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FASTERCAPITAL: A VIRTUAL INTERNET CITY

What is FasterCapital?

FasterCapital is a virtual incubator based in Dubai Internet City. We help IT startups through our acceleration and incubation programs. FasterCapital was established in 2010 and our model has been publicly available since 2014. FasterCapital has 20 graduated startups that are fully functional now, around 26 startups in incubation program, 287+ startups in the acceleration program, 862+ representatives/regional partners and 503 offices worldwide. FasterCapital has four rounds of funding per year that anyone can apply to them for free. FasterCapital is also committed to investing $ 2.55M in 19 startups.

Challenges

Most accelerators/incubators target fresh graduates in technology, give them some money (in exchange for equity) and put them under one roof for 3-6 months to build their startup (MVP). While this approach is producing some of the top class companies worldwide, it still has several problems:

Fresh graduate students are technology oriented and they don’t have real life experience so they tend to build technologies rather than products. This is always a challenge.

Inexperienced founders are not suitable to build ready-to-be-used products for enterprises or targeted audience. They haven’t worked in an enterprise and don’t understand how difficult it is to reach a product where different managers in the enterprise agree on. They are nevertheless good at building mass-user products like twitter, instagram and such. Those founders will most likely fail when we are talking about a small market where the needs have to be studied carefully and products have to be specifically crafted.

Most of the ideas that these founders have are things that can be used by general public and there are always fewer startups that are addressing enterprises needs in an industry.

The left out segment: There are lot of senior non-technical entrepreneur who have an experience in an industry and who can easily spot an idea or a need (example a financial expert in a bank). Those are generally left out from incubators because most incubators require that the founding team has technical experience. It’s also difficult for those senior entrepreneurs to find technical cofounders. It is not sufficient nowadays to have only one technical cofounder because of the sheer number of platforms that should be covered (web, android, iphone. .etc) and the different skills needed to write a professional service. So the senior non-technical entrepreneurs have the following options:

Wait until s/he finds the technical cofounders. Invest some of his/her own money to recruit a team: This option has lot of challenges especially for someone who doesn’t have technical abilities to help assess the team and how they can work together. There is another big challenge with the keeping the team employed even after finishing the MVP. Most lean development methodologies will need time to get feedback from customers and this is an extra cost for the entrepreneur.

Outsource the development: Everybody knows and understand the challenges involved with this option. The outsourcing company might deliver but later they might be dissolved or busier with other things. It will be difficult to hand the code to another team to continue the development. Lean methodology requires many different iterations that need to be done quickly and if the entrepreneur is hiring an outsourcing company then it’s a big problem as the outsourcing company prioritize based on income of projects rather than the value added. So the entrepreneur might be left.

Our Solution

FasterCapital offers two main programs: acceleration and incubation programs. In the acceleration program we offer entrepreneurs mentorship, consultation, finance and access to our network. In the incubation program, FasterCapital offers all the benefits of acceleration program plus investing in the startup by cofounding (becoming a technical cofounder) and co-funding. We will be the first to co-invest in the startup. We will supply 50% of the investment ranging from USD200k – USD2M per startup. In both programs we accept and invest only internet startups (IT startups, online business).

Acceleration program is suitable for entrepreneurs who are looking to validate their business plans, improve their approach to market, refine their products and raise capital. FasterCapital has a network of investors and VC companies. Many startups need to raise capital in their seed funding and Acceleration program is most suitable for those companies.

We advise non-technical entrepreneurs who are looking for a technical cofounder to follow our “incubation” program as the incubator will become a technical cofounder. Non-technical entrepreneurs don’t need to keep searching for technical cofounders as FasterCapital will be the technical founder. FasterCapital has already worked on more than 20 startups from different backgrounds. Technical entrepreneurs can also use the incubation program in case they want to lower the amount of investment going to technical development or make the development faster

Our Journey

At FasterCapital, we are passionate about building next generation and emerging technological start-ups. We are driven by a strong set of values, our ability to create value in our portfolio companies and our ability to form winning entrepreneurial collaborations with the start-ups we have already built, have invested in and will be investing in. This vision unites us as an investment company and as a team every day and is the hallmark of our entrepreneurially-driven culture. Our portfolio focuses on advanced technological start-ups. We aim to solve pressing modern day issues through next generation technology start-ups. We have come very far in just over two years since our journey began.

Since 2011, we were trading as ‘NextStep Systems’ and we were tirelessly busy in building our portfolio of companies. Over the past two years, we continued to build our portfolio of companies. In the first quarter of 2014, we rebranded our business as ‘FasterCapital’ and we are very proud to say that we currently have a portfolio of 20 active companies within our incubator/investment portfolio. Some of our best companies have a positive cash flow without needing any outside funding and they also have a growing customer base. Our other companies have recently graduated from our incubator are sales ready. Our portfolio of companies include innovative and next generation emerging technologies such as: search engine, data mining & business intelligence, TV broadcasting, messaging and mobile messaging, e-education, virtualization solutions, mobile applications, fleet management and app-store creator to name just a few. Please click here here for our detailed portfolio of companies.

The writer is  a blockchain & fintech specialist and an Executive Director, Famacash and Co-founder, Global Fintech Forum (GFF).

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