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John Keells X will be accepting applications for the 2018/19 cycle from 3 December 2018. The final date for applications is February 6th. Demo Day is in June, and the pre-accelerator development window will be from March to June 2019 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Up to 30 teams compete for Rs. 2.5 million in seed funding and entry to the JohnKeellsX Accelerator program. Once accepted, you are trained and supported to deliver a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) on Demo Day. At that point, up to 7 teams are selected and funded with Rs. 2.5 million each. Those teams then get office space, training and support to test their product in the market. Those teams can then pitch for up to Rs. 50 million in further investment.

On or before the 6th of February 2019. Groups that submit early have a significant advantage because we have more time to read their applications.

Over the course of February, we’ll invite the individuals, groups and startups that seem most promising to meet us at John Keells. We decide who to shortlist after the interviews. We will begin the process soon after the early applicant meetup.

We would love to hear disruptive innovations related to the industries we are in. i.e. Consumer Foods and Retail /Financial Services / Information Technology / Leisure / Property / Transportation / Plantation Services; however, we are happy to explore opportunities that lie adjacent to our industries e.g. healthcare for insurance; last mile systems for retail, financial technology etc.

No. We are open to startups that operate in other industries as well.

Yes, we do supply office space in Colombo for the accelerator period.

We fund each winning team (up to 7) with Rs. 2,500,000, for a 6.25% equity stake.

The application will be online from 3rd December 2018.

In June, we organize an event called Demo Day at which the teams present their business plans to a carefully selected, invite-only audience and vie for investment of Rs. 2.5 million each (for up to 7 teams).

Not a prerequisite for us. We make selection decisions based on our application form and personal interviews.

The people in your team are what matter most to us. We look for brains, motivation, and a sense of design. Experience is helpful but not critical. Your idea is important too, but mainly as evidence that you can have good ideas. Most successful startups change their idea substantially.

No, we won’t sign an NDA. Please read the terms and conditions. In this connection you may want to read the first section of How to Start a Startup on the value of mere ideas.

The ideal team would have two or three founders. Team size could range from 1-3 members.

Sure. Just submit them in two application forms by different founders.

Yes. Even if you tried not to accept competing companies, you’d still get overlap because startups’ ideas morph so much. The way we deal with it is that when two startups are working on related stuff, we don’t talk to one about what the other’s doing.

The fact is, even the best investors are quite bad at picking winners.

Apply online and you stand a chance to win entry into the JohnKeellsX Accelerator Program. This program includes seed funding of Rs. 2.5 million for a 6.25% stake. You will also be positioned to pitch for further funding after the Challenge concludes at the discretion of the company

YES it does. In fact, the money is only a small part of what we do.

The goal is to build an impressive proof of concept to take to later stage investors to raise more money.

No, we’ll consider startups in any field.

We’ll consider shortlisting you, but your chances are about ten times better if you find yourself a technical cofounder. It’s much better if you find one yourself through friends of friends than if we introduce you to someone. Teams thrown together for the purpose of starting a startup usually fall apart under stress. You need some kind of personal connection.

In product development, the minimum viable product (MVP) is a product which has just enough features to gather validated learning about the product and its continued development.

John Keells Holdings PLC is Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerate in the Colombo Stock Exchange. From managing hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka and the Maldives to providing port, marine fuel and logistics services to IT solutions, manufacturing of food and beverages to running a chain of supermarkets, tea broking to stock broking, banking to insurance to real estate, we have made our presence felt in virtually every major sphere of the economy. Since our modest beginnings as a produce and exchange broker in the early 1870s, we have been known to constantly re-invent, re-align and reposition ourselves in exploring new avenues of growth.

YES; we are thankful to GE, Y-Combinator, Citi and many other organizations for their amazing work on disruptive innovation and related programs.

The outcome of the minimum viable product or prototype (based on usage data), the level of development of the Project, the execution of the initial idea demonstrated by the founders to date, the strength and scale of the business value proposition, the compatibility of the project to an existing or related industry of John Keells Holdings PLC, the capability and commitement of the founding team etc.

Yes. This is a possibility but it will be at the discretion of the Company and subject to some rigorous evaluation criteria.

Yes; But whilst we will try our best to assist, you would have to be responsible in sorting out the legalities of participating. You will need to make your own arrangements for accommodation and visa.

In order to keep this process fair and simple for everyone, the short answer is no. The same terms apply to all participating teams and we won’t negotiate with each team separately. The idea here is that setting out simple, clear terms at the beginning lets teams get started building rather than spending time negotiating.