So what are you? An accelerator? An incubator? A venture capital? What?

We are a social enterprise supporting entrepreneurs to develop their bold business ideas into solid new ventures. In fact, we are more than an accelerator or an incubator. At ground zero, before a venture begins its incubation or is even ready to launch, it goes through an evolutionary process – that of the idea itself. Our work begins there, in order to forge your idea into a business opportunity, validate your market, and take the first solid steps to launching your business (The Lab). In fact we make sure we prepare you for the exciting and challenging path that follows, the startup acceleration (The Accelerator). With initial pre-seed capital, your startup will take on a surge of business modeling and market execution – our two core axes – that culminates in our one-month momentous mission to San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. And it is admittedly a lot of work to get there at such a short time span! Still, it is progress across these two axes that will increase your potential to prepare for scale, for funding, and also for our growth stage (The Hub). The latter is our nurturing platform, where, along with select high-potential startups, you benefit from global networking opportunities with international corporations and investors, from business services, and from our continuous support.

What kind of startups do you take up?

We love all ideas and startups really! From web and mobile, to healthcare, to energy, to food and clothing, to social, we consider all concepts and initiatives bright and promising.

In The Lab, all ideas are accepted in the e-venturing platform; yet for our Breakthrough series we look into 5 core elements:

1. A level of innovation, meaning not simply a novel idea, but one that can be applied to the market. Also an innovative idea can well be developed on the principles of an existing one, and be fine-tuned to solve a different problem or applied in a much more efficient way. And it is not necessarily about technology; it can be about any part of the business model. 2. Scalability and, if not an immediate, at least a short-term potential to expand across borders – that is, the potential and ability to target the global market. 3. The vision you have about the business, the big picture of what this can become and even the impact it can have in bringing change in the market and in the lives of people. 4. Commitment to our values of collaboration, receptiveness, perseverance and of course passion for venturing. 5. Progress–  consistent, significant, and results-oriented progress.

For The Accelerator, in addition to the above, we require: market validation (through user or customer traction) and a strong, committed team.Bold ideas and bold people: that’s what we care about.

Do you provide funding to the startups you take up?

We provide pre-seed capital to our Founders that enter The Accelerator through our select Partners. We then help you to gear up your startup, “suit up” for follow-up funding, and get in touch with our extensive network of funds and investors.

So how do you make money and is it free to participate in your program?

Our organization is established as a non-profit to share and deliver our commitment to our vision, to our impact rather than profit. We care to make a difference in the world around us, though not alone; the change we envision will be brought along with those talented spirits willing to shape their own futures. And we really believe in the -benevolent- power of venturers and entrepreneurship. So we don’t make profit and we take no equity and no part in the ownership of your new venture.

We do aim to be sustainable, though, and do expect that everyone who benefits from our efforts contributes to our sustainability. We thus have revenues and require fees from our program participants and the ventures we help launch, to cater for our operations and growth.

We are also grand proponents of transparency. We are thus open about our income and crystal clear about our charges.

Participants in The Lab are required to submit an one-time basic registration fee of €20. The latter is essentially in order to ensure your buy-in, the entire program is free of charge. The Lab may also be run by select Partner organizations, so registration fees for participants may vary and are unrelated to our operations.

Founders in The Accelerator receive initial funding and are then responsible for their financial management, which is part of their evaluation for follow-up funding. From their initial funding, Founders contribute a €3.000 donation to Metavallon and are required to cover US mission expenses along with any services they request.

Members of The Hub submit membership fees applicable to the services and team size.

Still, our current main income sources are grants from our Supporters, along with Europe-wide programs that we lead and contribute to, presently covering staff compensation and program costs. Our Partners provide us mainly with equipment, office space, and pro bono services, while donations subsidize our increasing expenses. Our Experts contribute their knowledge, expertise and time freely. And our volunteer Associates assist us on our tireless journey towards a venturing future.

All members of our community are contributing one way or another. And our continuous efforts are towards creating even more meaningful and valuable ways for contribution, to ensure that our community is thriving and the coming generations have even more to benefit from.

How can I join your program?

Our next round of applications for The Lab will open soon through select Partners and for The Accelerator in March 2015. The Hub holds rolling applications all year round. So simply follow our blog, engage with us through our social media channels (facebook, twitter, linkedin), and subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when any of the above kick in!.

I have an idea only though, no company or partners, or funding, or even an office…

That’s OK. We take up really early-stage projects, that are only just an idea. We will help you structure it, refine it, test it, and develop it into a viable business model – and then into a business. Aren’t you glad you met us?

How do I know you won’t steal my idea?

