Start-ups: apply 365 days a year!

As we launch the selection process for the 9th season of the acceleration programme, we have introduced two big novelties: we are moving from 2 to 3 batches per year, and you can now apply all year long.

The growing drive for entrepreneurship in France and the success of our acceleration programme have resulted in almost 3000 start-ups submitting their applications to NUMA in the last five years.

Our programme’s selection process had not changed since its creation in 2011. Following an in-depth study of these many applications and in order to better meet your challenges and ours alike, we have decided to implement some changes.

Up to now, our year was punctuated by short periods of calls for projects during which applications were received from start-ups wishing to join our programme. We are keeping our traditional pace of several batches per year but from now on, you can submit your project at any time, starting now.

Another significant change: we are moving from 2 to 3 four-month seasons per year.

Our method is the same, only the selection process is changing

Our acceleration model per four-month season has amply proved its effectiveness. The cohesion between start-ups in the same season is a major lever for each of them. The programme’s intensity over a defined period also significantly boosts their development.

Our model and our methods therefore remain unchanged. We are simply increasing the number of seasons, from two to three per year, and making the selection process continuous.

This means that the new selection process takes place in three phases:

  1. Submission of your application on-line at any time 
    To submit your application to us, you must complete a questionnaire of around fifteen specific questions via the site. This questionnaire is then assessed in the following days by the acceleration team and experts in the NUMA network, in France and abroad (entrepreneurs, technical experts and specialists in your industry).
  2. Selection for individual interviews
    You will receive word within four weeks at the most, informing you whether you have been selected to continue the process and present your project in front of a panel. The following week, you will meet a panel made up of NUMA members and experts selected specifically in line with your application.
  3. Confirmation of your acceptance 
    You will be informed in the following days about the outcome of your application and your possible acceptance onto the next season. If you are accepted, you will enjoy a close relationship with NUMA and its teams until you join our programme.

Crucial selection

We carefully select the start-ups that have been making up our batches for eight seasons now. Out of the many applications we receive, only a small number of start-ups join our programme following a very stringent selection process. This highly selective method is a strong pledge of the quality of our assistance. The best start-ups and the best mentors create the best programme over the seasons.

The entire team is passionate about the selection process which involves the broader NUMA ecosystem and its alumni. We review hundreds of applications and are fortunate to meet many teams, all of whom are highly motivated. This work is also gruelling due to its scale. We know that making a selection mistake could impact the destiny of a structure and of course that of its co-founders.

For each season, we select around 15 start-ups. We fill the places on the season gradually through regular panel sessions. Please note that if we fill the season during the first sessions, applications do remain open for the following season.

To conclude, we encourage start-ups not to wait until the last day before the start of a season to apply. We have more time to review applications from start-ups who submit early. This responsiveness also tells us a lot about your ability to take action quickly. Rest assured that many other criteria come into play when assessing your project.

Well-honed selection criteria

We are often asked what makes a start-up stand out and which are the prominent qualities of the start-ups we select. The thousands of applications that we have reviewed have enabled us to increasingly fine-tune our selection criteria.

The quality of the application

The quality of the application is as important as the application itself. The care taken in presenting your start-up can be decisive. Fiodor Tonti, one of our Resident Experts, has written an excellent article “How to apply successfully” on this subject. To gain an understanding of the required level of quality, we also recommend that you read the article from the Zero to Heroes blog.

The quality of the team

This criterion is both the most important and also the most difficult to assess: personalities, aspirations, knowledge, focus, leadership: all these individual facets come together to make dream teams. It is important to note that we do not accept teams with a single co-founder or in which the main co-founders are not invested full-time. It is impossible to make progress quickly enough without a full team.

The team’s full availability

Full-time presence is required. We do not accept teams who cannot be on-site, in Paris, for the four months of acceleration. The programme only works if the founding team is fully present.

A technical co-founder

You must be able to iterate your project and to grow very quickly. To do this, the active and constant participation of a technical profile is essential.

The project’s potential and market approach

We carefully consider the level of relevance with which the team has validated a demonstration of interest from its users: user testing, MVP, iteration.

The level of knowledge of the current, past and future competitive playing field is part of this demonstration. Who are the competitors? Which start-ups have already failed? Why did they fail? What is the maturity of the different players? What are the entry barriers? In short, all the factors that let you be sure that your company is going to revolutionise the market.

Knowing how to adapt, to be flexible, to understand your market: this is what we recommend to you, and it also applies to us.

If you would like to benefit from the assistance offered by our acceleration programme as early as season 9 starting on 20 June 2016 :

> APPLY NOW on <

We can’t wait to find out about your project.

The NUMA Acceleration Team