Every year, following the announcement of the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge Awards, Rockstart hosts a tailored programme with the five finalists, coaching the startups to assess and overcome their biggest business and funding challenges in its very own startup home base. Rockstart answers the most frequently asked questions about this DeepDive programme.

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What is the goal of the deep dive programme and why is it initiated?
The Green Challenge DeepDive programme helps the winners of the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge to accelerate their growth. The prize money of the Green Challenge gives the startups an enormous boost to succeed, yet success takes more than money alone. At Rockstart, we’ve seen that startups fail due to various reasons, from not finding a product-market fit to misidentified target markets, a lack of access to expertise and networks, team issues, or not effectively using branding or PR to grow.

In 2013, DOEN Foundation and Postcode Lotteries asked Rockstart to design a tailored support programme for the finalists, starting right after the Green Challenge award ceremony and continuing for 6 months. The ultimate goal of the programme is to make the startups investment-ready for DOEN Participaties. The DeepDive programme entails mentorship for the startups to grow their business, develop their go-to-market strategies, and build a solid team. The highlight of the programme is the DeepDive week: an intensive week full of workshops and events.

Why Rockstart?
Today, Rockstart is a programme-driven international company that supports and empowers the best startups on their way to success across four domains. We provide startups with access to the capital, market, community, and expertise by connecting them to partners, investors, mentors and the wider Rockstart network.

With a worldwide network, expert programme managers and years of experience, Rockstart is uniquely positioned to support startups in becoming scalable. Rockstart has invested in more than 150 startups to date and has run ±25 support programs. Since 2015, Rockstart has been successfully supporting the Green Challenge finalists with the tailormade DeepDive programme.

What is the setup of the programme?
The programme is made-to-measure based on the needs of the start-ups. The programme is composed of two main phases: the Assessment Phase and Mentorship Phase. Right in the middle of the Mentorship Phase, the DeepDive week takes place: an intensive week of intensive, individualized workshops, panels, and events.

During the Assessment Phase, startups meet with the Rockstart programme team and mentors from the Rockstart network. Together, they perform a business, funding, and team assessment to determine the focus areas for mentorship and identify the startups’ main challenges.

Once the teams have been assessed, the Mentorship Phase begins. Each startup is assigned three mentors, who are selected for their specific experience and network in order to provide each startup with the best support possible. For three months, these mentors meet regularly with the team to discuss challenges, goals, and progress and visit with the team at least once.

After three months of mentorship, the startups return to Amsterdam for the DeepDive week. Industry and tech experts, business professionals, investors, and mentors are all brought in by the Rockstart team for workshops, networking events, and expert sessions with the startups. Without distraction, without waiting for email replies, and in constant contact with an immense support system, it is really this week that brings everything together for the startups by allowing them to delve into any challenges they face, and fully focus on overcoming them.

Are there any testimonials of previous participants?
“The Rockstart and mentor teams opened their networks to us, and gave very active support in setting up appointments with potential partners.” [PHYSEE]

“The DeepDive is a great programme which gives tailored support to the entrepreneurs depending on their specific needs and stage of the company. The profile of the Rockstart mentors is very high.” [Ioniqa]

“At Reverse Resources, things keep changing so fast and we need answers for many questions. Rockstart has managed to find a path through the labyrinth amazingly and provide very good support and help.” [Reverse Resources]