Overly has secured a spot within the first-ever extended reality (XR) batch of the mentorship-driven accelerator program, Startup Wise Guys. Working alongside top global mentors to validate and improve our product, we plan to take our augmented reality (AR) creation platform to new heights over the next few months. 

Our CTO, Gatis Zvejnieks, has just returned from Malaga, Spain, where the accelerator is hosted and managed on-site. Before our team marches on to another intensive four months—we sat down to chat about his key takeaways and expectations from the program.

First of all, why do startups need to join accelerators?

The startup environment is tough. At first, you need to make money to support a non-earning idea. Like other founders, Ainārs and I were guilty of focusing on side projects to generate funds for building Overly AR Creator. But there is a limit to how fast a business can grow with strained resources. 

 

We’ve now fully switched our focus to Overly Creator and have a great roadmap of things we want to accomplish. However, we know we cannot do it alone. Accelerators like Startup Wise Guys give founders a positive push to build their products and prepare for investment. And we do need investment to meet the market demand at speed.

How did the Overly team get into the Startup Wise Guys accelerator program?

The Startup Wise Guys accelerator program was launched in our neighbor-country Estonia in 2012. It has since delivered outstanding results for participating businesses around the world. When we saw that the applications were open for the platform’s first-ever XR (extended reality) batch, we had to apply.

 

Out of 160 initial applicants, a couple of dozen were invited to pitch and later selected for the accelerator. We are grateful to have secured a spot for us and Latvia amongst 10 businesses across the globe.

The XR batch also couldn’t have come at a better time for us. We successfully launched the minimum value product (MPV) of Overly AR Creator in 2020 and have made great strides since then.

 

Our customer-base measures in thousands, and the monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is growing along with an increasing number of subscriptions. We can already showcase clear trends and the market demand for our product. That’s why we are confident that it is the right time to work with Startup Wise Guys accelerator—we know it has the potential to help us transform Overly Creator into the best AR platform globally.

What are you expecting to gain from the accelerator program?

Accelerator programs are a much-needed way for startups to secure new contacts, be it mentors that provide advice or investors that help take a product or service to the next level.

 

Although you will find this to be the core value of most accelerator programs, I believe quality connections are something that Startup Wise Guys are leading the way for. Over the five-month program, we have the prospect of connecting with more than 350 mentors and 200 investors. 

 

Secondly, when you start a business, you are often taken away with the idea and may overlook important aspects that can later be integral to your success. From a business management perspective, Startup Wise Guys is an opportunity for us to get essential elements right from the get-go. 

What have you done and learned so far?

In the first few weeks in Malaga, we worked on intellectual property and ideal customer persona (ICP) topics. We discussed go-to-market strategies, ways to improve our offer, operations, and monthly recurring revenue. 

 

Although selecting a particular result is challenging, I can already thank Mariia Tintul, who remotely connected with our wider team. She evaluated our analysis of ICP, and it was great to have her input and confirmation that we are moving forward in the right direction.

 

We’re now going into an implementation week where we’ll deliver on the aspects we’ve studied. I believe most learning is still ahead of us. While Startup Wise Guys’ commitment to Overly is a great trust symbol for possible investors, the mentors ensure that the groundwork is also done.

Where do you see Overly at the end of the Startup Wise Guys accelerator?

With everything we are working on now, I expect we will double our subscribers with the resources we already have.

 

Secondly, we will be prepared for our next investment round. I am sure the accelerator will help us secure an investment within the next 12 months.

 

We are looking for a strategic investor who could support us with advice and possibly provide a great network of mentors for continuous growth. Startup Wise Guys’ reputation and initial investment may be all the confidence other investors need to feel secure about Overly’s potential.  

 

The results of previous batches show that our expectations are realistic. More than half of the Startup Wise Guys accelerated companies since 2012 are still actively growing, and the team has a portfolio of 11 exits.

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