The AtomLeap High-Tech Accelerator supports a variety of early-stage startups working toward the market launch of their products or services. Since we receive many questions regarding the specific criteria that guide our evaluation of applicants, we will dedicate this week’s post to clarifying the conditions that startups have to fulfil in order to be eligible for our program. Below you will find relevant information about hardware and software technologies, funding, and further requirements.
Technologies on which we focus
While AtomLeap started out as a hardware accelerator in 2015, we have since widened our scope because we wanted to support the ever increasing number of startups developing innovative software solutions. Nevertheless, our focus throughout has been—and remains—high tech. Within this broad sector, we singled out a few clusters of activity that present particular interest for us. These are artificial or virtual reality, artificial intelligence, the industrial internet of things, drone and robot technologies, blockchain-based technologies, clean and green technologies, and advanced food and nutrition.
While we tend to gravitate toward industrial applications, we are open to any solution you present. If you can make a convincing case about why and for whom your product is relevant, we will consider your application.
As our accelerator program is financed through public funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Berlin Senate, there are a few limitations to which you have to pay attention when applying for additional funds on top of the monthly grant we provide.
First and foremost, teams that have previously received funding through EXIST are unfortunately not eligible to participate in the AtomLeap High-Tech Accelerator. But luckily, nothing precludes you from applying for EXIST while you are in our accelerator program. In practice, this means that you can start the application process for EXIST while you are part of our program, as long as the EXIST funding doesn’t start until after your time with us is up. Doing so would also ensure that you have funding lined up for when our program ends.
Similarly, if you received or are receiving funding from other public sources, we advise that you notify us upon applying to our program so that we can assess your eligibility on a case-by-case basis. The same goes for follow-up financing.
The good news, however, is that any kind of private funding if totally ok! Throughout the program, you are free to talk to investors, private accelerators, banks, and other sources of private funding. The ultimate goal of the accelerator is to support you in your business and product development. We try to remove obstacles from your way to success instead of adding them.
There are few other conditions that you have to fulfil. However, there are a few noteworthy aspects to be had in mind. For instance, for the duration of the program—that is six months—you have to be privately registered in Berlin (and not in Brandenburg or a different region). The good news is that you do not have to register or incorporate your firm here, which is a lengthier and costlier process. Rather, the team members that apply for funding from us have to be official residents of the city of Berlin. You can find more details about the registration process at this link.
In addition, there is a certain time commitment that we expect from you. Thus, we require that you work 40 hours a week (most of you founders likely work much more than that) on your business or product. Hence, we would appreciate it if you are not part of any other accelerator during your time with us (as always, exceptions apply). Be aware that this requirement may also conflict with your studies, your full-time or side job(s), and other commitments.
Lastly, teams that come from within the EU are preferred (ESF is an EU fund, after all), but applicants from elsewhere are also encouraged to apply.
We hope that this post gave you a better understanding of our requirements and the restrictions that apply. As always, if you need support in commercializing your high-tech solution, feel free to explore the rest of our website to get a better idea of what we do and get in touch using the contact form on our homepage.