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STING FastForward

STING FastForward is a unique accelerator program providing admitted companies with an exclusive package of funding and tailored business development support. The investment of 250,000 SEK per company comes from a group of 20 successful Swedish business angels from the Internet/media sector, dedicated to investments in STING companies only. 

The STING FastForward program brings together 7-8 promising Internet startups under one roof in 4-month batches, to fine-tune business models and go-to-market strategies.

The selected startups are brought into a unique eco-system of highly experienced entrepreneurs, coaches, investors and experts. The tailor-made program provides entrepreneurs with a tool kit, methodology and financing that substantially increase their speed, ability to focus on business development and likelihood of success.

All companies accepted to the program will receive 250,000 SEK (approx. 28,000 Euro) as well as access to the 20 investors and their networks. The investments are made by Propel Capital (formerly SPARK), an investment company set up by highly qualified angel investors for investments in STING companies only. The funding is made through a convertible note, which you can read more about here.

Due to a significant interest from startups outside of Sweden, the FastForward program is from this fall also accepting international startups to the program. To facilitate this, STING offers housing in apartments throughout the program (at self-cost), thanks to our co-operation with real-estate group Einar Mattsson.

The third FastForward batch, FFW_03, will kick off in August 2014 and end in January 2015 with a Demo Day, where all startups will demo their progress and products to an audience of VCs and business angels.

The program will run in the very center of Stockholm, at the well-known co-working space SUP46, where the participating startups also will have free and shared office space throughout the program.

What can you expect from taking part in STING FastForward?

  • A jump-start to further financing through the 250,000 SEK funding you will get when starting the program. The funding is made through a convertible note, which you can read more about here. The investment is made by SPARK, an investment company set up by a number of successful Swedish entrepreneurs dedicated for investments in STING companies only. Read more about some of the investors in Propel.
  • Evaluate and tune your business model and strategy, through weekly coaching sessions.
  • Increase the speed and structure of your business and product development.
  • Define the key drivers to scale your startup and how to measure your progress.
  • Learn and implement key methods and tools to scale – within areas such as sales, marketing, and product development.
  • Package the story, including drivers and metrics to make your startup ready for financing.
  • Practice your pitch in front of fellow batch companies, coaches and investors.
  • Expand your network of seasoned and new entrepreneurs, and investors.
  • Have a fun and really intensive period together with the 7-8 selected STING FFW_03 companies!

 What methodology will be used?

  • Speed is key. We believe in “fail fast, fail forward”. Dare to try things that are not working perfectly: prototype (MVPs), measure usage and compare to quickly move toward the usage and business models that are working.
  • Our methods are best characterized as lean and iterative. Core methods and tools include “Lean Startup” and “Business Model Canvas”.
  • Strong focus on learning from the exchange of reflections between participants in the batch.
  • Weekly planning and follow-ups together with coaches and fellow FFW teams.
  • Guest talks and discussions around key activities relevant for your venture, such as Site analytics, SEO/SEM, UX/Design, efficient development process, legal issues, sales, marketing including viral, pitch training to investors, etc.
  • Inspirational workshops by industry experts and senior entrepreneurs telling their war stories.

Who can apply? Checklist for application.

  • You have a product or service which can be developed to an international success story. And you have a passion to achieve that!
  • You have collected at least some early “proof-of- concept” in terms of (potential) users and/or customers confirming that you have a product or service that fills a true need.
  • Your team should consist of at least two founders. At least one founder should at this time work full time with the project now or at the latest within 3 months after the batch starts.
  • Your team is strong in both technology and business development.
  • Your (at least) prototype/alpha is already in place.
  • Your team should be ready and willing to co-locate with the other companies in the FastForward premises in Stockholm.
  • Your team has a willingness to learn – and to share learnings and progress – with other companies in the batch.

Cost

  • The cost of participation in STING FFW is SEK 5,000. Within that cost, your team has free access to coaches, premises, workshops and tools throughout the program.
  • In each participating startup, STING has a right to sign up for a stock warrant equal to 2% of the shares. This 2% warrant will be diluted when the company takes on equity investment into the company. When STING companies become great and the entrepreneurs choose to make an exit (which has happened a number of times for the companies going through STING), STING gets paid through its warrant. The proceeds go back to the incubator to help new companies become successful. It’s a way for every participating startup to “pay it forward”.

How to apply?

The application period for the next round of FastForward, starting in August, is now closed. 

The business coaches

A team of 3-4 experienced STING coaches – all of them seasoned entrepreneurs within Internet/media and ICT – will coach you during the program. Several of the coaches also have a background as investors in the IT sector.

Read more about STING’s coaches here.

Important dates

May 12, Application period starts
June 1, Application deadline for FFW_03
June 6-9, Teams selected to pitch are informed
June 25, The FFW_03 startups are selected 
August 18-22, The FFW_03 startups are announced
August 25, Start FFW_03!

We are looking forward to receiving your application. Please help by also forwarding this information to any other startup you think might be relevant for STING FastForward.

STING is an internationally top-ranked* business accelerator that helps entrepreneurs to build international growth companies faster. By offering support within business development, financing, and networking, we want to create the right conditions for our startups to conquer the world.
 

* STING ranked #4 among most successful university incubators, based on a UBI Index study comprising 150 university incubators across 22 countries.

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