Do you want to know more about what to expect when joining one of our programs and how we operate? Find the answers to all your questions below.
If your team is dedicated to turning your startup into a high-growth company that drives positive change, Rockstart is a radical partner to propel your startup forward. In short, we have the capital to fund up to € 2 million in your startup (up to series B), and even more important: we help address the most difficult challenges that your startup faces from a strategic, commercial, and operational perspective. From experience, we know that most startups face challenges in several key areas when launching their product on the market and trying to grow:
– Defining the right pricing model. Is your product too expensive or are you charging too little? In our experience, most startups begin modestly, resulting in prices that are too low rather than too high. This is a problem because it could mean that a startup has a negative LTV / CAC ratio. We know it’s hard to charge a significant price for your product when it isn’t completely doing everything your customer wants, which is why we help you define the right pricing model for your startup and find tailor made solutions to the challenges we just mentioned.
– Moving from pilots to recurring customers. These days it’s not too difficult to get a corporate/company to commit to making a budget available for a pilot, but turning that pilot into a full scale implementation is a challenge, takes time, and can often lead nowhere. We help you build a strategy that turns pilots into customers and decide which pilot customers to focus on and which are a waste of time.
– Identifying the ideal market segment(s) for your product. You have one customer in a specific segment of the market, but your product could also fit multiple other segments. You’re trying to approach multiple segments at the same time, but are having difficulty getting major traction. How do you decide which segment to focus on without spreading yourself too thin? We help explore whether it is best for you to focus on or address multiple segments at the same time and, if this is the case, help you with relevant connections.
These are just a few examples of the type of questions that Rockstart helps its portfolio companies with, and we do this in three ways. First, with the support of the Rockstart team, who have extensive experience helping startups overcome specific hurdles. We also provide hands-on support through our extensive mentor, partner, and investor network and through a customized curriculum that provides fast validation opportunities and hands-on access to experts in the domain (e.g. Energy, AgriFood, or Tech) and the startup field. And last but not least, Rockstart offers follow-on investments (as a co-investor) up to series B.
Rockstart is a privately backed early stage investor with funds totalling more than €60 million. Since its inception in 2011, Rockstart has invested in more than 260 startups and its alumni value to date is more than $1 bn. We believe in a regenerative and sustainable future and we aim to fund and empower founders to drive positive change on a global scale. The Energy fund was launched in October 2020 and we announced the final close of our first AgriFood fund at +€22 million in May 2021. We are a commercially seasoned team of entrepreneurs who have raised private capital to invest in a portfolio of startups in order to drive returns from both a financial and positive impact perspective.
Yes. Your investor(s) would probably like you to join a program because they know what kind of support you can get by participating. Early-stage investors often spend a lot of time coaching the companies they invest in to increase their survival rate, but cannot organize the amount and quality of mentors that Rockstart has available to help its portfolio companies. The reason is simple: we spent 10 years building it. Rockstart’s Programs will help you grow faster and bring your startup to the next level by teaching your team how to think through your business proposition, opening doors that have been closed, helping you with funding, marketing and PR, and making sure you lay the foundation for growth (also from personal growth and leadership perspective). We tailor the program to meet your needs.
We prefer startups with a team that already runs a business and has (early) commercial traction, but are open to discuss with single founders looking to build their teams. Ideally, the existing team already consists of the co-founders but has also hired one or more employees. You and your teammates need to have complementary skills and a positive dynamic to be able to make your business work. Team dynamics is, in fact, a critical component of the selection process.
There are several components that make up our selection criteria. Firstly, we believe in the power of a great founding team. We always invest in people first and foremost. Some of the key things we look at in the team are: the right skills and/or experience for the market you’re active in, a deep passion for what you’re building, and a track record of being exceptional, whether that is individually or jointly as a team. We look at what kind of great things have you done in the past, and for your current startup. We’re also looking for innovation. It doesn’t mean that you have to come up with a totally original idea, but your execution of that idea has to be unique.
We do not invest in ideas where you have not yet started to work on a startup. You should have a running startup that shows some traction, e.g. at minimum one or several pilots, but ideally, you already have customers or users. We’ve invested in companies who had their first MVP and pilots who were acquired for $330 million, but also in companies who had up to €50.000 monthly revenue who grew substantially during the program and raised their series A afterwards. Finally but most importantly, since we’re looking to change the world together with the founders we work with, you need to have a clear mission of how your company will help drive positive change in your domain.
The Rockstart programs are domain-focused, tailor-made programs designed to rapidly take your business from MVP to investment-ready.
The Rockstart programs run twice per year: in the spring from February to June and in the fall from August to December. Throughout the programs, we run six Deep Dives – an intensive week of workshops, 1-on-1 expert sessions, coaching sessions, peer-to-peer sessions, events and more. Each of these weeks is focused on a specific area of your business, such as marketing and communications, fundraising or pitching to give you access to the tools, people and opportunities to build a solid and scalable business. We’re happy to explain to you more what the programs are all about during a video call.