What is Oxygen Accelerator?
Oxygen Accelerator is a technology accelerator. It is a full-time 13-week bootcamp that combines investment with intensive mentoring and training. We also offer a further 13-weeks of less intensive incubation to allow teams to complete their investment rounds.
Who is behind Oxygen Accelerator?
The Accelerator is led by an experienced team who have supported over 400 startups, and run 5 accelerator programmes to date. See details of the Accelerator team here.
When is the next programme?
The Spring 2015 programme opens for applications on 20th November 2015 and closes on 8th February 2015. See the schedule to see full details of dates.
Who is eligible?
Our Spring 2015 programme is eligible for startups from Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltics only. This means teams where at least 2/3 of the co-founders have citizenship of a CEE country.
What Countries are included in CEE?
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Austria.
What about startups who are not from the CEE?
Unfortunately if you’re not from the CEE, for our Spring next programme, you will not be eligible to apply. However you are welcome to consider our next accelerator programme, starting in Autumn 2015 based in London. We’ll be open for applications in Summer 2015. You can sign up to be notified when we open applications here. You may also want to consider applying for one of our pre-accelerator programmes to help you get ready for applying to any tech startup accelerator.
How much Pre-Seed investment do Oxygen Accelerator startups get?
You will receive £18,000 of founders investment.
In exchange for the programme, pre-seed funding, advice, mentorship, connections, and investor demo days, Oxygen Accelerator receives a 8% equity stake in your company.
Teams receive a further 13-weeks of incubation with Oxygen. Our primary aim during this period is to help you close your investment round.
Do you take programme fees from startups?
For this programme we do not.
Does the investment use any of our SEIS allowance?
How much equity do you take?
If we have already had investment can we negotiate equity?
No, its a fixed deal.
Do I have to pay back the investment?
No, it is a straight up equity investment.
How much investment will be raised at the end of the programme?
Whilst we can’t guarantee any investment for your company at the end of the programme, we will seek to understand your next stage funding requirements and get you in front of potential investors. It is in our interest to ensure you get follow on funding so we will do everything we can to help. Typically Oxygen startups look to raise anywhere between £100,000 & £500,000, and 71% of our startups have raised funding after the programme.
Can we negotiate the equity taken?
No, its fixed.
What valuation does your investment give our startup?
Valuations on this type of accelerator investment are meaningless because most of the value of an accelerator is in the programme and not the money invested. Follow on investors understand this and don’t care about valuations from accelerators. That said, we have never had a graduated startup who have had a lower valuation after graduation. Our typical startups on graduation has a valuation of £1m.
Can we negotiate the investment terms?
No, it’s the same terms (shareholders agreement) for all startups.
How many investors will I have from Oxygen?
You will have a single investor Fiedler Capital.
What sorts of companies do you select?
We fund web technology companies. Typically these are web-based or other software companies, but we’ve funded companies that don’t quite fit that mould as well. We’re also looking for companies that can have international reach. If your company is web 2.0, Software As A Service, cloud based, mobile applications, digital games or a web service, then we are interested. If you are not sure, drop us an email telling us who you are firstname.lastname@example.org. Or look at previous Oxygen startups here
We do not currently accept not for profit startups.
Are there any legal costs for the investment?
Yes, our lawyers provide a reduced cost of £500+ VAT for entering into the Oxygen Pre-Seed investment agreement. We invoice this to the teams on completion of the legals (typically in week 2).
Can we raise investment during the accelerator programme?
We have had teams do this before during programme and have supported them. However, we find the team looses massive amounts of time and focus, and it has significant impact on their ability to execute. Whilst we would not stop a team from raising during the programme, we do not recommend it.
How do we pay ourselves?
You can take money out of your business to cover your living costs. We recommend you take some out as business expenses and some out as salary. Your salary will be below the tax threshold in the UK so you will not have to pay any tax on any of this. Our accountants will help and advise you on how to set this up and record the details.
I’m a single founder. Can I still apply for Oxygen Accelerator?
No, we only accept teams of founders, as in our experience and research this is what puts you in the best position for success. You can read more about this here.
What do you define a founder as?
A founder is a person who is currently or going to be an equity partner in the business when the Ltd company is created (prior to programme start or in week 1). We prefer founders to be equal or near equal equity partners.
We have outsourced our development, is that ok?
