London calling – announcing Iris.AI at Founders Factory!
Iris.AI joins the Founder Factory family
Late last fall, we made the decision that we were officially too far along to be applying to any accelerator programs. We had a great experience at 500 Nordics‘ pre-accelerator in Oslo and did apply to a couple of the major programs in the US. However, when fall came and went with a lot of successes and great traction, we all agreed that being part of a typical accelerator program, with classes and formal mentorship sessions, wasn’t the right fit for us.
We had a couple of talks with Founders Factory earlier in 2016. Originally as an intro to a VC, followed by a few informal discussions. We let them know about our decision of no more accelerators. But you know sometimes how everything just comes together with the way they’re meant to? I bumped into Brent Hoberman (their founder) at Founders Forum at Slush and had a great chat. Then we happened to be in London for TechCrunch Disrupt as they had their investment decision meetings – they were persistent enough to convince me to drop by although I was absolutely sure we wouldn’t accept any offers… But I did, I learned more about them, met a group of their people and extended network… And the rest, as they say, is history.
You see, Founders Factory is not your average accelerator.
For six months, we’ll be working out of their office in London, doing a bespoke program particularly tailored to the milestones we want to achieve. They have 40 (growing on 60) brilliant people doing everything from growth to biz dev to recruitment to product – people who will be hands-on, on the ground working with us on whatever we need them for. In addition, FF has 6 corporate investors who we will have the opportunity to work closely with; including Holtzbrinck who happens to own a publishing house or five and CSC who happens to own 100 Chinese universities. The network FF is unlocking is amazing, and the setup is very different from your streamlined 3-month program. They don’t do mentors per se, but hands-on experts and intros to big names when needed. They were also willing and flexible enough to structure the deal in a way that fit our fundraising strategy.
While they are very new, we are convinced that Founders Factory is the best (non) accelerator program in Europe at this time – if not globally, too.
Needless to say, they had us convinced.
On about 2 weeks notice, I packed my bags and jumped on a flight to London. I was followed by the rest of our team, who are either splitting time here or who have also made the move on such short notice.
We’re proud to be one of the first AI startups in their portfolio. And after several weeks into the program, we are certain we made the right move.