What makes the best applicants

Since the beginning of November we have been working closely with the most promising start-ups in Agritech in New Zealand. At this point in time we wanted to share some thoughts on what makes strong teams for Sprout and other similar programme's.

Being close to half way through the programme the calibre of teams has confirmed for us that our selection criteria is on the right track. For those who are contemplating applying to a programme like Sprout, here are some key considerations for what you should consider

  • Teams are preferred over individuals:
    • Have a team. 
    • Ensure the team has a balance of skills that will cover core capability required to start a company. This is sometimes called having a ‘hacker: someone that can build’ and a ‘hustler: someone that can sell and understands the business side of things’.  
    • Having a team saves money. Sprout has seen a number of start-ups who from the outset have to pay an outsourced partner to develop their prototype or product. This is EXPENSIVE. By having a founding team with the right skills, you can get the core product development done without having to spend cash
    • It generates and protects more of your IP easily.  Every time you outsource something to a third party, you are giving up a small amount of your most valuable IP…..your ‘know how’ of how to build the product and its unique features .
  • There are some less tangible reasons that a team is preferred over an individual:
    • General energy and encouragement of the team.
    • Having a team brings another dynamic to the conversations you have with customers. Over and over we see that different people interpret things differently, having two sets of ears means you are more likely to hear the right things about where you should take your business.
    • There is A LOT of work in starting a company, having a team enables a delegation of tasks so more can get done quickly.
  • Willingness to learn and develop as a person: 
    • An entrepreneurial journey is often a journey of development for individuals. From the moment you have an idea, through to being in the market and selling, an entrepreneur will encounter new situations everyday. These situations will require you to change your thoughts and adapt.  Therefore, if you are not willing to change as person, the result will be your business wont adapt, and you will die. Sprouts application process is designed to identify whether or not that is likely to occur in a start-up.