Accelerator of the Week — Vertical Engine

I’ve never been to Israel, but I know that for a tiny country, it produces a huge number of successful startups. According to a Quora post, Israel spawns one new company for every 1800 people — by far the highest rate in the world.

True, the military / defense industry, a highly educated workforce, and a lack of natural resources all are contributing factors. Or perhaps there’s simply something in the hummus that fosters entrepreneurship?

Regardless, Israel is a powerhouse of startup activity, and this week’s featured accelerator is channeling this spirit in all the right directions.

We are please to bring you Accelerator of the Week #14: Vertical Engine.

UPDATE: applications for the next batch are open until September 27. Apply here.

The best startup ideas happen at bars…

In just 1–2 sentences, what is your accelerator called and what do you do?

Vertical Engine is a Tel Aviv based accelerator that combines the power of the industry´s upcoming leading minds with the strength of true connections. Our model is based around three major aspects: i) Global opportunities; ii) Academia deep knowledge; and, iii) Real connections that lead to actionable progress.

What makes your program different or unique? What’s your primary value-add?

Vertical Engine´s value lies in moving from a formal pitching atmosphere to a “get to know” mindset. We focus on helping our start-ups build great products while gaining a deep understanding of their customers & users. By focusing each time on a specific vertical we provide founders with professional added value and bring to the table strategic corporate partners in their field of focus.

We take no equity from our portfolio companies and have no demo day at the end of the program. For each vertical, we choose ~5 start-ups who we believe are the best match for our program and could benefit the most from what we have to offer.

Vertical Engine is about alumni, mentors, investors, academia and community members, navigating towards success in a unique, intimate and global atmosphere.

What do you love the most about working with startups?

Start-up founders are inspiring people. It is a real joy watching passionate and motivated entrepreneurs make significant progress over a short period of time.

What is the hardest or most surprising part of working with startups?

Start-ups are an emotional roller-coaster that never takes the same route twice. Really being there for the founders in their lows is both challenging and rewarding at the same time.

Do you have a success story to share? Who are the most notable or interesting companies to go through your program?

From our last vertical we’ve had the privilege of working with Rentse — a trusted community marketplace for businesses and individuals to list and book flexible and affordable working places. They are now in Berlin, growing their company @ Axel Springer Plug & Play Accelerator.

We also had Pzartech — unleashing a 3D printing revolution through an easy, local and affordable one-stop-shop platform. They recently raised seed money from the EU.

Other notable grads include ScholarGeek, Jammable & Zipler.

How, if in any way, has Foundersuite helped your companies?

We found Foundersuite while searching for additional tools to support our start-ups and we are excited to use the platform in our next cohort.

Finally, what is your best tip for running a startup?

You should genuinely listen to those who wish you well and give you advice. That doesn’t mean you have to do what they tell you.

When choosing your Co-Founders pay attention to their character and commitment, more than their ability.

Best of luck to our new friends at Vertical Engine!

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