Everything you need to know
To qualify for any German Accelerator program, your company has to meet our selection criteria:
For our main programs in Silicon Valley, New York, Boston, and Southeast Asia we look at factors that indicate whether your company is ready to expand to the U.S. or Southeast Asia:
For our JumpStart program located in Silicon Valley, we accept companies that have an MVP, prototype, or a version 1.0 of their product. First revenue is good but not required to participate, as JumpStart is specifically designed to help early-stage startups.
The basic requirements for your company to apply to any of our programs are:
There is no official age limit for companies to participate. The basic requirements for your company to apply to any of our programs are:
Sure! Founder nationality has no impact on our selection. As long as your company meets our selection criteria, and is incorporated in Germany, you are welcome to apply.
We always encourage startups to think about international expansion from the very beginning, as it helps you to build a scalable business model that will easily allow you to better position yourself in a global context. In terms of when you should go to the U.S. or Asia, there are a few indicators that you can look for, and your company can meet all or some of the following:
Our company scouts are happy to give advice.
Yes! As your company may be a good fit for both the U.S. and Asian markets, you can participate in multiple program locations. However, we encourage you to rather focus on one program at a time, as we require that at least one founder or C-level executive attends the program on the ground 75% of the time. On top of that, international expansion, in general, requires a lot of resources and dedication. Our company scouts are happy to give advice. Contact us!
No fees, no equity – all our programs are free of charge for our selected participants and we don’t take any equity. We provide free individual coaching and mentoring as well as free office space in the location. However, you are responsible for your own associated costs such as travel and accommodation and the more active you are during the program, the greater the outcome for your business will be. Read more about our code of conduct. In order to guarantee a spot in the program, for the New York, Silicon Valley, and Southeast Asia programs, each selected company is required to pay a participation deposit of €1,000 NET (within 3 business days of confirming program participation). The deposit will be refunded in full upon successful graduation at the end of the program. This participation deposit doesn’t apply for the Life Sciences or JumpStart programs.
We take no equity in your company and program participation is free of charge for all programs and locations. No fees, no equity, no strings attached.
You can apply online at any time. However, there are defined application deadlines for each location and class. Silicon Valley & New York:
03/10/20 for our Class 2020 - 3 (Program: July - September 2020)
06/10/20 for our Class 2020 - 4 (Program: October - December 2020)
01/31/20 - Round 28
03/27/20 - Round 29
05/29/20 - Round 30
03/22/20 for our Class 2020 - 2
(Program: June - October 2020)
07/19/20 for our Class 2020 - 3
(Program: September 2020 - February 2021)
JumpStart (Silicon Valley):
02/20/20 for April 2020
04/20/20 for June 2020
Disclaimer: German Accelerator is currently funded by the German Ministry of Economics and Energy until June 30, 2020. The Ministry is periodically reviewing all its programs and is determined to continue the program beyond the current funding period.
After we have collected common business data about your startup, a dedicated expert committee evaluates all applications based on a predefined set of admission criteria. We treat your data with utmost diligence and you will not be required to disclose information about the details of your proprietary solution. In order to evaluate whether your company fits into our programs, our selection committee needs information about your business progress, funding status, and market opportunity. If you don’t feel comfortable with answering our application questionnaires, you can reach out to our team at any time. You can find the details of each location’s specific application process below: Silicon Valley, New York, Southeast Asia (for mid- and later-stage startups)
JumpStart (for early-stage startups)
Silicon Valley, New York, and Southeast Asia: During your application, you choose which class you want to join, and at what time. The selection process takes approximately six weeks from application deadline until acceptance. Life Sciences: We accept applications for our Boston-based program four - six times per year, and application deadlines are posted on the website. JumpStart: During the application process, you choose in which month you would like to participate. The program starts at the beginning of the selected month.
Our program is highly competitive and we cannot accept all applications. We focus on high-quality and high-potential German startups from all sectors that are capable of entering a new market. We also see it as a part of our responsibility to protect young companies from failing, even in Germany if they try to internationalize their business too early while underestimating the required resources.
There is no need to because our application process does not require you to provide the recipe for your “secret sauce” and you will not be required to disclose information about the details of your proprietary technology. We will, however, ask for information that demonstrates your business progress, funding status, and market opportunity. This information is critical to help us evaluate your fit for the program. Any confidential information that is disclosed will be protected under a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
Our program is highly competitive and unfortunately we can’t accommodate all applicants. We do our best to select the companies that we believe have the greatest potential to benefit from the program. If you are not accepted the first time you apply, you are welcome to re-apply to the program based on the application deadline. To have the best chance of being admitted on the second try, we recommend updating your application with new information demonstrating additional progress before re-submitting.
Yes, of course. If you are interested in specific feedback, please reach out to our company scouts. We are always happy to support your progress!
