UserApp, the startup focusing on making user management for developers easy, was in late 2013 accepted to the DreamIt Accelerator in Austin, TX. Having moved there now and being in the program, we wanted to ask them some questions and share some insights. Robin Yjord was kind enough to answer some questions about their experience and the application process:
Tell us a little bit more about the DreamIt accelerator program.
Robin: The DreamIt Ventures accelerator program is a 3-month program that ends with a demo day. The Demo Day gives the opportunity to present our company and product to a room full of investors and to give our pitch in hope for interesting partnership and investments. DreamIt Ventures took 6% equity in return for a $ 20 000 investment.
Why did you think that your team got admitted into the DreamIt accelerator?
Robin: We believe that there were at least four reasons why we got accepted into DreamIt:
- Team – Our team are able to cooperate efficiently, we have known each other for a long time and we have even managed another company together before UserApp.
- Product – Our product is a fairly new concept, is able to scale, has a huge potential market, and solves an actual need. The product have been launched and we had a couple of hundred users at the time of the interview. We know now that in some cases you don’t need an actual product. One now funded and successful DreamIt company actually got accepted with only an idea of a product
- Reputation – We also now know that the DreamIt partners reached out to their alumni companies and asked them to give their opinion about us. Luckily for us we had been successfully promoting UserApp since our product launch, which had reached those alumni companies. We were really happy to hear that they spoke well about us.
- Interview – We managed to perform well at the interview and was able to present every question with a satisfying answer. We did practice a lot for this interview. The interview lasted for about 25 minutes.
How come you applied to DreamIt Ventures?
Robin: When we started UserApp we had no thought of applying to any accelerator at all. We intended to bootstrap the company, so we weren’t thinking about raising money either. After the product launch on Oct 5, 2013 we got a lot of interest from VC’s and angel investors and still do. The VC’s was really helpful in giving us advice and one of their recommendations was to apply to various business accelerators because they offer great help and opportunities for startups.
We applied to Y Combinator, Techstars, DreamIt Ventures and 500 Startups, and got an interview with both Techstars NYC and DreamIt Ventures. During the interview with DreamIt Ventures we connected well with both Kerry Rupp (CEO) and Steven Welch (founding partner) and that’s one of the major reasons why we choose to accept their offer when they asked us a week after the interview.
What has it meant to you so far?
Robin: DreamIt Ventures is one of the top business accelerators in the world (3rd in Forbes list of top 10 accelerators) is by my opinion living up to their reputation, even this early into the program. Except from the investment, service credit and the up and coming Demo Day, what we experience in form of actual strategic business advice is great. We have a great mentor as well as great DreamIt partners whom we meet once or twice every week and are giving us advice on what direction we should take our business. They also give us access to their vast network.
Before DreamIt we focused our effort mainly on product development, we’re doing it now too but we’re also more focused on the business aspects as well. We are working actively with questions like what are our target markets, which way is the best way to reach them, whom will be perfect to partner with and who can make the necessary introduction to that person. The social events and our constant interaction with interesting and inspiring people increases our productivity and keeps us motivated to work at a high level. The other teams participating in DreamIt are also a constant presence and always ready to give feedback on our work.
The team behind UserApp is besides Robin Yjord also Robin Orheden and Timothy Johansson, who recently got a lot of attention for the 100 growth-hacks in 100 days blog-series. UserApp also recently won the best web/software category in the 2013 Venture Cup Syd finals.