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Raise Accelerator FAQs

Raise Discovery Accelerator: what do you need to know?

Community Manager Eva-Jayne sat down with co-founder and CEO of Raise Jenny to see exactly what the 8-week Discovery Accelerator kicking off this Autumn is all about. 

What is Raise looking for in their Discovery Accelerator and the Accelerator programmes? 

We’re looking for early stage founders with a technical product in build that is ready to commercialise and onboard customers that the programme can support. We’re especially interested in B2B SaaS models within the finance, insurance, tech, recruitment, climate, retail, health and safety industries. 

How long do the programmes run for?

The Discovery programme runs for 8 weeks twice a year; once in the Spring and once in the Autumn. Following this, 6 startups will be chosen to progress to the long-term Accelerator programme with bespoke development support for their business.

 

What happens if I don’t get accepted onto the Discovery programme? Will there still be support from Raise? 

Absolutely. We have an extensive network and links to support available in the ecosystem, so even if the programme isn’t the right fit for you at the moment, we’ll always signpost you to what the best next steps could be. 

Does the programme connect you with experienced founders? 

Yes. We believe in paying it forward and partner with experienced CEOs whose values align with ours to support new founders walking the same path as them. There are opportunities to connect with the Raise Alumni and experienced CEOs in our network. 

How much time do I need to commit to the Discovery programme? 

Two 2 hour sessions take place per week over the course of eight weeks. Typically these take place in the evenings or over lunchtime. It’s expected that there will be some actions arising from these sessions where founders are expected to commit time to developing business plans etc. 

Do I need to be based in Northern Ireland to apply?

No, anyone operating from across the UK and Ireland is eligible to apply. For those outside of Northern Ireland, connections to Northern Ireland via Raise can provide excellent links to other regions and territories that may open doors to new markets or investment opportunities. 

Do I have to be working on the business full time, or can I be working part time on it?

You can be working part time on the business as a “side hustle”. The programme is flexible enough to fit alongside your current commitments and will help take your startup to the next stage quickly, so that you can make an informed decision whether to take the leap to full-time startup founder. 

What can I expect to get out of the programme? 

  • A commercially viable, scalable solution that is ready to go to market and gain traction 
  • Connections with other entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts to springboard your launch, investment rounds and growth 
  • Access to a suit of tools for running your startup
  • Access to free community events that inspire, educate, connect and support you 
  • Knowledge on how to run a business sustainably

Do you have links with investors?

Yes, Raise are embedded in investor networks across Northern Ireland, Dublin and London. Our community of founders have open access to these networks. On completion of the Accelerator programme, investor demo days give founders direct contact with active investors in their industry.

 

What expertise do your mentors have? 

Please see below some background on our Raise mentors, as well as external experts that partner with us on the programme. 

Jenny Ervine, CEO and co-founder of Raise 

Jenny brings a wealth of direct experience to each and every one of our startups. As an active investor in multiple startups across multiple sectors, she has the added advantage of visibility across SaaS, hardware and digital media.

Michael McDowell, co-founder of Raise 

Michael works closely with businesses raising investment for growth and has a particular interest in fintech, regtech and other digital investment platforms.

With Michael’s role as Ireland Country Manager with SeedLegals and previous consultancy roles with Sapphire Capital Partners and the Grow VC group he has experience in supporting founders as they establish solid foundations to raising investment.  

Kris Jones, startup mentor at Raise   

Kris has been involved with accelerating tech startups for the last years, with the companies he’s helped going on to raise circa £35m to date. Previously a Chief of Sales at a US startup, helping them from 30,000 subscribers to 130,000 over a 12 month period, he’s also been ‘Head of’ within Client/Agency side marketing & operations across Banking, Retail, FMCG, Tech & IT security. Total startup and product geek.

We also deliver the programme in partnership with a range of mentors with expertise in areas such as sales, route-to-market, vision, culture, product development, pricing and customer engagement. 

Can you give an example of one of your cohort who has gone through the programme and raised significant investment? 

On the Raise Accelerator programme, Joanne Cole, founder of BrokerIQ said:

“The Raise Accelerator was pivotal in building the vision for BrokerIQ, refining our proposition, bringing it to market and raising investment. The 1:1 mentorship from Jenny and the team was outstanding and continues to be so to this day.”

“Being involved in the community unlocked a whole new network to me. Having not been part of the startup ecosystem before, this was so important. The opportunities that came from introductions at Raise undoubtedly influenced the success of BrokerIQ through support, redirection and investment – something I’m really grateful for.”

BrokerIQ stats: 8 employees, serving 8 industry partners representing 29,000 brokers, £300K pre-seed round completed, raising £700K currently 

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