The five finalists of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge win a minimum of € 100,000 each. The runner-up receives € 200,000 and the winner takes the grand prize of € 500,000. But it takes more than prize money alone to become successful and create impact. Therefore all five finalists get to participate with several team members in the Green Challenge Deep Dive. This tailored accelerator program is organised by Rockstart, on behalf of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge. We talked to Karin van Soest, Program Manager at Rockstart, about how they help the start-ups grow.

Can you explain to us what the Deep Dive Is?
“Right after the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge event in September, the finalists are taken through a several months long program, which ends with the Deep Dive, an intensive networking week in February in Amsterdam. The program is made-to-measure the needs of the start-ups. We ask ourselves: what do these start-ups need to become successful? How can we bring them value? And how can we build a program for them to grow?”

How do you find out what these very different start-ups all need?
“We always start with a thorough assessment of the start-ups: what are their biggest challenges, what is holding them back? The three areas that we focus on are important for every start-up in this phase. To be able to create impact the companies need to straighten out there team development, business strategy, and financial plan. We encourage the start-ups to stand back, out of their day-to-day business, and look at what they need to move forward.”

Who do you work with?
“Based on their challenges, we match each start-up with an individual business mentor, who is chosen carefully to match the industry, business model or growth phase of the start-up. All five finalists are also connected to a data driven team development expert and a financial mentor. The three mentors work closely together to identify what is needed to realise what the start-up is aiming for. A solid product, a sound business model, a good funding strategy, a value proposition, it can be anything. Eventually, in February, it is interesting to see what has happened to the start-ups in all these months since the final. The Deep Dive is an intensive weeklong program of workshops, mentor sessions, expert support, investor feedback and networking events.”

What is the added value of the Deep Dive for the finalists?
“The bottom-line is that we want to make start-ups investor ready. The absolute value for them is that we help to identify and overcome their biggest challenges. We provide mentorship and create valuable and relevant connections within our network. We always ask the start-ups to make a wish list of people they would like to meet and we establish those connections where we can. One good connection can be worth far more than money.”