New founders often ask us what to expect each week during Flux. Here’s a quick explainer for applicants.
Our mission at Flux is to accelerate the value creation of your startup. We are not a ‘university for startups, ’ and avoid filling time with workshops or exercises that take you away from company-building. We avoid placing too many commitments on your time and energy, but aim to lend extra hands (or heads) as resource to help you move faster.
We put resource behind founders primarily to:
- Build a product that your customers love
- Repeatedly acquire new customers and grow
- Build a great team to support your mission (board, advisors, employees)
- Raise further capital from useful investors as required
After establishing the vision held by your founding team, we help your team craft a number of milestones to work towards during Flux. We expect these to be ambitious, and related to the 4 points above. We also agree on a few key metrics to track. These create a weekly feedback loop which help everyone retain focus on what matters (and provides a reference for decision making). You can line up our mentors and other resources to help you make progress against these milestones, or to challenge your existing assumptions if you get get “stuck in the mud”.
We are always available to help (working from the same desks), but every week we have a office hours with your founding team to review the plan. Our conversations are primarily shaped by weekly progress against metrics and important milestones. We know this almost never happens in a straight line. Our goal in these sessions is uncover bottlenecks in your progress, where we (or someone in the Flux Network) can offer to step in as a free resource to help you work through these problems faster or more effectively.
The second, equally important element of these sessions is to provide a layer of support to your team during tough times (they happen to everyone). Startups have previously found this one of the most valuable aspects of the programme, particularly when they don’t yet have a board. We have experience helping with the common challenges of early stage ventures, whether it’s co-founder disputes, product issues, 30 days left-to-live, global competitors launching locally, lack of adoption or the million other curveballs that come up. We are comfortable helping your team work through uncertainty and have your back.
Our mentor group set aside personal time during Flux to help our startups. The core part of this group are founders who have built, scaled or sold high-growth ventures. They can help you understand the difficult journey ahead, help with mindset, leadership, capital raising. More importantly, they can lend true perspective on some of the decisions you make today, and the long term effects that compound over time.
Other mentors bring a valuable skill-set honed by roles at leading technology or growth companies. Within the network, we also have people with domain knowledge and connections within specific industries you may be tackling, or specialists (Talent/HR, Product, Finance, Analytics, IP) who provide free consultation that you can inject as needed to expedite your progress. All have demonstrated a commitment to helping Kiwi founders build successful startup companies.
Your level of engagement with the mentor network is set by your startup CEO. Typically teams choose to work with 2–3 mentors who form an “advisory board” that meets once or twice per month during Flux. They then engage with other mentors as required to help them move faster.
Friday afternoon is a focal point for our Flux Community to come together. We invite a guest speaker to talk with startups in the upstairs loft over lunch. Attendance is not mandatory but we’ve had great feedback on these sessions from Alumni. Past speakers have included founders who have built a global technology company or people who played a defining role in some aspect of a high growth venture.
These are closed sessions for Flux participants to engage candidly and get input from others who have been through the journey. Past speakers have come from Vend, 500 Startups, M-Comm, Parrot Analytics, Tradify, Melodics, BookTrack, Garage Ventures, AirTree Ventures, Right Click Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Twitch, Facebook and Granite Ventures just to name a few. Some speakers (particularly founders) choose to share their war stories. Others choose to spend time on a specific area of expertise to help you think more effectively about topics like customer development, recruitment and HR, leadership, product management, sales, growth marketing, UX, IP protection, analytics & metrics, scaling tech, pricing, raising capital and more.
Each week our CEOs write and send a short update to their key stakeholders — mentors, advisors, employees, and current and potential new investors — that outlines:
The Good — what happened that went well that week
The Bad — what were the challenges / set backs during the week
The Ugly — what was unforeseen / a real stick in the mud!
At 4:30pm on a Friday during Flux, we have a ritual where the whole community of startups (well, whoever is in the office at the time) close their laptops and head to the loft. CEO’s share their GBU, which turns into a wider group discussion over drinks celebrating the biggest wins and talking through the toughest challenges individuals are facing. Having a group of smart, resilient peer founders in the room listening and teaching each other becomes an incredible resource — we feel it is often more valuable than any mentor or investor can provide. Founders who reside outside Auckland don’t have to attend these sessions, but most make an effort to make it.
Most of the companies we work with initially plan to raise significant capital from our Demo Day in June. The 2017 event attracted more than 400 investors. This is not a compulsory event, and we only encourage companies to pitch if they genuinely are willing and ready to raise capital at the time. Some of our Alumni have raised capital before Demo Day (they didn’t need to wait) and others chose not to pitch.
Whatever situation you end up in, we ensure our CEO’s are well informed about the capital raising process, provide significant “up-skilling” via mentors and partners and provide template resources and guides to help you move faster. We help each startup prepare an IM, DD Dropbox and Pitch Deck (with lots of pitch practice). We also leverage our network of angel and institutional investors, giving our teams warm introductions to relevant investors for their company. We believe we give Flux founders a huge advantage when it comes to raising capital to further their growth.
With 6 teams, 100+ mentors and 6 months there is a lot that can’t be packed into a high level synopsis.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Sound interesting? You can Apply for Batch 3 (Feb — July 2019) now. Applications close Dec 2.
Clint G — Accelerator Manager