Who is eligible to apply?
The persons or categories of persons which may receive financial support in both stages:
Teams of 2-5 founders (incorporated or teams of individuals) – strong team is the most important criteria during the selection process. Solo founders can apply, however we strongly prefer founding teams. The incorporation is not a must during the application and selection process, but you will need to have a company for starting the incubation program.
Demonstrating potential for significant growth and international expansion.
In a stage that allows you to fully capture the value from participating in the program, in terms of leverage and accelerated growth.
Does Digital Factory have an industry focus?
Digital Factory focuses on disruptive technological innovation with domain expertise SaaS, Smart data tools, Digital marketing tools, Marketplaces, Cross-border e-commerce.
What are the important dates?
August 25, 2015 – Open call to apply
November 1, 2015 – Applications close
January 2016 – Programs Begin
How do you score applications?
Applications will be scored based on the following main drivers:
Team is the single most important key success factor of a startup. Therefore, at least 1/2 of the total evaluation score will be defined by following team characteristics:
Industry background – What is the team’s experience in the area they are focusing on.
Previous start-up experience – Does the team have previous startup experience?
Time of working together – How long has the team been working together?
Team composition – Does the team have specialists needed to succeed? Typical team developing a web-service would have to cover at least those areas: coding/programming, design/UI, business development/marketing.
Clear motivation and drive – We are looking for teams with vision beyond the accelerator program and financing.
Technical viability and sustainability.
During the selection the reviewers will assess the current execution where possible and in case the company is too young previous work and traction in terms of customers can be assessed. Up to 1/4 of the total evaluation score will be defined by at least following technical characteristics:
Current stage of the product – Is it an idea? Is there a MVP? Is there a working prototype?
Traction – Are there users? How many? What is the user feedback?
Market opportunity makes up to 1/4 of the total evaluation score and following aspect will be looked at:
Market size and opportunity – needs to be large enough to make this a compelling business.
Competitive landscape – should not be overly dominated and/or consist of entry barriers.
Business model – needs to be viable in today’s market.
How does the evaluation process look like?
We employ a multi-stage evaluation process to make sure we will select the best companies to work with.
The Digital Factory Evaluation Team of independent experts work through the initial applications, and about a 100 applicants passing the threshold will be selected to proceed to the next phase. The Evaluation Team will be put together of independent experts from our mentor pool alongside with our Management Team. The healthy mix of experts combines business experts, typically seasoned entrepreneurs and technology experts, typically CTOs or scientists.
At this point Digital Factory will implement a 4 step process to accept the best 40-50 teams into the programmes.
Step 1: Mentor & investor screening
Goal: select 40-50 teams. Mentors and investors are asked to screen the remaining 100 applications, and to select 50 teams that would proceed to step 2. The selection is carried out online through a web-based evaluation software. Every application has to be evaluated by at least 2 experts.
Step 2: Online interviews.
Goal: select 15-20 teams. With the remaining 50 teams, experts (from Evaluation Teams), investors, and/or mentors will conduct online interviews via Skype. Based on the interview results, 15-20 teams will advance to the next evaluation phase. Every team has to be interviewed by at least 2 experts.
Step 3: Face-to-face interviews
Goal: select 12-15 teams. Among the remaining 15-20 teams, face-to-face interviews will be performed by either the Management Team of Digital Factory, or a member of the mentor / investor network for teams from farther regions. After Step 3, approximately 12-15 teams will be selected to proceed to the final round. Every team has to be interviewed by at least 2 experts.
Step 4: Selection final 10 teams
Goal: accept the best 8-10 teams into the program.
The final selection is carried out on our premise in Budapest (encouraged), or via online participation (in case of non-Hungarian teams cannot make it to the office). The Management Team convene a Jury Board (at least 10 members) that consists experts, investors, mentors, and representatives of national/regional business support organizations or universities.
Why do you have 2 separate offers?
We do offer a Full Business Incubation Program and a FIWARE Only package for companies apply to our FIWARE Program 2016. We believe that an incubation program (like ours) can give tremendous value for early stage companies. The mentoring, financing and office space – working under one roof with other participants – can highly increase the chances to find your Product-Market Fit and start accelerate your growth. In exchange of these services we expect equity.
However, if your company only interested in the FIWARE technologies and ecosystem and want to start developing applications using FIWARE, then we would like to help you as well with some financing (equity-free EC grant) and support with FIWARE technology matters.
Do we have to move in to your office during incubation?
If you have been accepter to the full business incubation program then yes, every team have to relocate to our office in Budapest during the program.