We are not in the business of helping people realize their ideas, dreams and personal potential – your idea is surely great but we have no use for it (other than what you will do with it). And believe it or not, most of the people you know or will meet will not either really. We are in this to help you build your own business, so it is to the best interest of all involved, you and us alike, if you have a strong, innovative, viable idea, you share it with us and others that can help you turn it into reality, and, in fact, exploit us to put it in use.

That said, idea stealing is a “Greek myth” and it originates from insecurity rather than confidence in your idea and your ability to realize it. So the next time you think of bringing up this excuse, also think about what it really communicates.

After all, businesses are about the market, and ideas turn into businesses only through extensive interaction with people (i.e. the market). So be confident, seek feedback, evolve, and execute (continuously and rapidly) – these are the things that will make or break your efforts.

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

-William Ernest Henley

I like what you do! How can I help?

Well, thank you! There are a number of ways to be part of our efforts and a metavallon factor yourself: if you have an expertise or established professional reputation, maybe you can help us by joining our network of Experts. If you prefer a less hands-on approach, you can support us with funds, equipment or services. You may also join us as a volunteer, or offer your donation. Also, you can spread the word about Metavallon: follow us on twitter, join us on facebooksubscribe to our newsletter and tell your friends and followers about us!

About The Lab

How does The Lab work?

It is structured around our proprietary e-venturing online platform, which mainly comprises:

  • 8 core modules, the Opportunities, that feature rich instructional material, both proprietary and curated (the Sparks), deliverables to achieve (the Goals), and extra material to explore (the Bonus)

  • a Venture Space for your team to build, present, and receive feedback on  your new venture

  • the Discussion Hive to ask questions and exchange insights with our Experts and your peers

As participant of The Lab, you also have two waysto get involved:

  • as an Explorer, if you wish your work to be private and accessible only to you; as such, you will have access to the Opportunities and your own Venture Space only

  • as a Venturer, if you wish to truly dive into venturing, exchange and take the next step; as a Venturer you will have access to the Opportunities of course, your own Venture Space as well as that of fellow Venturers, the Discussion Hive, and our Experts, from whom you may receive feedback and answers to questions you may have. Venturer status shall be judged based on progress and achieved by participants on a weekly basis.

As a Venturer, and based on your idea and progress each week, you may achieve Startupper status and be invited to participate in our Breakthrough series of onsite workshops to receive firsthand expert feedback, further instruction, and coaching towards execution. Selection for this is made based on the Goals realized each Thursday and the workshops take place on Saturdays (see more about the Breakthrough series below).

How do I apply?

Registrations are now closed for The Lab. The program will soon relaunch through select Partners in our network and across Greece – so stay tuned!

Is The Lab just another e-learning program?

Certainly not. The Lab is about doing, and learning by doing – hence the choice of the term e-venturing rather than e-learning. There are several exceptional e-learning courses and platforms you can refer to and take advantage; in fact, we will be using a couple as part of our curated material.

Yet in The Lab, learning is a tool; our goal is execution, taking actionable steps towards kickstarting a business, and rather learning through that even if you do not end up following through with that idea (and there is always this possibility, another bolder idea may come along).

The above are evident in every part of this program. Starting from our e-venturing platform, we are using Opportunities to take advantage of instead of modules to cover, in order to replicate the entrepreneurial path; we are focusing on Sparks, which indicate educational and instructional material to cultivate basic knowledge and ignite thinking and curiosity; and everything revolves around Goals, which replace the generic “deliverable”, indicating tasks and milestones to achieve in order to move your new venture forward. Finally, participation in Breakthrough series is clearly results-driven and is based on the progress participants make each week.

After all, if you truly wish to learn about venturing and to leap from running a project to becoming a startup founder, strategic execution is the key.

Can I apply if I am not in Athens or based in Greece?

You absolutely can – in fact, you are expected to.  This program has been structured exactly for people around the world to come together and venture together.

To that, access to our e-venturing platform and its services is available to anyone registering in the program. Still, there is an advantage for the residents of cities where our Partners are running the program, who will be able to more fully take advantage of The Lab by participating in the program’s onsite workshops. There are also plans to loop any international participants in, that fulfill the selection criteria, through an online connection. This is something to be developed and tested along the way.

I don’t have an idea. Can I still register?

The Lab is aimed at people that at least have an idea. This is our minimum requirement and prerequisite. Still, if you wish to give it a try, you are welcome to do so!

I only have a very basic or vague idea about what I wish to do. Can I still register?

The process of The Lab allows participants to go through a discovery phase that helps them unearth and formulate many to most elements of their initial idea. In fact many participants start with either a vague or a very different idea than the one they end up with – and doing so actually means that they truly took advantage and truly progressed!

