Interview with Jon Bradford
What exactly is Springboard?
Springboard is a mentorship-led accelerator program for startups. We provide seed capital, office space and – most importantly – that magical ingredient of "smart-community" with mentors and other entrepreneurs. Springboard comes in the shape of an intensive 13 week programme, which initially ran in Cambridge and is now expanding with Springboard London beginning April 2012.
What can you offer to startups? How much funding you give to startups?
Springboard is a unique opportunity to turbocharge your startup by working with accomplished mentors and experts in a dedicated business environment. In short Springboard gives you the best chance to explore and realise the potential of your startup.
It's a straightforward deal. You'll receive £5,000 per founder (to a maximum of three founders) for which we will accept 6% of founder shares per startup (NOT per founder). We do not have any funny terms and conditions and we align ourselves entirely with the other founders of the business – effectively becoming a co-founder of the business. In addition, we provide you with office space and other services from various partners including hosting, legal services etc.
What kind of startups you are looking for?
We're focused on technology businesses and while most successful applicants will be based on exploiting the web we will also consider start-ups with a hardware element. But, to be clear, our sweet spot is web-based disruptive technologies that are not capital intensive. In 2011 our teams ranged from gaming and consumer apps to B2B software, publishing, and developer tools.
How many startups have you accelerated so far?
With Springboard we've had 10 teams which took part in Springboard Cambridge 2011. There were also 20 companies accelerated by the Difference Engine, an accelerator I set up in the North East of England in 2009, and 10 startups that recently completed Ignite100, another accelerator programme I founded last year. So it's been busy!
The culmination of your programme is an Investor Day. How many startups usually get funding then and how much money they raise?
50%+ teams get funding, with an average deal size of around £250k.
Any example of successful Springboard startup?
One which is making waves in kids' gaming is MiniMonos, who moved from New Zealand to take part in the programme. They just sent an update this week, so in their own words: "Since the end of Springboard, MiniMonos has gone from 300,000 registered members to more than 650,000 registered members. The kids' virtual world also launched branded prepaid cards in Sainsbury stores across the UK and quadrupled its monthly revenue."
Do you have an experience in working with Polish startups? Do any Polish startup have applied to Springboard?
We've not worked with Polish startups yet, but we've had many overseas teams including Estonia, Lithuania, Czech Republic & New Zealand. Perhaps it's time for Poland too?
Could you give some tips to Polish startupers?
Get stuff done.