Before you apply, we want to make certain that we are clear about the good, the bad, and the ugly. We want to be transparent about the unprecedented opportunity of running an accelerator on a ship as it sails around the world, and the uncertainties and challenges that will come about doing something so, well, unreasonable.
The Good: Over the course of the 100 day accelerator, if accepted, you will have the opportunity to…
- explore the local economies of 11 countries (14 port cities) where you will experiment in taking your technology to market and will bridge connections with top government officials, foundations, venture capitalists, and serial entrepreneurs,
- take stage infront of the investors, mentors, and politicians who make up the entrepreneurial eco-systems in each country we port in (we are going to be hosting national events in 10 out of the 14 countries we visit),
- have 1 or 2 of your fellow core team members join for the entirety of the program
- be mentored by 20 world-class serial entrepreneurs and innovators who will join us on the ship,
- be connected to and form relationships with top-tier globally centric venture capital funds and foundations,
- go through an intensive accelerator led by the founder of the Unreasonable Institute and the founder of Stanford’s d-school
- live, travel, and work with 10 other extraordinary tech companies and their teams,
- live, mentor, and learn from the over 600 undergraduates who will be studying abroad on Semester at Sea throughout the entire voyage,
- circumnavigate the globe on the MV Explorer (fastest cruise-liner in the world),
The Challenges: Knowing this is the first program of it’s kind, there are many uncertainties and challenges we will need to adapt to along the way…
- Visas: It is going to be difficult to secure visas for all our participants in every country we visit along the way. We are working to mitigate this challenge by accepting all the teams more than 6 months before debarkation. With this amount of time, we should be able to secure the majority of visas needed… although we can’t guarantee it. The good news? If you can’t get a visa into a specific country, you can still stay, live, and work on the ship while it is in port (and it’s a nice ship – view images here).
- Stamina: You may never work this hard again in your life. We say this in all sincerity. You will be expected to pitch to hundreds of investors with only a moments notice. You will constantly need to rapidly develop your product with limited resources. You’ll likely have experiences where you don’t sleep for 40 hours while in port in China, and then you’ll have to hustle just as hard only 2 days later in Vietnam. While on the ship, you will be working around the clock with your team and with the mentors to ensure that you make the most of this world-class experience. This is NOT a party boat in anyway. You will be expected, encouraged, and put in an environment where 18 hour work days become common place. We hope you are as excited about this as we are.
- Connectivity: Internet is going to be far from lightning fast. Knowing that we’ll be utilizing satellite internet and often times over a thousand miles from land, we can’t even guarantee that the internet will always be up and running. Although the internet will be fast enough to deploy code, write emails, and search the web, you should not expect to have a fast enough connection to Skype video chat or watch YouTube videos. Of course, while in country, you’ll have access to regular broadband and wireless internet in the cities we dock in. Note: not being fully wired in all the time is a good thing in our minds. It will allow you and your team to not just work on your product, but also work on your business model, on your team, and on the company (instead of always only working in the company).
- Focus: You will need to remain focused. Knowing you will be surrounded by 9 other innovative tech companies, that you’ll be sharing space and eating meals with some of the world’s most acclaimed entrepreneurs and innovators as mentors, and that you will be living in close quarters with hundreds of undergraduate college students, you are going to need to remain disciplined and focused to ensure you are able to take full advantage of the experience.