All of our programs are designed to accelerate your global business growth and success. You can directly benefit from our team’s expertise around the globe, our mentors’ in-depth experience and knowledge during individual coaching and workshop sessions. Access to our vast global network will allow you to connect with potential customers, business partners, and investors. Free office space in our innovation hubs around the world will enable you to hit the ground running while focusing on the most important decisions. Our programs are highly customized to each participants’ individual needs in order to help you enter international markets and succeed quickly. Our programs have a different focus depending on the stage of participating startups and location. However, all of our programs are highly customized as it is our goal that you get the most out of the program for your startup and for yourself.
More than 230 companies have graduated from our German Accelerator programs so far. See our list of graduates here. Many of our participating companies from all kinds of industries have had tremendous success since graduating from our German Accelerator programs. Two examples are German unicorns Celonis and N26, and many other industry leaders and challengers. Read their success stories here.
Unlike most other programs, German Accelerator doesn’t take any equity or fees. Our program is completely free to accepted companies from all sectors. In addition, and as you can probably tell from our official name, we focus our support specifically on the needs of German startups. Similar to other top global accelerators, our experienced experts will work closely with founders and executives to develop the foundations for fast growth, scalable and repeatable marketing and sales processes, and fundraising strategies.
Choosing the right program and location is a very individual decision. Think about the market you want to enter, the opportunities you see there, the current consumer trends and business landscape. This is a good starting point for your decision on whether one of our U.S. programs suits your needs or the program in Southeast Asia makes sense for you. For life sciences companies, we recommend our dedicated Life Sciences program in Boston because we have specified experts there that support you in clinical research, reimbursement, and a variety of other related topics. The choice is harder when you want to expand to the U.S. and have to decide between New York and Silicon Valley. It’s important to consider what kind of resources you are looking for.
Another approach can also be to check whether we have specific mentors in our portfolio that you would like to work with to gear up your business development. Take a look at our mentors here.
You can find further advice in our blog and please don’t hesitate to contact our company scouts.
For those programs requiring extended stays in the U.S. or Asia:
For our Life Science program, the length of time you are required to be in the U.S. depends on your individual goals and will be discussed with the Boston team.
Our mentor network consists of experienced entrepreneurs, industry experts, and leading individuals in the respective foreign market. Our mentor list is growing continuously. They will evaluate what your company needs in order to be successful in a new market, support you in developing a strategy, and work closely together with you on the ground. Based on your company’s needs, we will match you with one lead mentor who has relevant experience and a network in your industry. In addition, we have various experts on many different topics in our pool of mentors and coaches, who you can meet in focused workshops but also in dedicated 1-2-1 sessions. Feel free to check out our mentor database, and filter based on expertise and location to find mentors that are most relevant to you. Our mentors will give you access to a vast global network consisting of many different people including potential partners, clients, investors, and experts. Based on your individual needs, our mentors will introduce you to the right people at the right time.
Our mentors are true experts in their field. They will do their best to guide and advise you on how to make your expansion most successful. They will challenge your business concept, product-market-fit, customer approach, and they might even shake a few things up here and there, and help you look at things from different angles. Spend as much time as possible with the mentors and coaches, challenge them to challenge you because in the end, it is up to you to learn and grow fast, and make the most out of your time abroad. You are in the driver’s seat and you are the decision maker for your own business success.
Our vast global network consists of many different people including potential partners, clients, and investors. Based on your individual needs, our mentors will introduce you to their contacts once your company is ready to gain real experience in business conversations in a foreign market. If you need further help with your fundraising strategy or customer approach, they can provide guidance and help, too, and will help get you ready.
We have mentors who are experts in all kinds of fields, including recruiting. They are generally happy to make introductions and give advice when it comes to operational business activities, but you will have to take care of the actual implementation. When it comes to recruiting, we are always happy to spread to word about vacancies within our German Accelerator networks and see if we know someone who would be suitable for one of our startups, but we're not further involved in the recruitment process.
We love keeping our alumni close and hearing from them. After graduating, you will become part of our active German Accelerator Alumni Network and Community that supports each other with ongoing knowledge, support and info exchange. Your fellow graduates, your mentors and the German Accelerator team will remain close to you and your company. We will keep promoting your development and successes, will also invite you to German Accelerator events in Germany and in the location. We also have a German Accelerator Ambassador Program in place, in order to help other startups learn more about their international expansion opportunities, and hear from participants directly. In this program, we work closely together with selected alumni that will share their experiences and insights of their participation in our webinars, at events, and during workshops.
The duration differs according to the program you select: Silicon Valley: The program lasts three months, with an intensive boot camp week in the beginning. New York: The program lasts three months. Afterwards, you can apply for a three to six-month program extension based on your performance and potential. Life Sciences: The Prep program is three to four months in duration, and the Access program is seven to nine months. Southeast Asia: The program runs for five months, with an intensive boot camp in the first three weeks of the program in Singapore. JumpStart: All JumpStart Classes last four weeks.