I am already working on a prototype or have an operating one ready. Is The Lab relevant to me?

Yes, The Lab applies to anyone that is in the very early stages of a new venture or startup. Many founders or teams dive into developing a solution -coding!- without having verified either the market need or the suitability of the solution; and time and resources run out quicker than there is room for a change in direction. And even if you are well-researched, The Lab is a place for you to be, connecting and receiving feedback from our Experts and community, particularly during the onsite workshops.

After all, if you are indeed ahead and have all the answers, you will be able to effortlessly cover our basic Goals! Still, we do suggest that you take advantage of everything and consider this as an opportunity to take a second, more thorough look into every assumption, decision, and activity you have undertaken – question and refine continuously, venturing is about progress and evolution – not self-validation and rigidness.

My English is not very good, can I follow the program in Greek or in another language?

We are afraid that at the moment you cannot. The entire program and the workshops will be held in English. We are a global program aiming at and wishing to encourage people to think and act global as well – while staying local. Not to mention that for startups, which are our passion, this is vital.

Is there an age limit for participants?

Participants must be 18 years of age or older, as required by law and disclosed in our Terms of Service. That said, we do not have any other restriction either for participating in the e-venturing platform or being selected for the onsite workshops of The Lab. We stand firm in our belief that an entrepreneur has no age, it can be anyone from anywhere.

Do I need to have an advanced computer? What kind of software I will be using?

There are no technical specifications to participate as everything will be delivered through your browser (no software). You will need is a PC or Mac, an internet connection, and an updated browser able to display the videos. The platform is easy-to-use and has no special requirements concerning your computer. That said, in order to work efficiently and timely you will need to have some computer literacy particularly in searching online and in generating powerpoint presentations (the latter is essential for the Breakthrough series).

I am having other technical issues or have further questions...

There are some known technical issues with the platform, and you are bound to unearth one. We do appreciate if you bring these to our attention by contacting us so that we can resolve and keep this a fruitful experience!

About The Accelerator

What is The Accelerator and how does it work?

The Accelerator is a seed acceleration program based in Greece and working on a European and international level. More information about what is offered and who it is for, you may find on the main page of the program. In brief, it includes:

  • growth training and one-on-one execution coaching
  • mentorship and guidance through our global network of Experts
  • targeted networking across Europe and internationally
  • the opportunity to travel to San Francisco and Silicon Valley
  • pre-seed investment through our Investors
  • numerous perks in free services

The first step in joining is to prepare and submit your application. Then once selected – it is game on. The game plan is rigorous and seeded with opportunities!

How do I apply?

Visit our application page and create your account. You may dive in the application asap, saving when necessary and generating a remarkable blueprint of your startup.

Don’t miss out on our tips for applying successfully, which we created as a guide of do’s and dont’s. Our early round on March 30 is our suggestion, yet you may submit until our final deadline on April 27, 2016.

When does The Accelerator begin? What goes on in the program?

The Accelerator launches once a year and the 2016 cycle begins officially on June 6th. It has four stages:

  1. Stage I – Boosting: Pitch and training workshops, one-on-one coaching, mentoring and networking, implementation  (2.5 months: June- August)
  2. Stage II – Expanding: Our momentous US mission to San Francisco and the Silicon Valley  (1 month: September)
  3. Stage III – Securing: Pitching and refining work  (2 weeks: October)
  4. Stage IV – Transcending: Our international and energizing Demo Day!  (1 day: in November)

For more details about the schedule look into our game plan.

Are there going to be any onsite meetings or workshops? If yes, are they open for everyone?

There will certainly be workshops and onsite meetings – these are among our core weekly activities during the first stage of the program. In fact, as reported by previous participants, these are among the most valuable elements of our program. The teams that will be selected to participate in The Accelerator will be able to attend these, yet they will not be open to everybody. In case you are selected and your permanent residence is outside Athens, you will have to be able to come to Athens in order to attend the workshops and onsite meetings, as well as any other activities organized and suggested.

Can I apply if I am not based in Greece?

Absolutely! The Accelerator is aimed at startups and founders from across Europe – and beyond. You will be required to stay in Athens, at least a couple members of your team, so that you attend and take advantage of the activities and opportunities organized during the program. You need not move permanently to Athens and your company shall not be based in Greece.

I am still at the idea stage, developing, or have no market traction. Can I still apply?

The Accelerator is aimed at startup teams that already have a functional product or service, even a prototype or beta, and already have some initial traction.

