Last week we opened the first accelerator for gaming startups in Europe – GameFounders.
We have had 6 teams from 6 different countries (Argentina, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands) work in Estonia for two weeks already. On Friday we had the official opening party. Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications, Juhan Parts, was there to declare us open. it is very laudable, that the accelerator has gained recognition from our political sphere; only that way can we gain the leverage for estonian gaming industry to take off!
Our office is in a newly erected Tehnopol office building (also opened by mr. Parts just a few weeks ago) and after the first two weeks I just have to say that it is really well designed. We have lot of meeting rooms, skyping rooms, quiet rooms, a kitchen and basically everything one needs at office. In the kitchen there is also a coffee machine where one can get decent coffee. We like the place and our startups like it, too.
The teams are cool. Young and motivated, they are now doing 10+ hour work days in order to succeed. For the first two weeks they’ve had pretty rough schedules: met some 20 mentors from 7 countries already, a seminar, board meetings and even a trip to the local adventure park. The things will continue with seminars on Monday and Tuesday and perhaps after that the schedule will ease up a bit to enable the time for them to put everything they’ve learned into practise.
The schedule has not been much easier for us, the team. You would not really imagine the 1000 + 1 things you have to do in order to make everything happen. In the first week I found myself still working into the late midnight almost every day. Fortunately, from the next week, our work will ease up a bit, too. And, in addition to helping out with the administrative stuff, I can put more emphasis on actually helping the startups with everything they need. Helping them is the core of the program, after all.
The whole accelerator thing has been a wild ride. In September last year, I started in the Oxygen Accelerator in the UK. Had anybody told me then that exactly a year later I would be running the first batch of my own accelerator, I’d have called her crazy. But now I’m here, running GameFounders. This is what makes life exciting – you never know what is to come.
For now, it is GameFounders 100+1%! Can’t wait to get back to the office on Monday!