For companies applies to FIWARE only package we do not provide office space, but for certain FIWARE related trainings/workshops they have to be present at our facility in Budapest.
What if my team from another country?
No problem at all! Just apply and after you have been selected as one of our portfolio companies you will be given 1 month notice to arrange your move to the accelerator in Hungary. From each SME a team of 2-5 persons will be accelerated. Digital Factory’s Management Team members will work closely to support with your arrival (incl. legal documentation such as visas, working permits, etc.), and finding affordable accommodation.
What is the language of the program?
During the whole program we use English.
Can I use the resources of other CEED Tech Accelerators as well?
During the incubation program the accelerators will cooperate to coordinate the provision of support services, mentor and user base, share best-practices, hold joint events (Demo and Investor days, trainings etc.) and live stream trainings etc.
How much money do I get and when? – Full Business Acceleration
Financial support will be given in 2 stages. In First Stage all the selected start-ups will receive 30 000 EUR for participation in the acceleration program. In Second Stage the start-ups with highest potential business ideas, who have proved the viability and market potential of their product idea, as well as capabilities of the project team, will receive Second Stage funding in sum of 30 000 – 250 000 EUR.
How much money do I get and when? – FIWARE Only Package
For companies who only interested in trying out the FIWARE technologies we provide 15k EUR grant financing.
For what can I spend the money I receive?
In both stages the teams use the budget amount for staff, equipment, specific consultancy or sub-contractors etc., which might differ from team to team depending on their product/service. The main requirement is that the money has to be used to make a progress and to meet milestones defined. Some examples of the costs that can be covered by the grant are:
Salary of the core team (2-5 founders) to cover the minimal living conditions in Budapest.
Living costs during reallocation to the accelerator (travel, accommodation rent and related costs) during Stage 1 or target markets during Stage 2
Business costs – marketing, extension, business model validation etc.
Travel costs – related to reallocation, participation in investor days, conferences, visits to demo and trial sites etc.)
Investments to material, equipment and subcontracts needed for product development, prototyping, testing etc.
What is FIWARE?
FIWARE is being developed as part of the Future Internet Public Private Partnership (FI-PPP) program launched by the European Commission in collaboration with the ICT Industry (see the list of different FI-PPP projects here: http://www.fi-ppp.eu/projects/).
The high-level goal of the FIWARE project is to build the Core Platform of the Future Internet. This Core Platform, also referred to as the “FIWARE Platform” or simply “FIWARE” will dramatically increase the global competitiveness of the European ICT economy by introducing an innovative infrastructure for cost-effective creation and delivery of versatile digital services, providing high QoS and security guarantees.
More info about FIWARE:
What is a Generic Enabler (GE)?
FIWARE will be open, based upon elements (hereunder called Generic Enablers) which offer reusable and commonly shared functions serving a multiplicity of Usage Areas across various sectors. Note that not all functions that are common to applications in a given Usage Area may lead to the identification of Generic Enablers (GEs). It is the ability to serve a multiplicity of Usage Areas that distinguishes Generic Enablers from what would be labelled as Domain-specific Common Enablers (or “Specific Enablers” for short), which are enablers that are common to multiple applications but all of them specific to a very limited set of Usage Areas.
Key goals of the FIWARE project are the identification and specification of GEs, together with the development and demonstration of reference implementations of identified GEs. Any implementation of a GE comprises a set of components and will offer capabilities and functionalities which can be flexibly customized, used and combined for many different Usage Areas, enabling the development of advanced and innovative Internet applications and services. The FIWARE Architecture comprises the specification of GEs, relations among them and properties of both.
The Core Platform to be provided by the FIWARE project is based on GEs linked to the following main FIWARE Technical Chapters:
Cloud Hosting – the fundamental layer which provides the computation, storage and network resources, upon which services are provisioned and managed.
Data/Context Management – the facilities for effective accessing, processing, and analyzing massive volume of data, transforming them into valuable knowledge available to applications.
Applications/Services Ecosystem and Delivery Framework – the infrastructure to create, publish, manage and consume FI services across their life cycle, addressing all technical and business aspects.
Internet of Things (IoT) Services Enablement – the bridge whereby FI services interface and leverage the ubiquity of heterogeneous, resource-constrained devices in the Internet of Things.
Interface to Networks and Devices (I2ND) – open interfaces to networks and devices, providing the connectivity needs of services delivered across the platform.
Security – the mechanisms which ensure that the delivery and usage of services is trustworthy and meets security and privacy requirements.
More info about GEs:
Catalogue of Generic Enablers: