The Riyadh Techstars Accelerator

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Location (s):

  • Saudi Arabia
Riyadh

Overview

The Riyadh Techstars Accelerator is focused on startups building and growing their businesses in the Middle East and North Africa. The Riyadh Techstars Accelerator will focus on attracting startups to MENA and paving the way for future innovation in the region’s digital economy. While the accelerator will be Techstars’ first in Saudi Arabia, the organization has been active in the region for years through more than 700 Techstars Startup Weekend events, the Techstars Dubai Accelerator and the Techstars Hub71 Accelerator in Abu Dhabi.

Details

The Riyadh Techstars Accelerator will begin accepting applications May 10, 2021, for a 13-week program that will take place from November 2021 through February 2022. A Techstars Managing Director will lead the accelerator with support from a Techstars program manager, along with leadership and mentors from MCIT. Participants in the three-month program will receive funding, hands-on mentorship from the Techstars and MCIT networks, access to curated workshops and resources, and access to the Techstars global network for life.

Inside a Techstars Accelerator

Techstars accelerators have one goal: to help entrepreneurs succeed. During each three-month program, we surround companies with the best mentors and an unrivaled network of corporate partners, investors, and alumni. We provide funding and fundraising opportunities, workshops and curated resources, not to mention countless moments where you can learn from your peers. It’s a proven model that’s helped build thousands of successful companies, all over the world. 

But how does that play out in real time? Here’s a breakdown of what happens in each of the three months, what a typical week looks like, and the kinds of activities you can expect in program. 

Month by Month: The 3 Months Of a Techstars Accelerator

Month One: Grow Your Network

During month one, the 10 companies in each program typically meet around 100 mentors from the Techstars network, each of whom are super connected and experienced in their respective fields. After these initial meetings, fondly known as “Mentor Madness,” some programs match founders with three to five who will act as their lead mentors, and a pseudo Board of Advisors, throughout the program. When there’s a particularly good fit, mentors will often continue to work with the companies after the program ends.

Mentors help with many areas of the business that may need support, including — but not limited to:

  • Product development
  • Market-fit
  • Marketing
  • Technology
  • Hiring and firing
  • Fundraising
  • Company culture
  • Unit economics
  • Business development
  • Customer discovery
  • Go to market strategy
  • Legal

Month Two: Execute

Month two is time to take all those learnings from month one and put them into practice. Working with the managing director and program manager, founders go deeper with their lead mentors, gain traction, and hit milestones — whether that’s a prototype, building out the next phase of a product, getting a first customer, etc.

During this month, founders focus on identifying their most important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and achieving them. If there’s a corporate partner for the program, this month may even be the time to prepare for a proof of concept.

Month Three: Fundraising Strategy & Demo Day

In month three, founders go deep on telling their story. This is crucial to fundraising and Demo Day preparation. 

Founders work with their mentors, managing directors, and program managers to refine their pitch, develop and design their pitch deck for Demo Day, and prepare investor collateral. 

Storytelling isn’t just about fundraising: it’s also about communicating your vision to customers and future team members.

A Typical Week in a Techstars Accelerator

Actually, there’s no such thing as a typical week in a Techstars accelerator. 

Other than weekly one-on-ones with your managing director, all-hands KPI meetings, no two weeks are the same during the program. Instead, you’ll constantly be moving your startup forward at a pace you never thought was possible.

You’ll go from testing key assumptions about your business one week to professional stage training the next. You’ll constantly be challenged in what you do and how you do it.

Can you remember the last time you spent one full day investing in your own professional development? What if you had the opportunity to do this — with the full support of professionals — for three months?

During the program, you’ll be presented with ideas, opinions, and opportunities that you might never otherwise consider — and certainly couldn’t get all at once anywhere else. These opinions and ideas can help you become a better founder, and navigate tricky situations and tough decisions with more ease. We want to give you the tools to be able to turn these challenging opportunities into positive experiences.

While this may sound like a lot, it’s important to point out that more than half of your time could still be spent on working on your own company. We get it, you may already have customers, team stand ups and other recurring meetings — so that doesn’t just pause for three months.

In-Program Activities

What kind of activities can you expect? While each program is different, here are a few that pretty much everyone gets:

  • Office hours with guest mentors and investors
  • Workshops and masterclasses delivered by industry experts on specific topics like hiring, marketing, tech, product, etc.
  • Founder stories: serial entrepreneurs come in and share how they built their company. The best part is that it’s more than what you read online – in this context, founders speak honestly about what really went down.
  • Intensive pitch practice, in preparation for Demo Day and fundraising
  • Plus anything else the program team thinks would benefit your experience and help you #DoMoreFaster — many activities are curated to the needs of the founders and companies in each program, meaning that no program is exactly the same twice. 

Opportunity is About:


Eligibility

Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

  • We fund all types of startups, working in all verticals, using any type of business models. Do keep in mind, however, that our focus is on startups rather than small businesses.
  • We do our best to avoid accepting competitive companies into the same program class. However, with the growing number of Techstars companies, there may be competitive companies in the broader Techstars network. In the event there is a company in the Techstars portfolio that’s competitive, we work tirelessly to ensure there is no exchange of sensitive data.

Dates:

Deadline: July 28, 2021

Program Starts: November 08, 2021

Program Ends: February 17, 2022


Cost/funding for participants:

Techstars provides accelerator portfolio companies with access to financial, human, and intellectual capital to fuel the success of their business. 

Techstars contributes $20,000, which is commonly used as a stipend to support living expenses during the program, and in return receives 6% equity of the company (on a fully diluted basis, issued as common stock) until the company raises a priced equity financing of US $250,000 or more (a “Qualified Financing”). However, if a company conducts a Network Launch using distributed ledger technology (i.e. a blockchain initial coin offering, token event, etc.), then Techstars will also receive 6% of the Token Reserve (i.e. the tokens “held back” for the founders and the company at Network Launch).

Additionally, upon acceptance to a Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator, every company is offered an optional $100,000 convertible note.

Benefits

  • Access to Techstars resources for life;
  • Acceleration in a 90-day Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator program with personal mentorship and office space;
  • Lifetime access to the Techstars worldwide network of entrepreneurs, including more than 10,000 mentors, 10,000 investors, 1,600 alumni companies, and over 200 staff members;
  • Access to over $400k of cash equivalent hosting, accounting, and legal support—plus other credits and perks worth more than $1M;
  • Demo Day exposure and other investor connections.

Historically, on average, Techstars companies go on to raise more than $2M of outside capital after the program.

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