HackFwd – The slow-burn European accelerator is speeding up

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Back in June last year Lars Hinrichs, the founder of LinkedIn competitor XING who exited for €48.3 million created a new startup investment vehicle dubbed HackFwd.

At the time it was announced that HackFwd would tale a 27% stake of a company (US-based YCombinator takes around 6%) and a run a year-long programme for selected startups. Funding amounts to up to €191,000 (depending on the size of the team) for the year. Founders keep 70% equity, with 3% going to advisors (this is compulsory) and 27% to HackFwd. However, that said, they then take care of “legal and admin stuff… so you can focus on your product.”

It was a very unusual move – usually accelerators are around 3 months long.

Since then we’ve not heard much. But recently I was the first journalist to be invited to a HackFwd “Build” event. Four times a year, the teams they have invested in meet usually somewhere sunny like Mallorca, and go over their progress to date. The startups I met were generally highly technical in nature – all consumer plays, but very, very technically oriented. This makes a refreshing change from some accelerators, where startups can often seem less than technical. After all, this is the Internet.

Where HackFwd goes now, will be two fold. They are organising HackNow – a competition aimed at Your people across Europe. Plus, they will run an open pitch event in Berlin PitchInBerlin during their next “Build” event.

I caught up with Lars a the Mallorca Build event to really find out what makes HackFwd tick.