Elevating your business, that’s what an accelerator is about, right? Developing the business model, validating your idea as well as your MVP, exploring the KPIs which truly count, all the way to reaching product-market-fit. You want to leave an accelerator knowing your pitch, your Go-To-Market strategy and all that other good stuff. That’s the reason you want to join an accelerator in the first place and why we all pour our heart and soul into it . Over the last two batches of ELEVATE, however, we learned that there is even more to it! Personal growth. Constant feedback. A community supporting each other.

Looking back on 4,5 months of ELEVATE Batch #2, there was all of that. There were struggles, intense meetup days, motivating feedback sessions with fantastic mentors and great progress in our teams. And then there were also karaoke nights, Austrian dinners, impromptu German lessons and lots and lots of chats, sharing experiences and learnings. Now that Batch #2 is coming to an end and we are already preparing for Demo Day – which is happening on May 23rd (Save the date) – it’s high time to reflect on the highlights and our favorite moments.

ELEVATE Moment #1 – Kick-Off

The day we finally got to meet the new teams was definitely a highlight. Our internal IT & Growth Hacking mentors got to meet the teams they would be working with very closely for the following 6 months, supporting them hands-on, week for week.
First task: Evaluating, rethinking and upgrading their business model and validating it– a painful but necessary process.

Personal Highlight: Introducing the international teams to Schweinebraten & Glühwein – a very typical Austrian dish & drink – at a Christmas market.

“When we joined ELEVATE, we had already launched our product, so we were very interested to continue to develop product and go after the customers. But ELEVATE made us take a step back and think more critically about our overall product and key hypotheses. As a result of that we interviewed 2 dozen real estate agents, and we got some very interesting insights that resulted in our product roadmap changes.” – Jatinder Singh, Botplan

Favorite Moment #2 – Facebook in the House

Having Susann Fischer from Facebook, Markus Brunner from the Facebook Messenger Platform Team, Prashant Pitti from nearGroup and of course our one and only Greg Leuch from Poncho – an all-time Vienna fan – all here in Vienna for a very special mentoring day with our startups was great. Having experienced chatbot startup founders mentoring our teams and sharing their learnings was a fantastic way of giving our startups new perspectives. Ending the day with our Grand Bots Meetup was just the cherry on top!

Personal Highlight: This is – again – food-related: A huge ELEVATE dinner with our mentors, teams and the ELEVATE team.

Favorite Moment #3 – US Team relocating to Vienna

Our team from the US, Polaama relocated to Vienna for the last three months of the program. Having the teams here full-time means work is getting done really fast, the progress is bigger – it also means fun lunch breaks and impromptu German lessons.

“Some of my ELEVATE highlights: Working with the ELEVATE team assigned to me, how it feels like a real team and how much we have been able to accomplish as a team” – Madhu Parasarathy, Polaama

Favorite Moment #4 – Progress, progress, progress

Our teams and mentors are working incredibly hard to making their visions come to life and making their customers’ lives easier. We know that. But some of the best moments throughout the accelerator program were the ones when we realized how much the teams and their businesses have progressed. Be it after pitching and roasting sessions, progress updates or just in between through conversations with each other. We can’t wait to see what our startups’ future will bring!

Personal highlight: All the pitching & roasting sessions, when we’re a bit tough on the teams but they show us just how much is in them!

Extra Moment – Karaoke Night!

Yes, this has to be mentioned, because it was just too much fun. Who doesn’t like a chill karaoke night after a hard day of work? That’s what we thought, so we got our whole team and the startups together – and we went all out. It was a blast! Who would’ve thought all these people in the accelerator aren’t only talented business people, but got so many other hidden talents? Definitely calls for a rerun!

“The gals and guys from TheVentury were great mentors for us. We expected that in a way when we applied. But we didn´t expect they would kill us in Karaoke :)” – Michael Nigsch, ibindo

These were just a few highlights of the last 5 months, just a few words will never be enough to describe the whole journey . So this is just a ”tip of the iceberg” kind of thing – to tell our mentors and our teams how much we value them and how much fun it was. And to give you an idea how we do not just elevate businesses, but also the people behind it.

If you are interested in what our teams were working on throughout the program, then request access to our Demo Day (May 23rd).

ELEVATE Batch#3 – October 2018

ELEVATE is coming back in October 2018 – Join the ELEVATE family! You’ll get hands-on coaching, as well as IT-development and growth marketing support.
See the program details for our Batch#3 program.