Sebastien ToupyFormer TNW employee
With about 2,000 accelerators worldwide, it’s really hard for startups to choose which programs to attend, if any. Especially when the differences are small, but the implications can be enormous. In May last year, I attended a completely new concept, the decelerator Menorca Millennials. Here’s what I learned.
Exponential growth, daily active users, and the number of “18 hour-days” are often the main KPIs for building a successful startup. However being faster doesn’t always mean you’re winning the race.
A small group of entrepreneurs from Menorca, a small Spanish island in the Mediterranean, believe that it’s crucial for fast-growing startups to know when to take a step back and decelerate in order to achieve long-term success. Thus they invited a group of carefully selected entrepreneurs to give it a try.
Fifteen sunny days
Marcos Martin and Xevi Fuya decided to help these entrepreneurs by creating Menorca Millennials (MM). As the world’s first decelerator, this program brings together thirty international startups with key figures from the entrepreneurial ecosystem such as advisors, industry experts, and VC’s. A fifteen-day event on the Spanish island of Menorca aimed at moving away from your classic day-to-day activities, to instead focus on long-term strategy and concrete execution plans.
MM’s founders believe that focusing on high profile entrepreneurs “mentoring in flip-flops” will not only increase creativity and innovation but will also help startups to build better strategies. All founders joining MM are at least second-time entrepreneurs, who know what it takes to build a company. Over the past three editions, their alumni have already raised more than 50$ million in funding – 42 percent of participants raised subsequent rounds of funding – and had three successful exits.
What I learned
Last May, I attended my first ever MM decelerator for a duration of seven days. This trip taught me a lot about entrepreneurial life and here are my top five takeaways to help you decide whether or not to attend next year.
1. Create room to learn from each other
Menorca Millennials made me realize just how much entrepreneurs can learn from each other when put in the right setting. MM created a strong platform for collaboration and knowledge transfer between experienced founders.
2. Investors are people like you and me
Investors are people like you and me. At the of the day, whether they are a small angel investor or the head of a big VC firm, you are dealing with people. People who want to feel some sort of personal connection with the founders of the companies they will invest money in. Keep that in mind during your next investor meeting.
3. VC’s focus now on “Human due diligence”
The nature of this program helps to analyze the team behind the startups – both in terms of business skills as well as human capabilities. By giving investors the opportunity to live with the entrepreneurs for four days, they can perform what they call a unique “Human Due Diligence.” That’s a big deal for investors since it’s a very difficult task to accomplish during a traditional 30-minute meeting.
4. Founders, the power is in YOUR hands
Each startup founder has the power to decided what’s best for the growth of his/her company. Getting investment is one of the most difficult and important decisions startups have to make, thus making sure to sign with the right partners is essential. MM unique pricing structure gives the power back to its founders, by giving them the opportunity to choose to offer equity or not.
5. Build a truly sustainable business model
My team and I usually spend our days searching for companies that have an outstanding team, a solid business model, traction, revenue, etc. But ultimately what matters is to find startups that have a truly sustainable model and are able to scale past the first couple of rounds of funding! This program was another opportunity to remind myself that bigger or faster isn’t always better, actually, it rarely is!
Spending two weeks on an island for work… I know what that sounds like. When I first heard of Menorca Millennials, I too pictured a relaxing holiday on the beach in the Balearic islands. However, after spending seven days on the island and experiencing the program firsthand, I can truly say it’s been one of the most enriching entrepreneurial experiences I have had.
Where to sign up?
The 4th edition of Menorca Millennials will take place from May 25 to June 5 in Menorca. Click here to find out more.
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.