24 Apr 2015

How we select startups at BGV

By Jessica

This week applications for our Summer 2015 accelerator programme closed – so we thought we’d tell you a bit about how we select startups and what happens next.

Stage 1: Written application evaluation (20 April-28 April)

Most of our applications come through F6S, with a small number coming through AngelList. We have 40 mentors and alumni who help to read through the applications online and rate them based on the importance of the problem, the ingenuity of the solution and the strength of the team. We’re going through this stage right now and we have a week and a half to review all the applications.

Stage 2: Interview shortlist (29 April-1 May)

Mid way through next week the BGV team will meet to discuss who we want to take through to interviews. We use the rating system to create a shortlist, but it’s not just a numbers game – we’re open to wildcards, stuff that sounds a bit crazy but just might work. We pay special attention here to what we’re looking for – this is where our expertise and networks lie, so there needs to be a good fit.

Stage 3: Interviews (13-15 May)

By the first week of May we’ll get in touch with around 30 teams to invite through to interviews, which will take place 13-15 May. Interviews will be face-to-face (or Skype if necessary) with two members of the BGV team, an investor and one alumni or mentor, and they will last around 30 minutes. This is where we really dig down into the business idea and get a real feel for the team. Importantly it also gives the teams opportunities to ask the us any questions they might have about the programme.

Stage 4: Selection (18-22 May)

Following interviews the BGV team will meet for a debrief and begin the task of shaping the final list for the Summer programme. We consider a whole range of things here: Is the team right? Are we best placed to support them? How good is the idea and the opportunity? Does it fit with our desired impact outcomes? Is it a good fit for our portfolio? Do we think they’d make a great contribution to our community?… Often there’s some heated debate as the competition is high.

We then take our decisions to the BGV investment committee – this is an opportunity for our external advisors to challenge our decisions, so often there’s more debate here as we argue the case for each team.

Finally, we emerge from the process with our final team selection. We’ll get in touch with everyone by phone and then make a public announcement on 17 June.

The whole selection process is an intense time for the BGV team – but it’s one we thoroughly enjoy as we get to discover so many great ideas and passionate people with ambitions to make a difference in the world.