As we’ve said before, there is a veritable explosion of private tech accelerator programmes springing up all over Europe. The latest to join the wave is GammaRebels, a new program based in Warsaw, but aiming to attract international startups, with the focus on CEE (Central and Eastern Europe).
What makes this worthy of note is that the people involved have been stalwart startups for the last few years. Most notably is Chris Kowalczyk, who was previously a cofounder with Codility, consults with UbikBC.pl, knows all the Seeedcamp guys and is a referrer at HackFwd.com. In addition there is Piotr Sienkiewicz, who was the the cofounder of the first commercial software distributor in Poland, and Kamila Sidor, the lead organizer of first Startup Weekend in Poland. The official language for the programme will be English, not Polish etc.
Here’s the gen on the programme:
The accelerator offers a predefined equity investment of up to €5,000 (PLN20,000) in exchange for 10% equity, mentoring support and office space during the program. This is a low stake and a high percentage compared to Springboard in the UK and Seedcamp, but then the costs (staff, offices, living) in Poland are much, much lower. Seedcamp puts in around £50,000 per team and takes a variable stake of around 8%-10% of its startups, while a brand new one, Ignite100 in the UK, puts in £100k per team and takes a set 8%.
The three month programme kicks off on 1st August and wraps at the end of October with a Demo Day in Warsaw, although some organised pitch sessions may take place in parallel with local events like to EPS in Cologne or E-nnovation in Poznań).
Mentors are being drawn from C-level execs, often from country managers of the likes of Intel in Poland – there is a lot of exec and CEO talent in these countries that often doesn’t drift towards Western Europe much. Something to take note of.
People called “liason mentors”, who run accelerator programs in various countries will also be involved, including David Bizer from HackFWD, Germany; Jon Bradford of Springboard in the UK; Alex Farcet of Startup Bootcamp; and Paul Bragiel – v/o Ventures, in the USA.
“We believe that cooperation among accelerator programs makes startups ecosystem more effective and is very much beneficial for the startups in the program” Kowalczyk tells me. Smart move.
Why Warsaw? Well, there’s a large pool of technical talent, graphic designers and marketing specialists are a lot cheaper than in London, and the cost of living is also cheaper than London – although it’s on par with Berlin…