500 Kobe Pre-accelerator FAQ

Q. What is the background of the program?
A. The 6 week program is designed for Japanese and international startup companies that want to learn from 500 Startups’ global team of mentors and network of entrepreneurs. The program is funded by the Kobe Government and sponsors.

Q. Are there any fees for this program?
A. No, there are not fees to participate in the program.

Q. What level of English is required for attendees?
A. Simultaneous Japanese translation will be offered for all sessions, so English is not required.

Q. Who are the mentors?
A. The mentors are drawn from 500’s global team and network of entrepreneurs. Speakers are still being added, so the full list is not yet available.

How long does the program last?
The program will last for 6 weeks, with a 2 week break in the middle. Please note that participants in the program in Kobe, Japan will receive mentoring, growth hacking learnings, and access to 500 Startups’ extensive ecosystem without financial support or investment from the firm.
500 Startups may decide to invest in these companies during future rounds of financing.

About The Application

Q. When is the application deadline?
A. The deadline to apply is July 1, 2016.

About The Schedule

Q. What is the timeline of this program?
Applications are open until July 1, 2016. The program itself runs from August 1, 2016 to September 9, 2016, with a two-week break in the middle from August 11 to August 24.

About Staying in Kobe

Q. How does full time and part time participation work?
The program is open to startups working both full and part time. Full time participants have access to an office 7 days a week and for the duration of the program to interact with the mentors around the clock. The part time participation is designed for teams that will spend 2 days a week at the Kobe pre-accelerator (for example, Wednesdays and Thursdays), which is ideal for teams based in other cities.

Q. Do I need to take time off from work to attend this program?
The program is designed for startup companies that are working full time. Part time participation in the program is available mainly for teams that are based in cities other than Kobe or have business reasons to be outside of the city.

Q. Is there anything scheduled on the weekends?
There are no sessions on weekends.

Q. Can I stay in Kobe during the two-week break?
You are welcome to remain in Kobe for the break to work on your company but can also travel during this time.

Q. What accommodation is available for participants?
We are working on arranging reasonably priced dormitory style accommodation.

Eligible Candidates & Qualification

Q. What startups qualify for this program?
Applications are now open to Japanese and international startups in the seed stage. Funding is not provided, so companies must be able to procure outside funds.
*Startups related to following fields may be eligible for support from our sponsors and are strongly encouraged to join the program: FinTech, advanced mobility (i.e. next generation vehicles), sports, health, exercise, and social innovation.

Q. How do I know if I am qualified to apply?
The 500 Kobe Pre-Accelerator program is designed for start-ups at the seed or early-growth stage. Having a working product and necessary team members already is recommended. However, depending on your team, product, or service, we may select your team as early as the idea stage. Additionally, we may in some cases accept companies regardless of how long they have been established, their funding, or their investors and are open to both individuals and corporate teams.

Q. How many members can join in a team?
Teams of all sizes can apply, from individuals to larger teams.

Q. Who evaluate teams?
The applications will be reviewed by a team from 500 Startups in conjunction with the City of Kobe. Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide feedback to each team that applies.