Outsourcing your development is fine for building a prototype, but doesn’t work in the long run for a startup. It is particularly difficult to use an outsourced development company while you are on an accelerator. The speed at which you need to iterate your product means that rarely does your outsourcer keep pace with you and the hours you are working. The number of iterations you will be requesting also has a significant cost impact with an outsourcer that will stretch budgets. Lastly an outsourcer will do as you ask but will not provide you with technical leadership like a CTO would, technical leadership is critical with a tech startup. We highly recommend finding a tech co-founder.
What is included in the programme?
Take a look at the programme structure to see what is included.
Will we have time to develop the product while we are on the accelerator?
Yes, we are split 50/50 between learning & support activity and product development. Of the 65 working days of the accelerator you have 35 days of product development time, not including the 26 weekend days. So plenty of time to build on the product during the accelerator.
Where will the programme based?
Our Spring 2015 programme will be based in central Birmingham, UK.
Do I have to be there for the entire programme?
Yes. You must be based with us for the entire programme (13 weeks), as the programme is incredibly intensive and we believe it is essential to focus entirely on your startup for the duration of the programme. Please plan to arrive a week before the programme starts to allow yourself time to settle into the accommodation and find your way around the city. Also note it can take anywhere between 3 & 6 months after the programme has finished to close your investment round, so you should plan to be around for at least 6-months.
Where will we live while we’re on the programme?
It is your responsibility to find your own accommodation, however we will do what we can to help. Our experience is that the minimum contract length you will be able to sign with a landlord is 6 months.
Do I need to provide a full business plan with financials?
No, just complete our short on-line application form.
When is the deadline to apply and what’s the overall time-line?
Check out the schedule for dates.
Where is the Oxygen Accelerator office and what’s it like?
You can see details of the office space here.
What is provided in the office?
We provide a desk, chair & an internet connection. We suggest you bring your own printer/scanner and stationery for your team.
Will it be hard work?
Of course, this is a 13 week intensive boot camp, it’s your company so you set your own schedule and office hours, although we’ll be working really hard for you and we’ll expect you to work hard too.
I’m concerned about my Intellectual Property. Should I be?
We see hundreds of applications and many of them include similar ideas. For this and other practical reasons, please don’t ask us to sign an NDA. Our application does not ask for your “secret sauce” and there is no reason for you to disclose this to us if you’re not comfortable doing so. We want to be running Oxygen Accelerator for years to come and we can only achieve that if we have the trust of the tech community so it is not in our interest to release any of your IP.
We’ve already taken some funding. Can we still apply?
Yes, many of our startups have already received investment when they apply.
Can we do it without moving to where you are?
No. This is a tried and tested model and only works if you are here for the duration of the programme.
Can you get us visas?
No, sorry, we can’t do that for you. But we will help where we can. Visit this Government site for more information about obtaining a ‘prospective entrepreneur’ visitors visa, or contact us if you still have questions.
Do we have to start a company in the UK for you to invest in us?
Yes, but that’s usually not a problem. It’s easy for foreign nationals to start companies in the UK and investors prefer them. Getting a UK bank account is usually the harder thing and can take some time. We will help you with all of this in week 1.
Do we have to have a passport?
Yes, in order to open a UK business bank account you will need a passport. A national Identity card may get you into the UK but it will not be enough to open a business bank account here.
What happens after the 13 weeks?
We will continue to provide you support for as long as you need it. You’ll join our growing community of Oxygen Alumni, and we’ll regularly stay in touch with you with meetups, events, news, investment information and anything else which might be useful.
What publicity requirements are there for the programme?
All teams should display the Made @ Oxygen Accelerator icon on their company website’s About Us page. Oxygen Accelerator should be mentioned in any press releases or publicity during and up to 12 months after the programme e.g. “Oxygen Accelerator 2013 backed Company X signs £1,000,000 investment deal with huge Venture Capital company Y”.
Do you have a recommended reading list?
Yes we do. Read these books before starting on Oxygen – Oxygen’s recommended reading list.
We are a hardware startup, do you provide makers space?
We don’t provide a space ourselves, but in both cities we run the accelerator there are plenty of facilities available:
Birmingham – fizzPop
How much does it cost to live while we are on the accelerator?
These are estimated costs:
Birmingham – per month
Travel -£0 (walk)
Food – £400
London – per month
Travel – £130 (tube travel)
Food – £400
I have another question.
Sure. Just drop us a line on email@example.com and we’ll do our best to answer it as soon as possible.