The answer differs according to the chosen program track. Silicon Valley, New York, Southeast Asia: Yes, to get the most out of the program, you are required to spend at least 75% of the program duration on location. We are committed to making the program a valuable experience for your company and we expect the same level of commitment from you. Life Sciences: Our program participants will come to Boston for an initial Deep-Dive meeting, but a large majority of the program work is done remotely. JumpStart: In order to get the most out of our four-week JumpStart program, a founder has to spend 100% of the time on the ground in Silicon Valley and needs to show full commitment.
We are committed to making the program a valuable experience for your company and we expect the same level of commitment from you. That doesn't mean that you'll be sitting in the office with us 24/7, but you must fully embrace the resources provided: meeting with mentors, participating in events, attending workshops designed to support your local network building, etc. All the while, working towards the milestones that were set for each phase of the program. In practice, you will need to dedicate quite a lot of time to develop your business in the field, such as doing market research to validate your business model, meeting your potential partners, and other regular business operations. In addition, New York, Silicon Valley, and Southeast Asia programs begin with an intensive boot camp during which we always expect full attendance (ideally by one of your founders or a C-Team member). Overall, you are required to spend at least 75% of the program duration on location. Life Sciences: Our program participants will come to Boston for an initial Deep-Dive meeting, and up to two workshops (based off the determined work streams) but a large majority of the program work is done remotely.
Our programs are free of charge and we don’t take any equity from our program participants. There are no strings attached. However, we expect our companies to become an active part of our community for their own advantage. The more present, committed, and engaged you are during the program, the greater will be the outcome for your company in the end. Furthermore, we will occasionally ask you for feedback to help us in improving our programs and services and require your input and insights to do so. We are committed to making the program a valuable experience for your company and we expect the same level of commitment from you.
At least one of the founders or C-level Executives is required to attend the program and spend at least 75% of the program duration on location. However, we recommend that at least two people participate in the program, including one with significant business background and expertise. Life Sciences: Our program participants will come to Boston for an initial Deep-Dive meeting, and up to two workshops (based off the determined work streams) but a large majority of the program work is done remotely.
We are happy to support your visa application with a letter of recommendation. However, as visa/immigration issues can vary according to your personal situation, we recommend that you obtain expert advice and/or contact the U.S. or Singaporean embassy. We can also connect you to visa lawyers if necessary. Southeast Asia: As a Startup SG EntrePass Partner organization, applications for program participants, under specific terms, will be prioritized. Entrepass allows you to stay for one year to set up your company in Singapore.
All program services, including mentoring and office space will be provided by German Accelerator and free to participating companies. However, you are responsible for associated costs, such as travel, accommodation, and cost of living. However, we can provide relevant housing information and our local team members will provide a list with research can give you recommendations. We will also provide a Starter Kit with helpful information on housing options and resources.
No, we don’t provide any accommodation for program participants. However, our local team will provide a list with recommendations. We will also provide a Starter Kit with helpful information on housing options and resources.
We are a team of successful entrepreneurs, industry experts, and investors who truly enjoy helping German startups become global category leaders. Our program is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), based on a decision by the German Bundestag. It is their belief that investing in startups is directly investing in innovation to the benefit of the German economy.
Silicon Valley: At our Silicon Valley location we offer our participants two offices to work out of, in order to reduce commuting times (Silicon Valley is very spread out!) and give access to both the “traditional” Silicon Valley with our Sunnyvale office, and the more recently grown San Francisco “city scene”. Both offices are located in vibrant coworking spaces with many startups around, as well as neighbors such as Uber, Twitter, and Google. You can freely choose whichever office is more convenient for you. All JumpStart lectures take place in the Sunnyvale office. Southeast Asia: The program will primarily include office space in Singapore’s vibrant home for startups and enablers, JTC Launchpad. Should you require to work in other Southeast Asian markets for a short period as part of the program, please let the team know and we will check with our network of regional partners for possible office space arrangements. New York: Our New York City office is located in the heart of SoHo, New York, in a creative shared working space called Cubico. Located on the corner of Broadway and Howard Street, you have access to multiple subway lines and can easily get from A to B. Life Sciences (Boston/Cambridge): Our office is located at Kendall Square in Cambridge, the heart of the world’s leading life sciences innovation cluster. We sit within a shared office space at the Cambridge Innovation Center and are proud to be a part of what is considered to be the most innovative square mile on the planet. No matter which location you choose, all offices are equipped with desks, chairs, printer, scanner, wifi, conference rooms, phone booths, and kitchen access. Please be aware that in most of our locations, space is more limited (and more expensive!) than it is in Germany, therefore please be prepared to share a desk with your fellow program participants and work closely together (both figuratively and literally ;-)).
Yes, please stop by to say hi and introduce yourself and find out more about the program, especially if you are bringing German chocolate. Be sure to reach out and let us know in advance. We certainly don’t want to miss you! You can find all contact information here.