NDRC accelerator a SAFE space for founders

Entrepreneurs in residence including Jules Coleman, Pat Phelan to coach start-ups
Image: NDRC

4 March 2021

NDRC has opened applications for the latest round of its start-up accelerator.

For the first time, successful start-ups will receive €100,000 investment using a SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity), alongside ‘founder friendly’ terms.

Every year, some 12 start-ups will be chosen to participate between the two accelerator cohorts, with each start-up being coached by dedicated Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) who have achieved international regard in the start-up ecosystem. These include Jules Coleman (sold Hassle.com for €35 million), Marc McCabe (Sequoia Scout, SV Angel, early Airbnb), Allison Kopf (Forbes 30 under 30, XFactor Ventures Partner), and Pat Phelan (co-founder SISU, sold Trustev for $40 million).




The practical combination of guidance from accomplished entrepreneurs and the SAFE investment will help early-stage companies move at a faster pace and scale rapidly. NDRC is one of the first European accelerators to adopt the ‘founder friendly’ €100,000 investment using a SAFE instrument with an uncapped valuation with a 20% discount. This instrument was originally developed by Y Combinator – one of the world’s top accelerators. It provides simple and transparent terms, reduced paperwork along with lower legal costs and friction for founders making it simpler for international investors to make follow-on investments.

“These terms are highly flexible for start-ups,” said Jon Bradford, partner at Dynamo Ventures and NDRC Chair Investment Committee, “we want to make sure the best founders can and want to join, regardless of whether they’ve raised capital already or not. SAFE agreements have been universally welcomed by top Irish VCs as a ‘founder friendly’ approach. This is a positive development for pre-seed investment in Ireland and Europe and brings us in line with the best of US thinking.”

“I would have jumped at the opportunity to take part in an accelerator like this in the early days of Hassle; to learn directly from experienced founders who’ve done it themselves,” added Jules Coleman, two-time founder (Resi and Hassle). “I would encourage any ambitious founder who wants to learn from proven entrepreneurs to apply to this programme.”

Additionally, it was announced over 40 top entrepreneurial mentors who have built or exited companies worth a combined net value of €5 billion will also participate, including Mark Cummins (sold Pointy to Google for over $100 milliob), Bobby Healy (former CTO of CarTrawler, valued at over €500 million), Áine Kerr (Led Storyful through €18 million acquisition) and Marina Gorey (co-founder of SuperAwesome, acquired by Epic Games).

Startups will also have access to €1 million in perks (including 12 months of free office space, UX prototyping support, design experts, and professional pitch deck designers and delivery coaches). They will also be given special access to the Dogpatch Labs Corporate Innovation team and network for market insights, route to industry and potential pilots.

The cohort will be able to access an extended mentor network consisting of over 1000 mentors from companies such as Google, Intercom and Unilever. The accelerator is supported by venture capital firms including Act Venture Capital, Atlantic Bridge, Delta Partners, and Frontline with each committing to mentor participating start-ups.

Access to international resources, experience and investors are an important feature of the programme, which includes trips to tech hotspots including London, New York and San Francisco. Early exposure to the US mindset and tech industry will coach founders out of their comfort zone and teach them how to build and scale a company overseas.

The NDRC Accelerator has two phases over a six-month period. The initial three month ‘foundation phase’ focuses on business development and investor readiness and culminates in a virtual Demo Day to a global audience of investors, VIP entrepreneurs, and potential customers and partners. This is followed by a second three month ‘growth phase’ to provide practical support to start-ups through the process of securing seed funding. 

The programme starts on 21 June, with the Demo Day held in September. Applications are accepted until 2 May.

Interested applicants can hear more about the programme and ask questions at an NDRC Lunch & Learn on 5 March. For more information, visit: ndrc.click/AMA.

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