Spherik Accelerator: What, Why, and Who?

It is hard to believe I have been at Spherik for over a year now—the time flies!  And what a year it has been—intense, productive, and rewarding.  I’m very proud of our first program, which hosted many great teams that are still working hard to gain customers and grow.  Our first program was focused on providing broad entrepreneurial skills to these great teams, along with networking opportunities, market and investor connections, mentorship, and help creating innovative products that address a real need.  Driven by our great mentors, supporters, and teams, the program was a success.

Over the past months we have been busy continuing to work with our teams, as well as to bring more resources to the program and adapt it to the ever-evolving needs and capabilities of the start-up ecosystem in Romania.  Spherik is dedicated to continually innovating and growing its program.  We have some exciting changes for our next program, made possible by more resources and support from our great community and the growing capacity of Romanian start-ups.  You can read more about the program in more depth here:  http://spherikaccelerator.com/the-program/

In a nutshell, the new Spherik program is more product-focused.  In the past year, some solid resources have been developed to help aspiring entrepreneurs gain broad business skills–I am proud Spherik was able to lead the way in this.  This means we can put more focus on to helping teams build solid products, find product-market fit, gain customers, and refine business models.  Some key highlights:

  • Product BootCamp: an intense 2 week program that we start off with to help the teams refine their product idea and make a build plan.  It ends with a hackathon and a pitchathon in the mountains.
  • Coaches: This year each team will have an individual coaching mentor that will follow their progress throughout the entire program, meeting with them each week to help keep them on track.  The other mentors will still be available, but having this continuity will be a great asset for the teams.
  • Weekly working sessions: Although we will continue to have workshops on key entrepreneurial skills such as product, strategy, marketing, sales, and so forth, we will also have weekly sessions where all the teams and coaches come together to debrief, pitch, and work.
  • Bigger network: Thanks to the help of our mentors and the great teams in our first program, we have attracted more interest from the region and internationally.  This means more potential customers, partners, and investors for our teams.
  • Alumni Network: This was part of our first program, but its success was based on the continued engagement of our first program teams.  I’m proud to say the not only continue to work on their start-ups, but engage with our community.  We are all eagerly waiting the next start-ups to join the growing Spherik family.

Last month when I was discussing the new website with Vlad Balan, from ChallengeXP, I was pondering what to put on our homepage.  I’m quite the master of biztalk words and began firing off such bombastic lines like “an NGO dedicated to increasing entrepreneurial capacity and opportunities” and “aims to leverage the core strengths present and create an ecosystem of value pooling diverse stakeholders to increase the potential viability of early-stage start-ups…” etc. etc. etc.  And while all of that is true, it just doesn’t capture us.

Somehow, what we are trying to do is simple—although the work is intense and difficult for our teams, staff, and mentors.  As I was looking through the photos from last year, from day 1 through Boost Day and Demo Day, it hit me—helping awesome people create awesome things.  That is why we are here.  Now, we don’t mean awesome as in cool or pop songs.  We mean awesome as in, solving a problem, something worth doing—something that you are going to dedicate 16 hours a day to until you hit the sweet spot.  Something that you really care about.  We mean people who believe in what they are doing and are going to hustle to get it done, giving up sleep and turning down cushy jobs because they care more about their project than quick cash–because they believe in their team, their idea, and want to grow it.  We mean people who are going to help out the teams beside them when they can, and ask for help when they need it.   It’s all so simple—we help awesome people create awesome things.  If you have a start-up and want to be a part of that, I welcome you to apply here:  http://spherikaccelerator.com/details/

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