Telenet's 4-month program offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to kick start their young companies. The accelerator, physically located at Idealabs in Antwerp, offers a platform for cross-fertilization and open innovation. Telenet is specifically looking for scalable startups with global ambitions, mainly in the areas of internet, mobile, media and gaming.
Telenet Idealabs has a strong competitive starting point for the selected startups: the interesting niche, market access and scalability of solutions within Telenet and the Liberty Global Group can be regarded as unique selling points to talented entrepreneurs.
But not only entrepreneurs from outside the company are eligible to apply for a highly prized spot in the accelerator. Telenet also encourages its employees to come up with good business opportunities, and sparks internal entrepreneurship. Opening a number of spots to employees gives a boost to existing employee engagement programs inside Telenet, such as the programs around customer experience, talent development and sustainability.
Since the launch of Y-Combinator in the United States in 2005 (producing companies like Airbnb, Reddit, and Dropbox), the number of accelerators has increased significantly, especially after the crisis in 2008. Between 2007 and 2013, the increase in the number of accelerators in Europe and the U.S. is more than 400%.
Accelerator programs come in different shapes and sizes, all presenting an effective way to help startups through the first difficult phase. These programs offer knowledge and support such as training, mentoring, seed funding, and access to relevant networks. The young companies usually receive pre-seed investment in exchange for a minority stake (5-15%) in the company. The programs can be sponsored by different entities, such as capital investment agencies, universities, and business schools or companies.
For large companies, there are a number of benefits to set up an accelerator:
At current, Telenet and Idealabs have supported a total of 18 startups in two cycles of their annual accelerator and growth program. More information about the program can be found at www.telenetkickstart.be.
Finch & Beak was closely involved in designing the business plan, the actual development of Telenet's accelerator program and feeding the experiences back into the company to create a culture of innovation. For further information, please contact Jan van der Kaaij at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +31 6 28 02 18 80.