out our existing portfolio of startups here (https://h2.vc/#portfolio). 

What can I expect from the application process?

Applications for our next program (April-September 2019) will close on the 1st of Feb. In the second week of Feb we will contact shortlisted applicants for Skype interviews. During the interview we will get to know you better and give you time to do the same. And we’ll give you all the program documentation beforehand so that you can ask any questions about the offer and program. We will further shortlist those applicants and conduct a second round of face to face interviews (if possible) in the last week of Feb. We will announce successful applicants by the 1st of March. 

How many startups are you looking for?

For the April 2019 program we are looking for between 6-10 startups.

How much do you invest?

The total investment is $100,000 AUD for a (10%) equity share in the startup. This is made up of $50,000 AUD in cash (to spend as you see fit) plus another $50,000 paid back to H2 in services that covers the costs of being a part of the program (office space etc). The goal is to give you enough money and support to build an impressive prototype and business proposition, which you can then use to get further funding.

We don't really need money. Does it still make sense to apply?

Yes. The money is a small (but important) part of what we provide. The real value is in the non-monetary benefits of being part of the program such as: the 150+ network of H2 Alumni founders and mentors that you’ll be plugged into, being co-located with H2 Ventures and our other startups at the Sydney Startup Hub; regular workshops, lunches and dinners with experienced and influential founders and investors from the startup and technology spaces.

Non of the co-founders are technical, should I still apply?

Yes. While we will always look for strong technical teams, we have invested in a small number of non-technical teams and had a great experience doing so. We will be looking for how you plan to grow your technical capabilities and what you are doing to find them. While some of our teams did begin their journey by outsourcing their tech capabilities, we strongly believe that this should be an inhouse function, so we’ll be looking for how you plan to approach this.

Can a solo founder apply for funding?

Yes. While we have invested in a few solo, non technical founders before, the odds of being selected are lower. Startups are a lot of work and teams of 2-3 founders tend to be more successful.

We've already been working on our startup for a while. Is the H2 Accelerator appropriate for us?

Yes. We think that the value added to your startup as a result of going through the program will far outweigh the equity you give up.

We've already taken some seed funding. Can we still apply?

Yes. Remember though that if you already have a cap table we will want to know more about it in the interview process. Often we find that even early on, alot of founders have overly complex cap tables. Some red flags for us include:

Early investors who own more than 20%.
“Advisors” with holdings greater than 1%.
Non-operational team members who own more than 5% of the company.
At the early stage, lots of entities on the cap table (More than 5–6) is a red flag.

We know how complex this stuff can get, especially for first-time founders. We help our founders to get it right.

Do we need to write a business plan as part of the application?

Nope. Yes you need to be prepared to clearly and concisely talk about your idea / product but what we really want to know is who you and your team are, what makes you tick, what you’re passionate about, how you came to be working on this idea and where you think you can take it. If you are selected for the program, we will work with you to develop a pitch deck and business plan for later stage funding.

Do I need a live demo to apply?

Nope. We love demos, but understand that you may not have one yet. 

Can we be part of the program without being in Sydney?

We expect at least one founder to be based in Sydney for the duration of the program. You will find it very beneficial being co-located with us and the other startups. However we understand everyone has different circumstances and can make exceptions for founders with families and have had teams that fly in and out at regular intervals throughout the program. We have also made exception for a small number of international teams who are growing their businesses in international markets. Regardless, all participating founders need to attend H2X week and the H2Expo. We look at these on a case by case basis.

We have two ideas. Can we submit two applications?

Sure. But if you get accepted into the second stage, we will ask you to select one idea. Remember that because we invest so early on, we understand that ideas might change. Most of the teams will pivot in one way or another at some stage in during the program. 

Will you fund multiple startups working on the same idea?

While we won’t fund two directly competing startups with the exact same idea in a cohort, we would potentially fund multiple startups with similar or overlapping ideas. Many businesses in the digital financial services and data spaces overlap so if we have many investments in this space there is a good chance some will overlap. We see this as a good thing for our startups, providing more opportunities (e.g. partnerships, mergers) than threats.

Are you only looking to fund younger people?

Did you know that the average age of a venture backed startup founder is 40? So no, we are not only looking to fund younger people. We love to fund older more experienced industry professionals so long as you are willing to take the risk of starting a business. If you have an idea and think you have what it takes to execute on that idea then we would strongly encourage you to apply whatever your age.

Do you have a dedicated mentor program?

We have a large and trusted network of founders and investors who have mentored our team, however we do not match our startups to a specific team of mentors. Instead we invite mentors to regular sessions throughout the program giving you the opportunity to start relationships with the right people. Many of our mentors have gone on to form long lasting advisory relationships with our startups and some have even invested in them. Even after the program we will always do what we can to get you in front of the right people. 

How hands on / available is the H2 team?

We work very closely with the teams throughout the 20 weeks. We purposely sit right next to you at our offices so that you can lean on us throughout the program.

What does a company look like when they finish?

A typical startup that finishes the program has an mvp with which they can start raising their next round of funding. Most teams going on to raise approximately 4-8 months post program. 

What happens post-program?

After the official 20 weeks, we give you an extra 4 weeks of office space so that you and your team can figure out what to do next. Some teams choose to stay here with us at Tank Stream Labs while others find other co-working spaces, or offices of their own.

We encourage all of our teams to keep up with us once a month with an investor update and often have alumni visit us at our offices to ask for advice, especially around their next round of funding. We use Slack to keep both the individuals cohorts and the portfolio as a whole connected. We also put on regular content sessions that are open to the whole portfolio and their teams as well as social events.

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