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A Pair of Business Accelerators Focus on NFC RFID Startups

AccelerateNFC and Startupbootcamp are providing mentorship and funding to Near Field Communication entrepreneurs in exchange for a percentage of equity.
By Claire Swedberg
Jun 07, 2013

Two organizations recently launched initiatives with the goal of helping startups focused on Near Field Communication RFID technology. Startupbootcamp and AccelerateNFC (owned by OTA Ventures) are each offering a program targeting those with new NFC products, or with solutions that are developed but need a boost by way of partners, funding or customers.

The two companies are now accepting applications for mentoring programs, with the understanding that any applicant accepted into the program will share a percentage of his or her company's equity. Startupbootcamp's NFC & ContactlessXL program is being funded by Vodafone, along with other companies, while AccelerateNFC is being funded by the mentoring companies that will share that equity from participating startups.

AccelerateNFC's Robert Sabella

Startupbootcamp is a four-year-old organization that offers support for startups focused on mobile technologies, as well as technologies in the health-care and other industries. This year, the firm added a program built around NFC and other contactless technology solutions (such as QR codes and bar codes). The NFC & ContactlessXL program will choose a total of 10 companies among startup applicants. Those winners will receive €15,000 ($19,800) in seed funding. In addition, they will be hosted at the company's Amsterdam facility from Oct. 14, 2013, to Jan. 17, 2014, where they can work on development, and gain assistance from mentors in the NFC technology realm, as well as SMS text message services providers, banks and other financial institutions. Following that three-month period, the startups can remain at the offices for an additional three months, while Startupbootcamp will help them secure additional funding.

The Startupbootcamp NFC & ContactlessXL program was launched at Vodafone's request, according to Marc Wesselink, Startupbootcamp's alumni growth director, who is also helping to launch the NFC program. Participants can then take part in an Investor Demo Day in January 2014, in which potential investors in Amsterdam will be able to come view their technology. In addition to Vodafone, the program's sponsors include the Rabobank Group, Thales e-Security, Adyen, Oberthur Technologies, PWC, Amazon Web Services, Axicom and VMW Taxand, while ABN AMRO, CM Group and Javest are co-shareholders with Vodafone.

Startupbootcamp is currently accepting applications from NFC companies worldwide, Wesselink says, and has received 75 applications to date. The application process is expected to continue until August. In the meantime, the firm plans to meet with some of the applicants at Pitch Days—a process of meeting with startups within their own geographic areas, including many parts of Europe and some locations in Asia. The company may opt to visit the United States before August as well, he says. Those applicants unable to attend one of the Pitch Days events can meet with the Startupbootcamp staff via Skype.

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