Last Chance To Apply For Propel 2020

Kathryn Stevenson Corporate

Early-stage startup founders have just one week left to apply for Northern Ireland’s most competitive pre-accelerator programme.

IgniteNI’s Propel 2020 is an intensive six-month pre-accelerator supporting early-stage companies stress test their ideas and helping them successfully launch a product to market.

Run by Ignite NI and supported by Invest NI, the programme is seeking idea stage pre-launch companies and people working in existing tech jobs looking to make their side project a reality.

Applications close on 8th November 2019. To apply, founders can visit the Ignite NI website: www.igniteni.com.

Within six months, the 2019 programme saw teams go from a basic concept to over 350 customers in 40+ countries; closing deals in Asia; raising money; and generating 5 figure monthly recurring revenue.

Phil McElnay, CEO of MedAll, who was working as a surgeon before Propel 2019, launched his collaborative network for medics on the programme.

He said: “The programme helped us focus on our mission and our users rather than our product. No longer were we just building an app, we were forming a community of healthcare professionals who wanted to collaborate to radically improve healthcare.

“The support I received from Propel pushed me to launch MedAll. It’s like adding a set of super experienced founders to your team overnight who care very deeply about your success. Within 3 weeks, we grew to 1000 customers helping medics across the UK collaborate on ground breaking research.”

The companies who secure a place on the programme, which starts in January, each receive a £15,000 equity-free, 12 months free co-working space in one of the UK’s top co-working spaces, the Ormeau Baths, and the opportunity to meet more than 300 experienced mentors, founders and investors.

As part of the programme, teams get the opportunity to explore other markets, attend weekly workshops with experts, pitch to top investors and access a network of over 500 Ignite alumni founders who between them have raised more than $100m. Teams that excel in the programme also have the chance to add an extra £20,000 in funding by winning awards.

Anne Orr, CEO of Aluna, who took part in Propel 2019, arrived with an idea and a long list of customer interviews, leaving the programme with a technical product solution tailored by their customers. ALUNA is reinventing the board experience to alleviate the burden of governance; connecting responsibilities and duties to those who volunteer on charity boards and social enterprise.

She said: Propel pushed us towards building a basic function of product that our customers could interact with to then aid us to build the full technical product solution. Through the programme, we had access to a range of viewpoints that helped to refine our vision, allowing us to come out the other end with something much stronger and clearer.

Chris McClelland, Programme Director of IgniteNI, said:

“The deadline is fast approaching for founders to apply for Propel 2020. Propel is designed to give entrepreneurs everything they need to make a real go of their business. We give financial support, a top-notch office space and collaborative environment, world-class workshops, and exposure to real-world experienced entrepreneurs.

“It’s tailored for technology companies but you don’t have to write code to be accepted onto the programme – 50% of founders last year weren’t technical. From the first day, teams are stress-testing their assumptions, learning from customers, generating revenue, finding the best way to fund their business. Whatever it takes to help founders be successful.”

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