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New one-week accelerator aims to derisk ventures faster

23 Apr 2018

Today sees the launch of ZeroPoint Ventures’ new one-week ‘mini-accelerator’ programme, ZeroPoint Sprint (0.Sprint), aiming to help more ventures realise the opportunity cost of building startups and encouraging them to fail faster.

ZeroPoint Ventures co-founder Dan Khan and 0.Sprint Accelerator programme director says, “The biggest factor causing most startups to fail is wasting time building a product that no-one wants; something which happens a lot more often than you’d think.

“Startups need to make decisions quickly and adapt to the market fast to stay competitive. We focus on developing that speed of thinking, which is an essential part of entrepreneurship.”

ZeroPoint’s 0.Sprint programme aims to turn the traditional startup accelerator model on its head by compressing longer-term three to six-month programmes into just one week.

Khan says, “We examined other startup programmes we’d worked on, including our own, and asked how can ventures get the same burst of intensive support and similar results, but ten times faster?

“Our new 0.Sprint model adapts the ‘battle-tested’ Google Ventures Design Sprint model and mashes it up with our own lessons learned running accelerator and incubator programmes. In essence, we’re, accelerating the accelerator model.”

The one-week 0.Sprint programme encapsulates peer support through a cohort-based approach and provides a structured environment to experiment, validate, and learn from experienced startup mentors.

Whilst the programme is designed to be a fun event, there’s a serious side to the one week format.

“This [format] allows a real venture to test quickly whether what they’re thinking of doing is the right direction, and if not, pivot much faster than the 6-12 weeks we’ve seen in other programmes.”

The new accelerator would be suitable for founders wanting to test a new startup idea; a venture that’s already in the market and looking to their next stage of growth; or a non-startup business that’s looking to learn the ‘startup way’ of testing new ideas.

Khan adds that while the format absolutely works for product validation or growth goals, he hopes people will use the format to accelerate more ambitious goals like forming a board in a week or even validating and entering a new market in a week.”

ZeroPoint Ventures is running the inaugural programme in Auckland on June 11-16 as a not-for-profit activity.

“Our team has spent the last 10 years building and contributing to the grassroots startup community in NZ through similar events which are low-cost for startups to attend,” Khan says.

“We wanted this one to be no different. Removing the profit-making imperative allows us to focus on providing each venture maximum value and avoid resorting to founder-unfriendly methods of sustainability.”

Alongside Callaghan Innovation’s continued support of ZeroPoint Ventures in the incubation space, the launch of the new 0.Sprint programme is supported by MYOB, ATEED, The Generator, Massey University, Pixel Fusion, and Tower Insurance.

“We’re delighted to have such great partners on board who are committed to growing the grassroots entrepreneurship scene in New Zealand and support a goodwill model of giving back,” says Khan.

“We’re grateful our partners have offered up a number of scholarships to allow bootstrapped or pre-revenue ventures to attend the programme.”

The pilot programme is designed to complement other startup programmes in the market and provide short bursts of venture continuity after traditional accelerators and other programmes finish.

“The goal is to provide an open-source template to allow others to scale support and impact into regional New Zealand while providing central support through virtualised mentorship,” Khan adds.

The first event in Auckland will have limited tickets based on the venue capacity and will be available from today on a first come, first served basis.

“While it’s hard to respond to change sometimes, we’re moving to fill the gaps we still see in the startup community.

“We’re excited to evolve and iterate our support to scale our impact and help more startups be successful, sooner.”

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