The last 12 weeks were fast-paced, thrilling, tiring, exceptional. From the former acceleration programs we delivered, we knew that Maze X required a customised approach, an impact entrepreneurship community, an extended network of experts and mentors. As expected, the nine finalists had very different needs and goals.
- Chatterbox and MyPolis were focused on developing a corporate pilot with BNP Paribas and PLMJ, respectively
- SitEinander was investing a lot of resources in launching the new version of their platform
- RNTERS required some strategy and business model realignment and prepared another successful summer with Lazy Campers (their rental camping business)
- TUKI worked on finding their perfect pitch for commercial prospects
- Goodbag wanted to enter the Portuguese market while strengthening their sales in the German-speaking
- Urban Food Box was looking for funding and a corporate partner to test its first pilot with
- Springkode improved their branding and communication strategy
- Trigger Systems focused on internal structure and onboarding new big clients
Despite the different goals, all founders worked hard to make their impact businesses move forward. On week 12 of Maze X, we created space to talk and give feedback on our joint work in the past three months, acknowledge and celebrate the milestones and in planning the months ahead.
Individual feedback sessions with startups
It took us one year and several acceleration programs to get to Maze X first cohort. We are very proud of the startups and our work together. We also know that there is always room for improvement, and the best source of information is the feedback of the people we serve, the impact entrepreneurs. On the last week of Maze X, Rita andÂngela sat down with the founders to collect their feedback. At the end of the sessions, they talked about the next 6-months and how the Maze X team can serve them best for the challenges ahead. Here’s the result:
What worked well at Maze X
- The customised approach allowed to work towards the different outcomes the startups were aiming at such as customer acquisition, raising investment, partners for pilots
- Personalised intros made by the Maze X connected the startups to potential customers, suppliers, testers that turned out to be relevant leads
- No competition among startups arose from an environment of solidarity and cooperation among participants
- Pitch Practice 2-day event contributed to the success of the Demo Day and strengthened founders commercial skills
- Extra-mile 2-day event gave the necessary boost to wrap up the design and planning of the corporate pilot testing with Maze X corporate partners, PLMJ and BNP Paribas
- Investor day benefited significantly from a customised allocation of investors with founders based on profiles and interests
- SEO individualised support from the expert Tiago Campos was put into practice to ensure an upgrade in all startups’ optimisation
- Maze X Sunsets at the rooftop of Casa do Impacto were excellent to introduce the participants to the impact entrepreneurship ecosystem in Lisbon
- Welcome to Lisbon guide helped to a smoother arrival in Lisbon for the foreign participants
What can be improved at Maze X
- Onboarding week can be more intense on social activities to give time for the participants to get to know one another
- Ventures’ progress tracking can follow more precise and consistent KPI’s
- Implement a system to inform participants of their colleagues’ progress throughout the programme so that everyone knows where they are at
- Align expectations with mentors and startups from day 1 and to ensure effective communication
- Invest more resources on wellbeing support to founders
- Improve space design to ensure all needs are met such as phonecalls booth
- Help startups navigate the intense events period in Lisbon throughout June
- More experimental workshops to allow the development of practical skills in areas such as digital marketing and sales
Maze X Sunset #5 — The Last Dance
On July 31st we got together to dance one last time with the help from our friends from Dance Dance Dance, an international party family throwing “house parties that outgrew their houses” in Lisboa & London. The Maze X Sunsets were created to FOSTER CONNECTION and BRING NEW PEOPLE into the scene. Success meant to grow our community and make IMPACT THE NEW COOL. I guess it is now safe to say we nailed it. Check out the sweet memories from our last dance here.
Farewell Maze X at the beach of Carcavelos
We were delighted to learn that most participants chose to stay in Casa do Impacto working in the next 6-months. Although, not a formal farewell, we felt like celebrating the end of the acceleration period. On August 2nd, the MAZE team and the participants got together at Carcavelos beach for a farewell event with beers by the sea.
The sun was up, and so was the wind. We sat at one beach bars drinking beer and playing a School of Life game. We shared things we have not done before. Then, after a few beers, the tolerance for deep conversations lowered, and we decided to explore the beach.
As the sun was coming down, the wind got stronger and started sand blowing, so we climbed to the lifeguard platform to watch the sunset. There was not a soul left at the beach except for Nikita and his daughter by the water. We had our sound speaker with us. At a certain point, the Rocket Man started to play. It is a song about a father whose work as an astronaut is making him leave his family behind because the draw of the stars is too great. Being an impact entrepreneur is a passionate business. How else could the entrepreneurs find the grit and perseverance they need to achieve their vision? Maze X was created to support impact entrepreneurs be their own best versions of Rocket Men without leaving anyone behind. With our programme, we hope they remain drawn to their mission, keep their feet on the ground, on our land, our planet and our people. There is where we all need to be.
Maze X was conceived and initiated by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations and MAZE, with the law firm PLMJ joining as a founding corporate member and BNP Paribas, Hospital da Luz Learning Health, Casa do Impacto as partners.
Originally published at https://maze-impact.com on August 7, 2019.