Imagine you’re sitting in a conference room and four people are leaning in and listening intently to you as you speak; another person is present through Skype. Spread on the tables in front of them are copies of your company’s marketing materials, financials, and Scratchpad application. These people ask you questions; lots of them. You do your best to articulate yourself clearly and concisely. You want them to like you; you want them to "get" you and your company.
Welcome to your Scratchpad Accelerator interview.
To be honest, it’s not nearly as grueling as it sounds. The people in the room are kind. They want to understand your business; they give you every opportunity to explain; expand; elaborate. Internally, they are rooting for you to succeed. I know, because I sat in on some of these interviews; I saw them in action.
Out of 20 applications, eight teams have been asked to interview for three available slots. Picking the right teams is serious business, and the interviewers want to get it right; they want to ensure that the grant funding offered from MTI will be put to its best use. The interviewers--part Scratchpad team, part mentors and industry experts--take their roles and responsibilities seriously.
How are applicants being evaluated?
Each applicant will be evaluated on seven criteria, with some criteria being weighted more heavily than others:
Intellectual honesty and coachability
Technical strength of team
Diverse thinking within the team
Passion and curiosity
Top line addressable opportunity
Level of company development
Potential for meaningful competitive advantage
Can the company be accelerated?
Can Scratchpad (team and mentors) accelerate it?
There will also be some high-level qualitative assessments of the teams, such early vs. late stage and the industries that they represent. Assembling all the data and making decisions for the accelerator is like putting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to form a clear picture.
As of Thursday afternoon, all the interviews are complete. The Scratchpad and MTI teams will collectively discuss and make their final decisions on Friday and notify the applicants. After that, we’ll announce the selected early next week!