Blog authored by Vítor Andrade & Fernando Ribeiro, Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator, São Paulo
We are now accepting applications for eight of our nine Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator centers, Oracle’s residential program for startups. (Our ninth location, in Austin, Texas, will open applications in May.) In 2017, we received almost 4,000 applications for approximately 40 global spots—clearly showing demand and generating lots of competition.
It is not uncommon to meet great startups that were not selected by an accelerator, fund or mentoring program, because they did not provide enough information about their great team, innovative product and market potential. We’ve learned a lot shifting through thousands of applications and want to share five tips for entrepreneurs to deliver a killer application that stands out among the competition for our 2018 global spots.
- Add your team to the proposal and slide deck: One of the most important things in a proposal is to understand who is behind the startup—especially the founders—so it’s clear what your team has achieved together so far. As a technology accelerator, we are looking for a business- and tech-balanced team with experience of working together, and with enough knowledge about their relevant industry. Not providing enough information about your team will decrease your chances of being interviewed and, of course, being accepted in our cohorts.
- Provide enough information on your product development stage and current traction: Each Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator program has autonomy to select more early or growth-stage startups. Regardless, it is essential that the proposal present the current traction with users and/or paying customers, as well as achieved revenue. There is no right or wrong in this case. But only by knowing the full story, can we best be able to evaluate how we can help your journey.
- Describe the technology stack of your product: You do not need to disclose detailed technical information in the pitch deck, but your application should mention the key technologies (e.g.: APIs, microservices, functions, containers, DevOps, AI, blockchain, etc.) that your developers are using to implement your product, or that they are considering adopting down the roadmap. Also, we are not as concerned about the preferred programming language, for example, as with the decisions that your technical team is making towards building an enterprise offering.
- Show us why your company is or will be solving a relevant problem: Building a startup is about solving a problem or seizing an opportunity in a different way than your competitors. Presenting enough information about the problem that is being solved, the competition’s solutions, and what are your competitive advantage(s), will demonstrate your extensive knowledge about the market and your ability to change in a different direction if necessary. Please take special attention on the problem description and what makes your startup different and unique from the competition.
- Present why you want to join the Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator: Although we have just one single question in the application form on the reason to join the Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator, the whole proposal should be thought as a partnership invitation for Oracle. As an equity-free program, we are looking for startups that can be our partners on reimagining enterprise innovation. As such, entrepreneurs should take time to understand our product portfolio, our corporate expertise, and our ecosystem of partners and customers and clearly present how your startup fits in to our wider Oracle ecosystem.
Every interaction is an opportunity to build the startup brand among interesting stakeholders. It is important to present yourself the best as you can. A well-written proposal is not a guarantee of approval, but it will definitely leave a great impression on the judge’s minds.
Note: Startups that apply in advance are more likely to be interviewed by the Oracle team.
Vítor Andrade & Fernando Ribeiro
Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator
Vítor Andrade is working for more than 10 years supporting the creation & growth of innovative early-stage startups in Brazil at some of the main entrepreneurship and innovation institutions in the country. He was the former COO at Startup Brasil. Vitor now is the Head of Startup Ecosystem @Oracle, responsible for the Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator in Brazil, open for applications until April, 15th, 2018.
Fernando Ribeiro is a professional with 18 years of experience in enterprise solution development. He has already worked as solution architect, sales consultant and full stack developer in companies like Oracle, Red Hat and IBM. He currently works as a Technical Mentor in Residence at Oracle and contributes to open source projects.