Q. How does the application process work?

A. There will be 2 cohorts going through the program, and each cohort will have a separate application round. To apply to either cohort once the applications open, submit the online application form.

As part of the application, you will be asked to submit your pitch deck. You can find a template and tips on how to create your pitch deck here.

Once you submit your application, our team will review and reach out to the top applicants for an initial phone screening. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to participate in a final interview.

Q. What are the criteria to apply?

A. We are looking for startups who are:

  • Technology or technology-enabled solution
  • Solving a problem for specific target customer
  • A capital-efficient business
  • Have potential to address global markets
  • Have a functional prototype with early traction
  • Have a cross-functional team with deep understanding of the market 
  • Offer a unique solution or unique application in a regional setting 
  • Have a defensible position (IP; network effects; domain or region expertise)
  • Are highly scalable (via digital distribution or ability to scale sales)
  • Have clear monetization strategies
  • Pre-Series A and VC backable

Q. I am a European startup. Is it necessary to register my company in Georgia?

A. Yes. While you do not need to be registered to submit your application, all companies must register in Georgia to be able to participate in the program.

Q. What are the expectations of the program participants?

A. During the intensive programming periods (e.g. the boot camp and 6-week intensive), founders should plan to be available between the hours of 9 AM – 6 PM during the week, Monday through Friday. During the remote experimentation and follow-up periods, founders can maintain their regular work schedules off-site, but should be available for up to 1-2 hrs a week for office hours and check in calls.

Q. How does this program differ from other 500 programs?

A. This is the first program 500 is running in Georgia. The program will combine 500’s global expertise with the regional experience of our local partners to provide the highest value program to founders in the region.

Participating founders will engage with a broad network of startups, investors, and mentors that are relevant to the Georgian program.

Q. Is there an investment component to the program?

A. Participating startups will be considered for investment from Bank of Georgia Group PLC.*

Q. How much investment can I receive?

A. All startups participating in the 500Georgia program will be eligible to receive investment based on the following tiered structure. Startups selected to participate in the initial Foundations Bootcamp will receive $15k each at 2% equity. Startups selected to move on to the Growth Intensive will receive an additional $40k each at 4% equity. Top companies selected to participate in the Silicon Valley Immersion will receive an additional $50k at 4% equity.

Q. My company’s most recent valuation is more than 1M USD. Will this be taken into consideration when negotiating on investment terms with Bank of Georgia?

A. Recent (maximum 8 months) valuation of the company from reputable investor plays an important role while negotiating on commercial terms. Origins of the valuation will be taken into consideration as well.

Q. Is the investment from Bank of Georgia an equity investment or a convertible note?

A. It will be an equity investment or KISS depending on country of domicile.

Q. Is accommodation provided as a part of the program?

A. For those visiting from other regions, 500 will provide tips on where to stay and how to plan for your trip to Tbilisi. However, it will be each founder’s responsibility to organize their own accommodations and logistics.

Q. What happens after the program?

A. After completion of the 6-week intensive, startups will participate in a Demo Day where they’ll have the chance to pitch their business.

Startups will receive 6 months of remote follow-on support and access to the alumni network.

Participating startups will also have access to a series of services offered for free or special deals by partners.

Q. Are the local criteria aligned with the ones in the USA?

A. Local criteria are very demanding and adjusted to local market conditions.

Q. Are there any industry preferences for startups?
A. The program is sector agnostic. However, companies have to offer technology or technology-enabled solutions in a capital efficient way (please refer to full list of criteria above).

Q. How much turnover should startups have?
A. There is no minimum threshold for turnover, but we expect to see a functional prototype with early signs of traction (please refer to full list of criteria above).

Q. Will the process take place in Georgia, online, or in USA?
The program is structured with a mix of on-site and remote programming for each phase (please see question above). We will be closely monitoring the global situation with COVID-19, and in case group gatherings and travel are not possible by the program start date, we may also conduct the boot camps remotely.

Q. Will startups have access to 500’s network (investors, accelerator graduates, mentors, etc)?
A. Each program will engage with a broad network of startups, investors, and mentors that are relevant to the Georgian program. Currently there are strong and on-going interactions within the programs we run.

Q. Which are some of the top companies in 500’s portfolio?
A. 500 has invested in 17 unicorn companies globally. To name a few: Credit Karma, Twilio, Canva, Grab, Gitlab, VTS, Bukalapak, The RealReal, Talkdesk, Knotel and Udemy.

Q.We have an on-demand platform which we haven’t launched yet. Can we still apply?
A.We have preference for live products / services, as that’s likely a prerequisite for traction. This said, if you can demonstrate traction in other ways, we’ll happily take a look at your application.

Q.What does “early traction” mean as a criteria?
A.Early traction can be measured by different metrics, e.g. users, revenue, partnerships, etc.

Q. Can an MVP product be early traction?
A. MVP is important but different from early traction. 

Q.Can we participate in the program while still working full-time and running our business at the same time?
A. Attending an acceleration program comes with tradeoffs. We know from past experience running tens of programs, that it is possible to continue running your ventures while you attend our programs. This said, do expect intense periods of extra work. No pain, no gain. 

Q.Do I need to have a tech team to qualify?
A. You need to have a product. If you don’t have a tech team, we need to understand if that’s critical for the success of the team in the short-term and long-term.

Q. If we are not accepted into the first batch, can we apply for the second batch?
A. Yes. If you have significant updates to your application in the months between the two batches, you are welcome to submit a new application for the second round.

Q. We are a European Startup. Is it necessary to register in Georgia?
A. Yes. While you do not need to be registered to apply, all companies must register in Georgia to be able to participate in the program.

Q. Do we need a visa?
A. Georgia is one of the most open-border countries in the world. Over 90 nationalities do not need a visa to stay up to one year. Check out the full list of countries here:

Q. Where can I find more info?
A. For more tips and information, you can view our webinar recordings:

Founder Info Session: Hear founders who have gone through one of 500’s programs to learn more about what you can expect from the acceleration program.

Program Info Session: Learn more about the selection criteria and interview process to be accepted into the program, as well as the program timeframe and expectations.

*Any investment is subject to investor requirements and due diligence and is not guaranteed.

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