European accelerator Startupbootcamp is launching an intercontinental program in Berlin and San Francisco that will focus on smart transportation and energy startups
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The program is called “Smart Transportation and Energy: The Connected and Efficient Mobility of People and Goods.” The San Francisco location will be the first U.S. branch for Startupbootcamp, which has eight locations across Europe and the Middle East.
In a Skype interview from Startupbootcamp’s Berlin headquarters, co-founder Alex Farcet told FOXBusiness.com he feels there’s a lot of change coming to the energy and transportation sectors.
“There’s so much innovation going on. We’re very inspired by what Elon Musk is doing with the mix of Tesla and SolarCity and SpaceX … I think there’s just sort of this macro motivation now to do things, with climate change finally maybe being accepted as a reality,” says Farcet.
Entrepreneurs looking to participate in the new program need to be prepared to fight for it, says Farcet. Founders answer 25 questions online, which the Startupbootcamp team uses to filter out hundreds of applicants. The best teams get a Skype interview, and then finalists are asked to attend a competition weekend at Startupbootcamp.
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“Then we bring the best twenty teams to Berlin … one month before the program, and we do kind of an ‘X Factor’ weekend where we take the best teams and put them in front of a pool of mentors and they rotate and get live rankings. And then we make them pitch a couple of times, we work with them over the weekend, and at the end we say, ‘You’re in, you’re out,’” says Farcet.
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“They really have to fight to get in, and there’s a sense of ownership once they get into the program,” he adds.
Participants get six months of free office space and over $20,000 in funding. Applications are available online for the first Berlin program, which will begin in August. Farcet says the San Francisco program will begin in early 2015.