Hossam El-Sifary has been part of the INiTS Team for nearly 2 years. During that time he was significantly responsible for the design and implementation of the INiTS Startup Camp. His experience and insights from researching and connecting with many innovation ecosystems, and also several trips to the U.S. where he has visited countless incubators, have been integrated in the concept of the Startup Camp.
You’ve visited and connected with several incubators in the U.S. and Europe. Which trends have you identified?
There are many variations for incubator and accelerator models in the various ecosystems I visited, but whats common is:
- incubators tend to offer shorter and more intense programs,
- there is a wide adoption of the lean startup concept,
- and there is more focus now on developing the founder’s entrepreneurial skills
Which of these trends did you adopt for the INiTS Startup Camp?
All of the above trends are implemented in Startup Camp, and we continuously collect feedback from the startup scene in Vienna and startups going through the program to make changes and localize these trends to suit the local requirements.
In your opinion, where do we lag behind compared to the U.S.?
The US have several globally recognized innovation hubs like Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin, etc and these hubs attract top talents and innovative ideas from around the world, and Vienna needs more initiatives to be able to compete on that level to become more attractive for top talents and innovations and investors than other innovation hubs in Europe like London and Berlin.
Also, the availability of private funding and exit possibilities in the US is much higher as well.
What are the next steps for the Startup Camp? Will the program be extended?
Startup Camp received very positive feedback from both startups and investors. We are currently evaluating the feedback from the previous run of Startup Camp while continuously benchmarking vs other incubators and keeping an eye on global trends to implement concepts and services that will boost startup success.
Do you have any good tip for startups which would like to apply for the Startup Camp?
Startup Camp is a very intense program with several workshops, events, and deliverable, and founders applying to the program need to be aware of this, and have more self discipline and motivation to accomplish more faster.
In addition, startups need to have growth orientation, and while setting up their business in Vienna, founders need to recognize the fact that the Austrian market is relatively small, so they need to consider international markets while evaluating their ideas and building their products.