Sweden’s THINK Accelerate: “We Cut Away The Hype And BS!”

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Cutting the hype and BS to support startups in growing is one of the main objectives of Swedish THINK Accelerate. Head of Programs, Jenny Sandberg, on the benefits for startups and working with corporate partners like IBM, Microsoft, and Google:

Jenny, how would you describe THINK Accelerate in a few words?

THINK Accelerate helps promising, early-stage technology startups grow through business coaching and mentoring. We have an international advisor network, a great co-working space and give them the opportunity to build valuable connections with potential investors. We cut away the hype and BS and help our startups focus on the right things.

What is your role at THINK Accelerate and how did you get involved?

We are three people working at THINK. Our Managing Director, Alexander Bastien, is a great coach with years of experience in the startup industry and a wide network. We also have Nelly Paulsson who is our Head of Communications and very supportive of the startups – helping them out with design and content. Then there is me, I got involved last year. I have been a part of the startup industry for the last five years, both running a startup and coaching in different organizations. My role at THINK is Head of Programs which includes operating the accelerator and coaching the teams.

Sweden's THINK Accelerate: "We Cut Away The Hype And BS!"

With your current acceleration program, you focus on supporting young startups to grow. What can you tell us about the startups you’re supporting?

We just started the Spring Batch ’18, which is our 8th batch, and I am proud to say that we have strong teams who are focused and very motivated. We also launched THINK Growth – a growth stage program. THINK Growth targets startups that have come a bit further on their journey, raised their first investment and/or have been through THINK Accelerate or a similar program before.

In our Spring Batch ’18, we currently host eleven startups:

You are known to invite leading industry experts to host workshops as well as tailored coaching and introductions to investors. What does THINK hold in store for the current startups?

A lot of exciting things! Everything we do in the program is carefully designed to set our startups up for success. We provide the knowledge they need, protect them from the hype and BS and help them avoid common pitfalls and mistakes. We do this by bringing in experts from around the world to host workshops, provide coaching and mentoring to help out as much as possible. One of the most important things we provide is the network and community. Being a part of a context and with people who are driven and building something just like themselves as well as being able to get connected with important people from business and government and investors – THINK facilitates all of this.

You work with leading companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Google, among others. In what ways do your startups benefit from these partnerships?

The startups receive free services and support that can help them build their startup. The deals are worth over $300,000 and are from worldwide known companies such as the ones you mentioned. Other partners also include Hubspot, Twilio, Sendgrid, Trello, and Stripe.

THINK Accelerate has already hosted seven batches including 54 startups out of which 34 were funded. What expectations do you have for your current batch?

We expect a lot of things. One part of the program is that we get the startups ready for investment, however, only the future can tell us the result of that. Each team has their own goals and challenges to solve. At the end of the program, we arrange HBGTECH, the biggest tech startup event in Helsingborg. During the event, the current batch will take the stage and pitch in a room full of investors. Their journey doesn’t end after the three months with us are up – we are very honored to have been a part of their adventure and our support continues long after the program has ended.

Can you share which startups success stories went through your program already?

Fieldy, Bilprospekt, Ikoncrafts, Hoofstep, Faves, and Brantu are all examples of success stories. 85% of all startups that went through the program are active – which I think is a measurable success factor. We’ve had exits with Bilprospekt & Iconcrafts. Fieldy a digital tool for the construction industry is growing fast, Swiftcourt runs a legal tech company and Hoofstep use AI for instant knowledge of a horse’s health. All of the founders of these startups come back to us as mentors in the program. I think that is a success  – when startups are helping other startups – that what makes the community.

What’s next for THINK Accelerate? Any info about upcoming projects you can share?

Part of our goal and mission is to grow and strengthen our startup community. In order to do that we believe that all stages in the journey for entrepreneurs are important to support. Close to summer, we are having the second batch of THINK Forward which is a pre-accelerator program, helping idea stage founders test and develop the concept and get ready to join an accelerator. Startups that want to join this batch can stay updated on our website.

We are also co-organizing the upcoming Smart City Hackathon together with OpenHack, IKEA Digital, Helsingborg Stad & Oresundskraft. That’s exciting!




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