10 things you should know about Sparklab

This is an updated version of the article originally published by FintechZone.

We asked István ’Steve’ Südy, head of Sparklab, 10 questions you might also want to know the answers to.

  1. Who can apply for the program? Private people, corporate entities, teams, doers?

Steve: We are open to private individuals and teams as well. The ideal applicant is a team which encompasses business and technological competences as well, however we do not limit the source of applications to just startups — we welcome teams from other organizations, educational institutions and from within our parent organization: NN Insurance, as well.

2. What kind of commitment do you ask from the teams in order to be approved?

Steve: If selected, the applicants must dedicate full attention to their project during the entire program.

3. How many teams will be selected and approved in the program?

Steve: We plan to start working together with a maximum of 5 teams. We want to cooperate with a small amount of projects at once, so we can provide maximum attention to them.

Sparklab by NN, Batch #2, Day 1

4. What is the selection process?

Steve: The applications can be submitted through an online form. In the first round they will be evaluated by the mentors and we will set up a short-list based on the feedback. This list will be presented to the leadership of NN Insurance Hungary where the most promising projects will be selected.

5. How is the program set up and what will the teams get during the program?

Steve: Sparklab is a 3-month incubator program consisting of 3x1-week bootcamps, built on 3 pillars:

  1. The first pillar is „Discovery” where the selected founders and teams learn to discover their target market, and unravel the thoughts, emotions and needs of their potential customers.
  2. The second pillar is „Building”. Here we show the teams how they can consider the needs of their customers in the early development phase (wireframing, prototyping) and how to build those into the development process.
  3. The third pillar is „Selling”. This pillar is to acquaint the startups with sales, marketing, growth hacking methodologies, tools and tactics to sell their value proposition on the market and to investors.

6. What does Sparklab ask from the teams? Equity?

Steve: We don’t take equity in return for the program. We only ask the teams to fully focus on the project and to develop products or services which are ready for the market .

7. How much effort do they need to invest on a weekly basis?

Steve: We organize three bootcamps during the three months. These bootcamp weeks are full of workshops where the startups will get „homework” after the sessions. Every two weeks — aligned with agile methodologies — we plan sprints together with the teams to lay out the work for the next two weeks. For startups operating outside of Hungary we can do this online. We also have some weekly sessions like office hours, where we see what extra help the teams require, and pitch training to help them master the art of selling their idea. These can be done over Skype. The rest of the month is there for them to build their business.

8. Will the teams hear about the operation and plans for innovation of NN Insurance Hungary?

Steve: It’s very important for us to give a comprehensive overview on NN Insurance’s aims, operation, and digital plans for the future to the participants. Therefore, we will involve NN Insurance’s experts and if it’s necessary they will serve as mentors to the teams. The more we get to know each other the easier it will be to create successful projects together.

9. What should the teams achieve by the end of the program?

Steve: The purpose of these three months is to have a working prototype or — ideally — a market-ready product by the end of the program. This is more-or-less a full time job.

10. What is your plan with the teams at the end of the program?

Steve: The teams will have to present their progress and results at the Demo Day. The presentations will be delivered not only to the NN Insurance leadership, but to investors, business angels, corporations, media and other interested parties as well.

+1 What areas do you accept applications from?

Steve: Mainly, we are looking for solutions that improve people’s quality of life. These solutions can be related to healthcare, sports, and safety among others. Actually we do not want to limit the applicants’ creativity on what they feel “improving quality of life” means. These could be insurtech and fintech related solutions as well — as long as they are client facing solutions that have a clear benefit for the quality of life of the user.

For more info visit http://sparklab.cc.