Can A 3 Week Extreme Accelerator Produce A Billion Dollar Startup?

Over the weekend my article on TechCrunch on how accelerators are the new business school seemed to hit a good nerve. Coincidentally, it went live as I’m serving mentor duty at The European Innovation Academy, a unique, three week extreme accelerator program in Nice, France. Over 400 students from five continents have descended on University of Nice Sofia Antipolis campus to form teams with strangers, mash up their ideas, launch over 70 products, and race to 1,000 users. All in just 3 weeks. They are assisted by over 50 international mentors from business, venture capital, and academia.

It may seem impossible to produce anything of value in such a short period of time, but I submit to you the four teams under my wing: three were conceptualized and built from scratch since July 6th and one existing that made a major pivot with the help of new team members. Next week they will compete to be in the top-10 to pitch for real funding in front of a panel of VCs.


Hauk NewsHauk is an app aimed at modern news consumers who have little time but a desire to be informed, it solves this by giving them easy access to news coverage and an ability to get the full unbiased story by easily comparing sources all within the app. The map-based UI allows users to roam around the globe selecting any major story they want and gives them a unique context. // //

Pitch It

pitch_it Small and medium sized companies have a problem with finding affordable talent to fill time sensitive, short term contracts. Students are the perfect fit for these positions. They need to get critical work experience so that they’re job ready when they graduate. Pitch It is an online marketplace which connects the two for freelance projects, where students apply in less than a minute with a creative video pitch of themselves. // //


Homemade Homemade connects busy residents, travelers and students with inexpensive, authentic ethnic dishes prepared by community members. Homemade brings the community closer through home-cooked food prepared with love. Share and discover home-cooked, authentic ethnic meals in your community. Grandma’s home-cooked dishes available on demand! // //


UnicornAn application designed to disrupt the personal development market by combining IBM Watson cognitive technology with ancient wisdom in serendipity. Unicorn creates unique suggestions for every user to show them opportunities and risks in the past, present, and future. With this guidance, they can make decisions to improve their life. // //