The reason I applied to an accelerator was that I felt that there were many areas of our business that could be doing much better. My main motivation was to receive the the necessary knowledge and connections to make all areas of our operations more effective. Since the successful selection day for Startup Wise Guys (SWG) August, after seeing the fun SWG community and the mentors from all over Europe and the U.S., I had no doubts that I wanted to join the program.
Opening of the program at Lattelecom office (one of the main sponsors of the program)
Although I spoke with some Hungarian Startup Wise Guys alumni (Kinga Jentetics – Publishdrive, Peter Langmar – Lab.coop) before the program, I didn’t really know what to expect before joining. Here are 3 things I have learned from the program and my experience in Riga:
1. You can make lasting friendships
Working together 12-15 hours per day (not exaggerating!) each day for 7 days a week made so strong friendships that I didn’t expect. It seemed like whenever I went to the office, Sessionstack (Alex Zlatkov, Lachezar Nikolov) and WhatTheBus (Hemant Kumar, Anand Venu) was always there. Another team I got close to was Soter Analytics (Matt Hart, Alexey Pavlenko, Karlina Klemjatenko). Friendships were made working alongside with each other, playing Fussball, going out to eat together, in places as Cydonia, Lido and Tokyo City, and having drinks on Friday evenings. I can only compare these strong bonds with ones made during my time in university.
Exploring Jurmala with guys from Sessionstack and WhatTheBus
A weekend in Tallinn
2. The Startupwiseguys team was super helpful
The team of Startup Wise Guys was really helpful, beyond any expectation. Cristobal Alonso, Egita Polanska, Maris Prii, Dag Ainsoo, Peter Marculans and Alona Belinska were always ready to help, whether it was with administration, practical advice or anything I needed help with. A big thanks to all of them for their dedication and help over the past three months.
The Startup Wise Guys team and the startups in the program
3. Mentors give you a different perspective on all areas of your business
The Startup Wise Guys team made sure that we received advice from great mentors week on week. Dmitry Saikovsky and Krists Avots were our mentors within Lattelecom. Besides, we had other mentors (more than 70 in total, too many to mention one by one), who were especially helpful by sharing game changing practical advice on how to grow our business. They gave me a totally different perspective on all areas of our operation, even beyond what I expected. A big thanks to all of them for taking their time to mentor us.
As a takeaway, I would recommend all early stage startups to apply for an accelerator, as it will be one of the best experiences in their lives. It will make them a much better entrepreneurs, learning from the experience and knowledge of people who have been there and done that. I don’t have experience with other accelerators, but I can definitely recommend applying to Startup Wise Guys for any early stage startup.