What does Berlin not need more of?!? Accelerators! – Well, okay, maybe Berlin can actually make use of this one called AtomLeap, to my knowledge the second hardware accelerator in town, after Hardware.co.
In the meantime, my excitement over Techstars coming to Berlin, previously the latest (significant) addition to the accelerator-field, had diminished a bit, since they announced they will partner up with Metro and focus on food and gastronomy startups. However, I just realized that apparently this actually will be a different, second program, seperate from the regular Techstars Berlin program. (Anyone else that got confused by their communication, or just me?) Either way, this move somewhat contradicts statements made by Jens Lapinski, the head of the local programs, just a few weeks ago.
Anyways, so much about that, as I am not really excited about Techstars Metro (compared to regular Techstars) at all, for a number of reasons, and back to AtomLeap. The information on Gründerszene makes it sound quite promising, but for the moment, I am still a bit sceptical:
100k in funding available at the end is still not ideal – in my opinion, an accelerator should rather provide funds initially, to accelerate the startups sooner, to then enable them to look for a bigger round of funding, towards the end of the program – but it is better than most of what is otherwise available, especially in Berlin. The program will last six to eigth weeks, which makes it more of a “regular” accelerator, compared to Hardware.co that (thusfar) still rather resembles a competition at two weeks length, so it would also be a step forward compared to that. These are not the main things that make me sceptical, it is rather the sparse information on their website and in the Gründerszene article. Except that it seems to be run by someone named Robin Tech* who lives or has an office in Neukölln, it is unclear which people are involved, either directly or as mentors. There’s also no information on whether they will take equity or a convertible note for the participation in the program and in which form and from which investors the funding after the program will be available. So, let’s wait and see…
* I found someone by that name who has a fitting profile and is in Berlin on LinkedIn. Unclear if he is the same person though, as he does not mention AtomLeap on there.