Although HackFwd provides financial support and mentorship to tech startups, HackFwd is not an incubator. In other words, rather than expecting startups to relocate to the company’s headquarters in Germany, HackFwd meetups will be distributed – something that might be very beneficial for European startups.
According to the website, “We looked carefully at current VC models and realized they didn’t really cater to very early stage businesses. VCs can’t support small investments, which leaves a finance gap. Also, VCs don’t have the time or expertise to give strategic or creative input. This leaves an advice gap.”
In addressing both this finance and advice gap, HackFwd provides startups up to 191,000 in funding, as well as support with legal and administrative requirements, talent-search, promotion and marketing. The goal: “Our start-up and support process accelerates the route to beta, profitability, and success.” Founders retain 70% equity with 30% going to HackFwd. While this is higher than some similar programs (YCombinator and TechStars take around 6%), the HackFwd program lasts a year, rather than only a few months.
In an interesting twist, 3% of HackFwd’s cut is returned to the founders, for them to distribute in turn to advisors who helped them along the way.
In their desire to help support “Europe’s most passionate geeks,” HackFwd will compete with other early stage investment opportunities in Europe, including SeedCamp.
And even if you aren’t a European startup in search of some early-stage funding, a visit to the HackFwd website is well worth a visit, just to look at their infographic on the startup feedback loop (excerpted below).