The AUC Venture Lab Process And Cycle in a Nutshell
A session by Yassin Abdel Ghaffar, Solarize Egypt founder, in the Cycle 9 bootcamp
By Nour Ibrahim
Interested in joining AUCVLab's next cycle? Here is all you need to know about what AUC Venture Lab does and how it can help you and your startup.
AUCVLab is a nonprofit startup accelerator and incubator offering a general acceleration program and a FinTech acceleration program. Our accelerators grant you access to advanced knowledge and connections that, combined with your hard work, can take your startup to the next level.
While a startup needs to have a minimum viable product (working prototype) to be able to participate in our programs, it does not have to be officially registered at the time of the application. At least one of the founders needs to be willing to commit to being in Cairo for the cycle’s entire four months and to be working full time on the startup.
We select our startups based on the following criteria: the innovation of the idea, the team's background relevance to the startup as well as the team's dedication and willingness to learn.
“We check whether or not they have a relevant background, whether it’s just one person trying to do the impossible or if there’s a team related to the startup’s field so that together, they may be able to make it happen,” said AUC Venture Lab Manager Mohamed Hamza.
The initial round of selection starts as soon as you have filled our online application. If your application passes our first filtration phase, we ask you to come in for an interview.
“After we check the main criteria, sometimes we have to decide between two startups. Because we know what we offer, we choose the one that we know can benefit the most from working with us,” said Hamza.
The interview qualifies you for the nextstage of our selection process, the Bootcamp. It is a three-day training, where we get a chance to get to know you better in a work environment. We look at aspects such as team dynamics, individual personalities, your flexibility to accept constructive criticism and to apply the changes, and finally the level of your commitment and the quality of your deliverables.
The AUC Venture Lab Bootcamp gives you a glimpse of our cycle activities and structure while empowering you to enhance your pitch and business model canvas before our last step in the selection process; the panel interview.
By employing all the skills you have acquired at the boot camp, you pitch your startup idea to a judging panel. The panel is usually comprised of Abdul Latif Jameel Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship at AUC's School of Business and AUC Venture Lab’s Director Ayman Ismail, the AUC Venture Lab Manager Mohamed Hamza, the manager of the accelerator you have applied to join and a guest judge who is usually an expert from the field.
After the panel selects your startup, our team leads you through the cycle from our coworking space located at AUC’s New Cairo campus. You receive one-on-one coaching by one of our program coordinators while attending sessions given by professionals, meeting possible investors and prominent individuals from the entrepreneurship ecosystem and interacting with AUC’s rich network of alumni, faculty and students.
“The process starts by getting the startups affiliated with the AUC campus, followed by a six-day workshop focused on refining their business models. The period afterward is the validation; where they would go to the market and test their business model prototypes with their customers.
This is followed by series of sessions offered by business industries’ professionals to improve the entrepreneurs’ business skills, help them determine their startups’ final form and develop the program/service they have to offer,” said Ahmed El-Bayoumi, AUC Venture Lab acceleration manager.
At the end of the process, we are proud to provide an opportunity for our graduates to showcase their work at the event that concludes our acceleration cycle, the Demo Day. The event is attended by AUC Venture Lab’s wide network of investors, business professionals and AUC faculty members.
We also believe that our role doesn’t stop at the Demo Day, we contribute to our graduates’ startups with a seed fund and a year-long incubation period.
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AUC launched AUC Venture Lab (V-Lab) in 2013 which is the first university-based incubator in Egypt. It incubates early-stage and growth-stage startups that are chosen through a selection process that judges the novelty of the idea, the team’s track record and cohesion, scalability and potential for commercialization, as well as the team’s tenacity and commitment to success. Once selected, the startups benefit from training sessions, mentors, student internships and their presence at the AUC School of Business. They also play an active role in the AUC community and Egypt, sharing their entrepreneurial experience with students, faculty members, mentors and investors, as well as a global alumni network.