The 2 core reasons for this are that: a. market traction is a primary indication of your proof of concept, which is necessary even for the very early funding stages, and b. only at this stage can teams advance at the pace required to reach the target market- and investment-ready level within just a few months.

If you are still developing, you could take this opportunity to push your product to the market and receive your first results by our final deadline on April 27. This may also be a validation for you that you may indeed advance during The Accelerator as required, even if you are beginning your sprint a bit behind the starting line.

If you have a very basic idea, The Lab is a more appropriate program to help you develop it and reach seed acceleration level. The Lab guides you through the discovery phase and helps you unearth and formulate many to most elements of your initial idea. In fact many participants of The Lab start with either a vague or a very different idea than the one they end up with – and doing so actually means that they truly took advantage and truly progressed!

Overall, we exclude no team and no project. Startup teams with a functional product and market traction are at an advantage; yet if you believe you are ready for The Accelerator then we are ready to look into it.

Are social businesses and non-profit organizations or projects accepted in The Accelerator?

Social businesses are more than welcome to submit their application to The Accelerator 2016. We are excited about businesses that balance profit and impact to deliver value to their customers and the world. At the moment we are not able to accept non-profit organizations, as the program is structured around equity-driven funding.

I have a busy schedule. Do I need to give it all up in order to follow this program?

The Accelerator is a rigorous and very demanding program, which will require your time and dedication to go through, deliver what is required, and progress to the level both you and us envision.

It is designed for people who are both clear about what they are working on within their startup, about about their strong intend to engage fully and see this succeed – which is truly the only way. In fact, the belief that an initiative can turn into a growing startup is for us an indication that you are neither committed nor aware of the effort required. We thus expect that at least the founders (those holding over 10% of the company, each) will be working full time on your startup during The Accelerator.

My English is not very good, can I follow the program in another language?

We are afraid that at the moment you cannot. The entire program and the workshops will be held in English. We are a global program aiming at and striving to encourage people to think and act global – while staying local.

After all, a core stage of The Accelerator includes the opportunity to travel to the US to engage with founders, participate in events, and pitch to investors; strong knowledge of the English language is thus absolutely required.

Is there an age limit for participating Founders?

Founders must be 18 years of age or older. That said, we do not have any other restriction for participating in The Accelerator. We stand firm in our belief that an entrepreneur has no age, it can be anyone from anywhere.

How much do you invest?

The Accelerator offers €22.000 in funds for an equity stake of 8% in your startup company. This year we are also considering a convertible note with equivalent terms. In addition to this, of course, you may wish to consider the $200K+ in perks and services offered through The Accelerator and our Allies!

Do I have to pay anything in order to participate? What is the required use of funds?

We charge no fee for the application, Interview Spree, or our 2-week Bootcamp, should you be selected to participate. The Accelerator itself charges no fee, yet full participation is required. We also expect that you will contribute with your feedback on how we can deliver even better and with your support following the program – indeed we are proud to report on a strong Alumni community!

Once selected, you will be required to sign a Term Sheet based on which your team will receive the amount of €22.000 in exchange for 8% of equity in your startup. The amount shall be transferred to you in two installments: the first half within two weeks of signing (company incorporation is a prerequisite), and the second upon program completion.

We do not set restrictions in your use of funds. This is indeed an opportunity for you to demonstrate your ability to manage your financials and turn them into results. We do require that you expense the US mission out of your investment, yet the price will be much reduced as part of the group price we will achieve for you (estimated at 2.000-2.500 euros per person for one month). Finally, it is suggested that you expense below-market salaries to yourselves as founders at this stage; not only is this an indication of your commitment and understanding of the equity stake value in your startup, it will also allow you to apply these to achieve better results to present by the end of the program (by employing an additional developer or designer, or increasing your traction through smart advertising).

Do we need to have an established company to apply?

Having incorporated your company is not required in order to apply to our program. What is needed, is a functional product/service and some initial market traction, ideally within our focus sectors (more information on The Accelerator main page). Should you require, basic guidance and contacts on incorporating a company may be provided to you upon acceptance of your startup to participate in the program. Company incorporation is the responsibility of the founders and is required to proceed with funding.

We already have some funding, can we still apply?

Yes, of course you can – get right to it! Only thing to consider is whether the funding you have received is relevantly significant (over €250K), in which case we may be inclined to work with startups that appear to need us more.

I read everything but still have further questions...

On anything regarding The Accelerator, do not hesitate to contact us through our contact form or kickstart your application here to launch direct communication with our team. 

That said, we shall not engage in personally helping anyone with their application, under our “fair game play” rule towards all. In fact, we will look into expanding this FAQ section to make things clearer for everyone.