This article is written by Nardine B. M’barek, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.
Erik Anderson is an entrepreneur and a Venture Partner at Tera Ventures since 2017. He is also the Marketing Director of the Startup WiseGuys which is a mentorship-driven accelerator program that aims at helping the early startups, providing seed capital of $30 thousand, office spaces, and world-class mentors.
WiseGuys is an accelerator program established in 2012. Its main goal is to help early startups with things that they might find problems in dealing with, such as seed funding, headquarters, and most of all; mentorship. It represents a 3 months accelerator program that focuses on the development, validation, and the sale of products to business customers.
Their team comprises over 150 international and experienced mentors who have the same role; that of mentoring the B2B Startups and offering them the necessary guidance that they will need in order to establish a successful company and sell a creative product by helping them move through those stages much faster than if they were on their own.
WiseGuys also offers the opportunity to founders of businesses to learn how to sell their vision to future investors, and then actually try it during a Demo Day where they would present their products in front of real investors and Venture Capitals.
The activities of this company do not stop following the end of the accelerator program, they rather carry on thanks to the alumni network of the program that the company created, which is constituted of all those Startups who joined the program previously, and who will also be part of numerous private events that focus on the development of businesses, fundraising, and experience sharing. This is a very creative way that keeps the Startups always well-surrounded, and able to continue on receiving proper mentorship and guidance throughout their career as entrepreneurs.
Another great aspect of WiseGuys is the fact that they established partnerships with famous and well-known companies such as Google, HubSpot, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, etc. This also allows the Startups who join the program to gain experience in different industries and from mentors who have deep experience in their specific fields. It also gives them exclusive access to an international network of Unicorns and big companies.
By 2014, their portfolio had 34 companies in it who are from 28 different countries. Those who were within the program were 9 companies from 9 different countries, which makes WiseGuys rather very international, they have brought countries from almost everywhere in the world such as South Africa, India, etc.
They made the switch in 2014 to go B2B. Why B2B? Simply because for their ecosystem and for them, a lot of mentors come from software backgrounds, also a lot of the companies in their portfolio that were successful had gone B2B. Added to the fact that as an accelerator, they wanted to be specialized in something, which made them turn their focus towards B2B Startups.
Another important reason was that consumers are not willing to pay, whereas businesses are expecting to pay in order to get quality services. It is like the Wild Wild West like Mr. Anderson stated, we hear about Instagram selling for a Billion dollars, and about What’s App selling to Facebook. But these businesses are really difficult to get to and you have to get quite lucky.