10 Things I learnt by spending 3 months at Katapult Accelerator

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Katapult Impact Accelerator is the World’s Biggest Impact Accelerator located on the scenic shores of Oslo.

In every batch, Katapult selects companies from across the globe that are using exponential technologies to solve complex Global problems. Oizom was the only company from India that had a chance to be a part of its 2nd batch. I spent 3 months filled with excitement and learning during their residential program.

The experience at Katapult is more like the stories of your school time, no matter how nicely you try to describe it; you just can’t express it right enough.

I have tried my best to jot down 10 key learnings that I gained at Katapult during the 3 months.

1. Peer to Peer learning and interaction:

The best part about living with founders from different startups in varied domains and a plethora of knowledge with them is the peer-to-peer learnings. I cannot remember a single day when someone didn’t come to me to discuss a novel idea or sit and brainstorm about what different approaches we could use to make the world actually a better place. We imbibed this practice and now we have brainstorming sessions at Oizom where everyone comes and talks about various ideas and suggestions.

2. Defining your KPIs and implementing them.

The most difficult part about a startup is there’s so much on your plate and you always have limited resources to accomplish everything.

Katapult has a strict culture of defining your KPIs (Key Performance Index) where, as a company you have to define your qualitative and quantitative goals and try to achieve it. These are usually quarterly goals which are broken down to your weekly targets which help you better define your daily tasks. The key benefit of having KPIs is, you can stay focused and track your progress.

PS: There’s an amazing portal called Weekdone.com that assists you to define your goals and measure it. A must follow practice for Startup Founders.

3. Mentors :

None of us in this world knows enough. There’s so much happening everyday that one can’t keep a track of everything. Mentors and Advisors with years of experience have seen this evolution over the time. The prime reason we need a mentor is not only to tell us our dos and don’ts but also to guide us when we go astray. The mentors are the most valuable take away from the Katapult Accelerator.

You can check out the profiles of their amazing mentors on board on their website.

 A snapshot from one of the mentor sessions

A snapshot from one of the mentor sessions

4. Jumping out of the well

Once you’re away from your country and meet people who have a different perspective towards life you understand how global business works. Putting it in the form of analogy; for a frog, the pond is its world until one day it jumps out and realises there is so much outside the pond.

The exposure to business culture and how to interact with people from various backgrounds helped us accelerate and redefine our relations with our existing global business associates.

5. Be the Showman of your Pitch

All the efforts you put behind your startup are judged in the 3 minutes of your pitch. If you can’t explain how your business works in 3 minutes, you’re doing something wrong somewhere. Katapult has amazing weekly training sessions to improve on your pitch.

6. Trusting your Team

Being away for 3 months from your team and trying to keep up with the work happening there while struggling with time zones was actually a pain in the ass. But, it gave us the opportunity to trust the team and allow them to have the power of decision making. You’ll be surprised to learn how much your team can achieve when they are on their own.

7. Time Management

Katapult Accelerator has several sessions where they have amazing set of speakers who fly from all across the globe to come and deliver sessions on various topics to accelerate your startup. But as founders you have a company to run; during the 3 months you’ll definitely learn how to efficiently manage your time. You have to be present for the sessions and also be in constant touch with the team on what’s happening and appear for calls when needed. This makes you a pro at time management.

8. Work Hard Party Harder

I have had some of the best Friday nights in Oslo. Every Friday Katapult Accelerator had an event in their in-house bar called, Laidback Fridays. This is when all the startups and companies from the building would come together and have some fun time while sipping the Norwegian beers. Friday evenings were fun-filled where you would meet like-minded people, play table tennis or simply enjoy the conversations with fellow founders.

9. Mindful Mondays and Workout Thursdays

To work efficiently, it is super important to have your mind, body and brain all at sync. Katapult have Mindful Mondays where everyone would sit together and meditate and let go off all their stress and be super charged for the following week. On Thursdays we would go out for workouts and recharge our bodies and sweat out even during the freezing winters. Personally, I am not a workout person, but I have started working out after coming back from Katapult.

 One of our outdoor workout sessions at KA.

One of our outdoor workout sessions at KA.

10. The Katapult Accelerator Team

Katapult has put together the best team you can imagine. They have the right person for every thing that needs to run an accelerator.

Haakon Brunell is an extremely focused man who knows how to bring the best out of the startups. If an interaction with him doesn’t motivate you to change the World, nothing else will.

Per Martin (PM), the man of few words and great work. PM is actually like a treasure box, the more you interact with him the more you learn about Funding, Finance, Business ideas and how to make money. He falsifies the saying, “”You either do good or make money”.

Sean, he will make sure you speak up, you maybe an introvert but if you want the world to know what you do, you need to talk in a way where you can grab anyone’s attention and make them curious about your work.

Being the only non-tech guy at Oizom my interaction with Sagar, the CTO was super limited but I was always present when he spoke with Sohil and they spoke on such a wide array of things in tech that I am still flabbergasted that tech has so much to offer to us.

Belawal Khan (Bela), the finance guy, we were very lucky to have him as our Point of Contact during these 3 months. He assisted us with our business model, unit economics, financial planning and how to identify our KPIs and several other minute things that play a key role in a startup.

Lavanya is your ‘Go to Person’ for anything and everything. She has all the answers from the best restaurants in town to how to plan your schedules.

Nina is the Chief Happiness Officer at a Katapult, she will bring a bright smile to your face every time you interact with her.

As a startup founder, I truly feel spending time at a residential accelerator not only accelerates your startup but also nourishes your personal skills and fosters your growth.

Cheers to KA!

rajeev Kapoor