This year Power2Peer has had the opportunity to participate in both the Clean Tech Open Cohort and Mass Challenge as a Finalist. We’ve learned from the experience as we move forward as a clean energy startup. Here are some questions answered by the Power2Peer team about our experience.
I understand Power2Peer was part of both the Clean Tech Open 2020 Cohort and Mass Challenge Finalist 2020. What was your experience doing both the accelerators in parallel?
Yes, it was very challenging. Both accelerators were so similar and yet different in the way they ran the program. Both had Mentors matched with each team. A series of personal and educational webinars, Happy Hours, and Expos accompanied by various activities within the program to ready us for the final deliverable was provided.
What were the major differences?
CleanTech Open had deliverables that we had worked on within a timeline. Real documents such as the Business Canvas Model, financial, sustainability and clean energy impact. These projects when submitted would qualify you for the Regional semi-final and so forth. Mass Challenge helped us evaluate our own position as a startup with the startup impact report. This was from all the surveys they’ve conducted throughout the program. Both had various resources such as AWS and Airtables as well as recommendations for other startup resources. MassChallenge opened the door to MassCEC and linked us to various Mass Catalysts, programs and accelerators.
During Mass Challenge, we went through a rigorous curriculum as well but there were no documents to be delivered. Power2Peer participated as part of the Rhode Island Cohort and also had help from the RI Venture Mentoring Services which was a real benefit as an entrepreneur and the wolfpack group run by past alumni.
What did you get out of the programs?
Both the programs mentioned earlier are so similar and yet so different. Both help entrepreneurs and startups to understand the business and really make you think about the value proposition. It’s the value proposition that you need to focus on to understand what it means to the customer. Without the customer there is no business, so early traction, early customer engagement is important. Most startups think – “I have this great idea and if I build it out and customers will show up”.
Anything else you want to add?
Yes, both CleanTech Open and Mass Challenge are important experiences for independent and startup businesses, and Power2Peer was fortunate enough to be able to run both and get the exposure. We had great mentors that were industry exports that helped us define our business strategy and understanding our market segmentations. The programs were an opportunity to form valuable connections with partners, investors, and other startups.